Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Travel Journal Entry #2

The following is an excerpt from my travel journal from our first mission to El Sembrador, Honduras.

January 25, 2009

We had to get up early again this morning - 4:30 a.m. We had to leave the guesthouse by 5:00 in order to get to the school in time for church. It was hard to get up so early for the second day in a row. I didn't sleep well. The noise continued all night. Then I awoke to the sound of a crowing rooster. Convinced that we had overslept, I woke Steve up to ask if he had heard it. Of course, he had not. I checked the clock and it was only 2:00 a.m. I decided that I had been mistaken. At 2:10 a second rooster further away was also confused about the time. By 3:30 I realized that roosters in Honduras do not wear watches.

The drive from Teguc was pretty and mountainous, but not much different than NW Arkansas. People lined the route waiting on the primary transportation, the bus, to arrive. Drivers are pretty crazy here and show no fear. They also have a particular fondness for their horns. We stopped at a gas station along the way. It was relatively neat and had the usual variety of snacks and beverages. It was, of course, guarded by a large man with an even larger machine gun.

Immediately upon arriving at El Sembrador, which also hosts a working dairy and beef farm in its 2000 acres, we had to get ready for church. I wore one of the skirts PKBS sewed for me and got many compliments. At church, we saw the boys for the first time. There are about 90 boys enrolled so far, but school has not officially started yet and they expect 120 by next week. They began showing up last week, some all alone and some with their family members. They come from all over the country and all different stories. On boy arrived by foot and had travelled a great distance alone. He came with nothing, but he was welcomed at El Sembrador.

These first few weeks the boys are put to work. They cut the grass using machetes and perform other duties to prepare for classes in the coming weeks. Some of the boys work extra in order to earn their spot at the school. These boys either have little money or no family to support them. They wear uniforms to church and sit in the front pews. We sat at the back. More than 2/3 of the students are here for the first time. So they have never seen Americans and speak no English (except for some curse words!) Some had never been inside a church before. Since this was their first Sunday, some of the boys looked just as confused as us about what was going on.

The service was loud and everyone clapped and danced to every song. We did our best to participate when we could. I didn't understand a single word of the sermon. Except I did manage to hear the words "opportunity" and "El Sembrador" frequently. I think he was discussing what a great opportunity these boys have been given at El Sembrador. The pastor must have been Southern Baptist, because he spoke with his hands and yelled a lot. I think I heard he was from Guatemala.

After the service, the boys filed by and shook our hands before leaving the chapel. We ate separately from the boys for lunch (BBQ chicken and baked potato). Then we all met at the baseball field. Some of the boys had never played baseball before, so it was fun to show them. The men especially bonded with the boys throughout the game. After a short break and a coconut-flavored soda (yummy!), we had a short orientation and were told how the school is run and what we can expect over the next few days. Then, PK and I got cleaned up and wandered around to make some new friends. I'm surprised that it's been difficult for me. The language barrier has made me shy. Everyone else seems to have taken well to the pointing and sign language method of communication, but it feel awkward to me. Even PK seems to be a little more friendly and outgoing. I hope I'll have the courage to be more open when I'm not so exhausted. I've been told the boys love to play Uno. I think that will be a good forum for me. In the meantime, I've made friends with MK (age 8) who seems to like to hear stories about CT and about snow.

After our break, we had dinner - good pizza. At every meal they serve fresh-squeezed limeade which I am guzzling by the gallon. After dinner was church. It was pretty much the same as the morning. Except tonight nine boys went down front for the invitation. ML said she didn't really count one boy because he re-dedicates on a regular basis - probably for attention, but who can say how the Lord works? The rest were all brand new students - and now brand new Christians!
After church, there was a brief, but stinky run-in with a skunk. The boys were very excited and chased it through the camp.

In general, I have a hard time remembering names, but Spanish names are going to be a real challenge! I'm going to try harder though. Lights out. Buenos Noches.

Names I'm trying to remember tonight:
  • Ceasar - speaks a tiny bit of English and loves to test it out on us.
  • Daniel - his name is embroidered on his uniform...should be easy.
  • Dennis
  • Miguel - quiet and played Uno at our table
  • James - speaks a tiny bit of English, but is shy about it
  • Abet - Abbott in English; very outgoing
  • Victor - helps Rueben the maintenance manager [turns out Rueben is Victor's uncle]
  • Luis - 17 years old and in the 6th grade; said a curse word at the Uno table and was completely embarrassed when he realized I understood it.
  • Darwin

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I love your stories, keep them coming!!

Your Friend,

Michelle, the one you have known since before birth. =)