Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Honduras description 1

Hola a todos,

Community—Ciudad Divina Providencia

Drive north from Tegucigalpa on the highway for about 35 minutes and soon you will descend into a beautiful and mountainous valley called the Valle de Amarateca. You will notice thousands of pine trees, green scrub brush, and pockets of identical houses scattered about the valley. Billows of smoke rise from the Café Indo coffee processing plant on the right and the Café Maya plant on the left. The smell is inviting on a calm day. Soon you are in the lowest part of the valley where streaks of brown illustrate the dirt roads that wind their way up into the mountains well worn by foot, tire, and hoof. Take the last road on the left--the one before you head up the mountain on the other side of the valley. That’s it. Remember to hold onto the seat in front of you to avoid hitting your head on the roof due to the dips and bumps. Climb around the cow pastures, honk on the corners so that oncoming traffic knows you are there, and follow the sign up the hill to Divina Providencia. There, workers cutting grass will stop and wave or nod wondering who is entering their community. If they know you they will shout with a raised hand “compa” or “tio” endearing names that remind you of the friendship you maintain. Be careful of the skinny dogs and roaming cattle on the road and as you enter the community you will notice a microcosm of the glory and sadness that is Honduras. People laughing alongside burning trash, kids playing barefoot with a flat soccer ball on a dirt field, abandoned cars alongside beautiful gardens, and gentle smiles that turn into growls when talking about politics. In this country, the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere by some standards, life is both simpler and more complicated than in the U.S.

As you enter the center of town just past the central park, notice the Catholic Church on the right. It is the biggest building in town by far but is simply built with a red roof and about a dozen trees surrounding the cement structure. Now look left—the brick building, the length of two cars is the old pre-school that was run by Capuchin nuns. They left about two years ago and the place has been closed, to the great dismay of the community, ever since. Holler at the gate so that we can let you in. Would you like some coffee? It happens to be out nicest amenity alongside our refrigerator and stove. However, both only work when there is electricity which is most of the time—just like our water. No, I am not complaining, just noting how life is here. No, that sound is not a train—it is the bus. The drivers believe that laying on the horn will bring more customers. Though good for them, it tends to wake up the babies in the community including our own Santiago. Now relax. You are in the company of friends, out of the heat of the sun, tasting some sweet bread and laughing at our stories.

The maps below highlight both where the orphanage is (the black star) and where we will be staying (black star in a red bubble on the far left). Please ignore the red box on bigger map as well as the misspelling of Central.

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