Monday, June 27, 2016

When it rains, it pours, cats and dogs

It’s not really raining cats and dogs, though it does rain fish in one part of northern Honduras. But these days torrential rains have finally arrived.

Some were fearing another severe drought after a week or so without any rain but with very high temperatures. But the rains are here.

There are different times and types of rain here in Honduras. There are the cold rains, often accompanied by days without sunshine, when mold grows like mad. These can last from October to early February.

But then there are the rains that arrive in the late afternoon or early evening after a hot sunny day. That’s what I heard today when I got home after a long day in Santa Rosa.

But when it rains, it pours – also in terms of little things that make life interesting and difficult. That’s what the last four days have felt like. A lot of good thing have happened but I’ll leave these to a later blog entry.

I took my car into the mechanic last week to change the oil and the radiator coolant as well as to check the hand brake. Two brake pads needed to be replaced. Ugh.

On Friday we had a training session for the new candidates to become extraordinary ministers of Communion – a two year process.

I got up, not feeling all that well – and two bouts of diarrhea ensued.

But when I went to start the car, it wouldn’t turn over. To make a long story short I got a ride to Dulce Nombre and a mechanic came out and fixed the problems, loose wires and a burnt out fuse. Because the fuse problem was solved only temporarily, I had to look for a new fuse. There were none of this amperage (30) available in Dulce Nombre and so I had to go to Santa Rosa after my afternoon presentation. I bought the fuse but as I was about to leave I noticed the turn signals didn’t work. I went back to the electricity taller and they fixed it for the price of a fuse.

My diarrhea continued until Sunday.

To make it more interesting we also have had no water in Plan Grande since last Friday. Broken pipes from the water source.

Sunday I managed to get well enough to get to Mass and First Communions in San Agustin and work with the youth group for an hour after Mass. But I was so weak I laid for hours in the hammock. (Thank God for hammocks.)

Today I went to a meeting at the Obispado (the Bishop's office) in Santa Rosa and parked my car on the street beside the building. The meeting lasted about five hours. After I got out of the meeting and did a few errands, I returned to the car and tried to put the key in the ignition. It wouldn't go in. I looked around and saw the glove compartment open, but I thought little of it , since it sometimes flies open on its own). Nothing was missing but this was strange. I then tried the other door and the key wouldn't work.

I called my mechanic friends to see if I could get some help.

As I was standing there waiting a young woman sitting on the sidewalk with a friend greeted me by name. She's from one of the aldeas (villages) of the parish. We had a nice talk and her friend said she had told her about me. It looks as if I cant go anywhere without someone recognizing me. (But there are not a lot of bald old gringos in western Honduras.)

Finally a mechanic came and dismantled the ignition lock cylinder; someone had broken in  and tried to steal the car. But the lock cylinder malfunctioned. Thank God!

My mechanic did not charge me and offered to help me get it put together after I got the part fixed. He also showed me how to start the car without the lock cylinder - something I won't share.

I took the ignition lock cylinder to a locksmith to see if it could be repaired. He couldn't and told me I needed to get a replacement and to look for one at a yonker. ("Yonker" is pronounces "junker" and is often a "junk yard.") He charged me nothing.

I went to two yonkers and neither had a replacement. The second will get one from San Pedro Sula tomorrow and will install it. He won't charge for labor! But it still is 2300 lempiras (a little over a hundred dollars.)

I got a call on the way home that they will have the part tomorrow morning.

It was late when I stopped in Dulce Nombre, about 6:30 pm, and someone asked me for a ride to a place about 45 minutes beyond where I live. I felt really bad and told them that I don’t like driving in the dark. It’s not  a question of security; it’s one of safety. My eyes don’t react as well as they used to when high beams or errant beams shine in my face or in the fog.

I also was emotionally exhausted.

I know. Poor excuse. But they seemed to understand.

This only points out one of the really hard parts of living here. I am privileged; I have connections; I have people who will do things for me without batting an eye.

Many of the poor don’t have these.

Poverty is being without connection, without resources, without a web of relations.


What a undiaconal week.

1 comment:

Jim Cain said...

In the states, funders of programs for the poor and those experiencing homelessness often ask, "How are you going to make them/move them to be more self-sufficient". I've always believed the idea of people being "self-sufficient" is a myth. Your experience illustrates my point. If we think about it, I believe we all can come up with a list of friends, family and acquaintances that we can turn to in times of need; not to mention our ability to access credit in times of desperate need. It's unrealistic for us to have self-sufficiency as a goal when we ourselves are not self-sufficient. In my work with families experiencing homelessness, my goal is not self-sufficiency but greater self-determination which involves fostering an inner belief in self, a belief of having personal power over situations and an understanding of available community resources.