Dear friends and family,
Written by Doug O.
On Friday morning after breakfast we split up into three groups. Joe went to Pastor Allans Church to continue work on the playground equipment. Chris, Laura, Nicholas, Lillian and Gerah went back to the Church and school to continue distributing the bucket filters to the mothers. Bill and I started our journey to Loma Deluz with Pastor Allen, Gabriel and our military escort. As we left the city limits we enjoyed very breathtaking scenery as we entered into the agricultural areas. We were surrounded by mountains for the entire trip. We stopped at a roadside fruit stand and purchased some leachees which is a fruit I had never seen before. We ate lunch along the way and purchased groceries for supper and breakfast on Saturday.
After a few hours, several police check points and approximately 122 miles the paved road came to an end and we entered the next 30 miles of our trip on dirt roads which can only be described as an off road experience with cars, trucks, children, horses and Rick Shaw type buggies all over the road. This portion of the trip took almost as long to cover 30 miles as the previous 112 miles did. We arrived at the hospital with no issues and were greeted at the bunkhouse by Dave the IT director. Dave showed us the hospital and surrounding buildings. The hospital is completely volunteer run and charges only a few dollars for its services. Dave said they charge a small fee for the hospital to the local residents. We then traveled to the water tanks atop the hill and got a spectacular view of the ocean when we climbed the water tanks. Shortly after getting to the water tanks Mike the maintenance man met us and we discussed the water needs of the hospital complex. We then traveled to the site where my valve will be installed to replace the existing one which hangs up frequently. It became evident that night was falling and we would leave the next morning I would not get to participate in the installation of the valve. It is in good hands with Mike. We returned to the bunkhouse and meet DR Jeff the surgeon who started the hospital. What an incredible man with many talents who I would see the next morning riding his dirt bike to the orphanage to meet us. Not your typical doctor but then again nothing at this place was typical. During the course of my stay at the hospital I asked several of the volunteers what brought them to this place and they all said the short answer is “God”. I quit asking because I then knew the answer.
We returned to the bunkhouse and learned we would be eating at Mikes house for supper that night. Ian and his wife who run the orphanage picked us up and drove us to Mikes place just in time for the power to go out as it does frequently. We had a wonderful supper of lasagna, green beans and cookies by candle light until the power came back on. After some conversation we went back to the bunkhouse and saw the horses in the middle of the dark road that Bill had previously mentioned can happen. Tired, Bill and I bunked in one room while Pastor Allen, Gabriel and Maricio stayed next door. This was a hot evening as we had no air conditioning. Bill awakened me at approximately 4:30 am to listen to what I can best describe as a dragon scream. The next morning we learned it was a Howler monkey that can grow to four feet tall. Remember we are staying on the edge of the jungle.
We ate breakfast and drove a short distance to the orphanage. The orphanage houses children aging from newborn to whenever they are ready to leave. Ian and his wife run this wonderful facility and live on site. New construction is underway to provide separate housing for the young children, older boys and older girls. We toured the entire facility and got to meet all the children. What an awesome experience this was for me. I was able to hold Hennessey a two year girl and several other of the sweet children. The boys seemed very interested in Maricio due to his camo outfitThis young man started the trip with us very military like and we wore him down as the trip went on as he was playing with the children and laughing at our horseplay throughout the trip. Leaving the orphanage was difficult as I realized I could come and go as I pleased but the children could not. Bill and I were escorted to our car by the young children.
After leaving the orphanage we drove to the beach and got to stand in the sand at the edge of the ocean. Swimming is not advised due to pollution and sewage issues from nearby villages. We prepared for the bumpy dusty trip back to the paved highway. On this section of the trip I witnessed the poorest of living conditions with some houses having no windows or doors. There was plenty of activity all around us. These people are unfortunate to be poor but I assure you they are energetic and very clever in making due with what they have. They are a loving, caring people which I do not notice at home due to all the material distractions that get in the way. After a few more police roadblocks we learned that keeping the windows down as you approach gives the police the plain sight of all in the vehicle as well as our military escort Maricio. No issues just some concern on my part. Not anything like getting pulled over in Fort Wayne for speeding. These guys have large guns. We returned to San Pedro Sula at approximately 3:00 pmjust in time to help Joe and his team load their playground equipment sections in the trailer for transport to the church and school site. We arrived at the church site to find the other team had just completed the second round of bucket filter distributions which I am told went very well. We returned back to our rooms tired and ready for supper and some well deserved sleep. The shower helped also. Tomorrow we will attend Pastor Allans Church and then have a day of rest before our big day on Monday where we must complete all of our tasks we have started due to leaving on Tuesday. Time is irrelevant here in Honduras which I am still struggling with.