So, I will start off with what I while in Santa Rosa de Copan. I only wrote for a few days, and then I got so busy that I either was too tired to write or just didn't have the time. Here's what I wrote so far:
Oddly enough I have not been nervous or jittery about anything at this point. I guess I have been keeping busy enough not to have any time to reflect... maybe that would make me nervous. I guess we'll see by the time I have finished writing.
Left Athens. Left America. Entering San Pedro Sula. Will come back to America. Back to Griffin. Leaving for Houston. Current plan? I guess it is a permanent move. We'll see.
I don't think my lack of nervousness has anything to do with the fact that I don't care, because I do. I hope it has everything to do with the fact that God's plan is THE plan, and He cares about me and will protect me. With all the work I have had to do for everything, I feel prepared. When I left for Guatemala, I was terrified. Maybe this is old hat.
What should I expect for Houston? Big. That's all I can think about. I can see myself tearfully driving down the road, a dull ache in my stomach. But not yet. I think the ache is more for my parents.
Will I like it?
7/12, Arrival in San Pedro Sula
When I get to international customs on arrival anywhere, that is about the point where I get tired of the airport. We waited about an hour in line to get processed, and by that point, someone from our group has finally made it through to pick up all of the luggage at the baggage claim. At the terminal entrance we meet John -- for all intensive purposes, our "tour guide" for today. (Really, he is in charge of transportation for Mission Upreach.) We are waiting for someone to arrive on another flight, so we exchange money with one of the employees of the terminal. I trade $40 for 800 limpias, and this is around the time when I realize that there are some people in the midst of our large group that nobody recognizes. Did they come with John?
Well, I guess I'm gonna find out...
So I won't go into the details of this conversation, because it just makes me annoyed. When you ask somebody, "What's your name?" and he responds with "I'm nobody," then that's a pretty good clue that you need to get away from him. After about two minutes of this, I was able to discern that he wanted money, seeing as he appeared when our group was with the money changer. Finally, for what seems like decades, I hear Adam say to Bryant, "Go rescue Jessica.. We need to pull her away." Bryant comes around and throws his arm over my shoulder, and we walk out of the terminal to load our bags on the bus.
I'm treated to a lunch of a chorizo baleada by Jennifer, who somehow ordered two of whatever she wanted. The baleada is a giant, freshly made tortilla that usually has some type of meat, eggs, sour cream, and black beans within it. It is a common food staple in Honduras. This meal cost $3.25 in American dollars, including a giant bottle of water.
A baleada, from Wikipedia
"Me gustaria un agua, por favor," I say to the lady at the kiosk. She gives me a questioning look, and points to the bottle of water. "Yeah," I say, and I pay for it. I guess my Spanish-speaking skills are pretty funky.
After lunch we get on the bus. There is really no way to describe the entire scenery in writing. At least I don't have the capability to do that. Here are some things that stood out to me:
- Magnificent mountains covered by luscious greenery, spotted here and there by little towns with huts made of mud or tin. No building looks like another, and they range from open mud shacks in the country to flats in towns.
- While driving through the country, you occasionally pass a "true" house, meaning one made with stone or brick, with glass windows and a trim land surrounding it. Usually, houses are just surrounded with trash or brush... or chickens and cows.
- One of the striking differences is the construction of a mud or tin flat surrounded by trash and barefoot children, but with a satellite dish fixed on top of the flat.
- And then there are the roads. These deserve a whole paragraph or two for themselves.
So. The roads. Imagine riding down a gravel road on a car. Sometimes it can be pretty frustrating and bumpy, right? Now add steep hills, potholes, places where the road tried to be pavement, and really lax rules as to what side you are on, especially when passing. Oh. And you do this all on an old school bus, which we stopped for because we needed a new tire. We took four hours to drive about eighty-five miles to Santa Rosa de Copan. All of our luggage was strapped on top of the bus, and a couple of hours down the road, we hit a violent downpour. Luckily, most of our luggage did not get wet, as far as I know.
Now, I don't mean to be all dramatic about the bus. To be honest, it is what I expected. The roads in Guatemala are the same. I wanted to paint this scene, because guess who was adamant about riding the bus? (Some road in a smaller bus with air conditioning.) Miss Lillie. She sat in the front seat of the bus the entire trip and would not have it any other way. Quite impressive for someone who is 82. At 82, I will be sticking to a comfortable 10-mile radius of my house, being driven around in the nice fluffy backseat of my cadillac.
I think we arrived at Hotel Elvir at about 8 pm. We rushed to take the luggage off the top of the bus and then stowed it in our rooms. We met with the Mission Upreach team during dinner, which was potatoes, veggies, spicy steak (I think), and tortillas, with a sweet strawberry smoothie. Phil Waldron talked a little while, followed by safety statements from Donna, who met with each team leader about what to expect.
After cleaning up, pretty much everybody crashed. If you think about it, we spend around 16 hours traveling (left for the airport at 6 am, Honduras is 2 hours behind us, then we arrived at the hotel at 8 pm). Everybody rested well! Hotel Elvir is quite nice. I felt like I was on vacation because we hadn't really done any work yet.
OK... I think that is enough for tonight. I think I will take it a day at a time so I don't have extremely long posts. Hope you enjoy the next week of reminiscing about Mission Upreach! :)