Tuesday, August 31, 2010

La Tienda

Dear Tienda,

I know that you must take one morning a month for your inventory, but must it be today?!? You are very inconsiderate. Is it not enough that you seduce me with your Pepsi and Pinguinos daily? Have you not tortured me enough with empty ice cream freezers for three entire days already? I cannot make it one morning without the hum of your freezers or the taste of your sweet cookies. Therefore, I find myself in great despair this morning and without hope for the afternoon. Perhaps I shall leave your beautiful rows of chips and your ice cold Gatorade behind and eat an apple for breakfast instead. Or perhaps I shall dare to sup on a frozen waffle. I can see that this relationship is not healthy and that I must move on and do something productive this morning. But I linger outside your shuttered windows hoping that you will somehow sense my desire and have mercy on me. Oh sure, there are other pulperias filled with delightful treats, but none can compare to the bounty within our own little El Sembrador world. Sadly, Tienda, I love you too much and though you cannot return my adoration, I pine for you and eagerly await your happy return. I am forever yours.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'd Rather Have the Disease

Sunday is a special day for our family. In addition to a day full of worship and free of work, every Sunday is
"Malaria Day" in our house. That means before our Sunday meal after church we each get to to choke down a couple of chloroquine pills that taste like eating a piece of chalk that always...and I mean always...gets stuck in the back of your throat. It's a new family tradition that I'm sure we're all going to miss once we return to the States.

We have managed to learn a few little things to make the process a little smoother every week. For instance, Zuko or Pepsi can help mask the awful taste. I always watch CT take his pill in case it really does become permanently lodged and I have to practice my Heimlich skills. And I always try to stand near the sink in case my gagging causes me to throw the pill back up. Awww....such great memories!

If this Sunday ritual weren't enough, there are plenty of missionary stories and myths about the side effects of chloroquine and the crazy antics of those who took too much or took it incorrectly. If there is any doubt about the dangers of this "helpful" drug, here is a list of side effects:

  • flushing
  • swelling of the lips, tongue or face
  • difficulty breathing
  • closing of the throat
  • vision problems
  • rash
  • itching
  • fever
  • blurred or misty vision; difficulty focusing vision
  • hearing loss or ringing in the ears
  • diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • insomnia
  • muscle weakness
  • psoriosis or other skin disorders
  • severe headache
  • drowsiness
  • seizures
  • loss of inhibitions
  • experiencing visions or spinning
It's no wonder that most of the missionaries we've met have opted not to take the drug at all, preferring to take their chances with malaria. Still, we continue our weekly ritual out of the fear born from the Hollywood movies and African safari stories in Reader's Digest. Clearly, a little bout of malaria might be preferable, but we are mere gringos...afraid of giant snakes and tiny mosquitos. And so we soldier on every week because we are brave missionaries in a foreign land and these are the sacrifices we must make...or because we spent close to $400 on chloroquine pills and there's no way we're letting them go to waste!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Perhaps I'll Die

I swallowed a fly. It managed to make it's way into my carefully guarded morning Pepsi and I swallowed it. It ruined my breakfast. The entire office stopped to stare at the crazy gringa coughing a sputtering like she's smoked a pack a day for 30 years. The worst part of the whole situation is that I haven't been able to get that stupid song about the old lady who swallowed a fly out of my head for three days now.

I don't know why I swallowed a fly. Perhaps I'll die.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Micromanaging the Chaos

Lately that old familiar feeling for dread and anxiety has started creeping into my life again. We only have a few short months left here at El Sembrador and we have to start figuring out what's next for us. I know that I should just trust God to lead and take care of the details for us, but I am constantly second-guessing. What if this is my will and not God's will? How will we know we're doing things according to His plan for our lives? When does practical planning become mistrusting God's ability to provide?

Recently, PK and I filled out applications to be career missionaries at El Sembrador. There's going to be a long vetting process and lots of tests and, of course, support raising before we're back in Honduras. That leaves me plenty of time to worry and agonize about not worrying and agonizing about our ministry. In the meantime, there's those little mundane things like where we're going to live and how are we going to put food on the table to occupy my thoughts. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm suffocating in decisions that have to be made and scenarios that could happen to derail everything. It's kind of like having a boss that micromanages every aspect of your life, but really doesn't know anything about the job or the plan...only in this case I'm the micromanager and no matter what I do I can't seem to get a handle on what exactly my life is supposed to be. It's perpetual frustration and apprehension that I can't seem to shake.

I'm really trying to trust in the Lord and lay my cares at His feet, but I guess me and my cares are pretty tight these days, because I'm having some separation anxiety.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's All Worth It

This has been a challenging seven months for us, but not in the ways we expected. The language barrier really hasn't prevented us from building relationships with the boys and it's been really hot but we haven't melted. I think we have been most surprised that the things we thought we would struggle with have been relatively easy and the issues we thought were limited to our corporate jobs are alive and well in the ministry field. Sometimes it's been disppointing and sometimes we've questioned our choice to come to Honduras. In the end, though, we know that we love these kids and every time they make me smile or cry and every night when I pray for them right along with my prayers for my own child, I am reminded that they have given us so much more than we could have ever hoped to offer them. The boys are part of our family and every one of the pains, heartaches and mosquito bites have been worth it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


On Sunday, we had the birthday party for the boys who have birthdays in May through August. I made five cakes for the event...and they weren't burnt!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Honduras Scavenger Hunt

Only on a drive across Honduras is this scavenger hunt possible. Good thing we had a good, long bus ride to the field retreat!

A pharmacy named "Maria"
A lady carrying a baby with a pot on her head
A convertible car with the top down
XAn iguana
XA string of Christmas lights
A yellow bus with mud flaps that say "Dios es Amor"
A man wearing bright green pants and a hat
A shoeshine boy
XA stock of red bananas
XA man laying in a hammock
XA window box with flowers blooming
XA vehicle with a USA license plate
XA little girl with pigtails
A boy riding a donkey
XA man with a machete strapped to his belt
XAn airplane - flying or on the ground
XFish on a string
XA house with a green door and green shutters
XA truck with a flat tire
A lady driving her car and talking on a cell phone
XA sign advertising TelaMar
A pickup loaded with at least 10 people in the back
XA soccer game
XA momma hen with her chicks
XA sign for pupusas
A Hummer
XA bright purple house
XA lady washing clothes in a river
A dead horse with buzzards on it
XA lady with a blue umbrella
A Wendy's truck
A John Deere tractor
XA man rocking in a rocking chair
XAn empty 2-liter Pepsi bottle
XA yellow rose
XA saddled horse
XA real clothes line (not on fences, bushes or ground)
XA red macaw
XA white van full of gringos
XRoad kill
XA car wash
XA lady sweeping her yard
XA girl with a pink backpack
Red tennis shoes
Momma pig with piglets

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Walking in Your Own Flip-Flops

This past weekend we headed into Tegucigalpa for a weekend of rest in preparation for the missionary retreat. We haven't been to Teguc in quite a while and I noticed a distinct change in our agenda for this trip. When we first arrived in Honduras, we wanted to do everything Honduran and completely immerse ourselves in this culture. We wanted Honduran food, Honduran houses and Honduran churches. I was even prepared to let go of my schedule and was looking forward to the mas tranquilo" Honduran lifestyle. This weekend was a completely different story. We could not wait to get to the big city and all its western ammenities. We visited to malls, ate at Applebee's and Quizno's. And to our delight, we attended an American-style English church service complete with familiar hymns, a service outline in the bulletin and the Lord's Supper. I even got an e-mail from the retreat committee with a absolutely wonderful schedule of evenst for the coming week. And I don't think we've uttered a single Spanish word for the last three days!

Don't get me wrong. We're not ready to catch the next flight to States. We are just learning to appreciate our own culture after experiencing another. After so long at El Sembrador, we aren't really missing home...it's more like a craving for normal. We spend so much time not understanding...or trying to understand...or learning to understand that the old and familiar is refreshing. When you spend months living in someone else's shoes, it's nice to slip on those worn out Old Navy flip-flops again...even if it's just for a little while. I'm sure we'll be ready to return to our beloved El Sembrador after retreat, but for now we are thoroughly enjoying the walk along the beach in our own American flip-flops.