It is the heart of the rainy season in Intibucá, Honduras. We went through the heart of the rainy season in Morecelí, El Paraiso a year ago, but we don’t remember it anything like this. We had been used to it raining about four out of every five days. The rains were always hard, but they usually wouldn’t start until about 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon and they would generally end by the time we went to bed. But lately it has been raining every day, often starting in the morning and not ending at all. It’s been a constant, dreary sort of rain with overcast skies and a penetrating dampness. To top that, however, unlike anywhere else in Honduras, it’s cold in La Esperanza. Wearing long sleeves and a sweatshirt is not mentioned in any of the Honduran vacation brochures. I guess being so high up the clouds just get caught in these mountains. I’m sure that La Esperanza is feeding all the rivers throughout Honduras, but it can’t possibly be raining as much anywhere else. If it were not for the dry season, this would certainly qualify as a rain forest.
Tuesday we planned for a dinner party. Colorado State University is doing a long-term study down here on the health effects of indoor cook stoves. They’re in the initial stages and we’ve been helping them to get acquainted with La Esperanza, and particularly finding them housing. Two of the post-docs, a boyfriend/driver, and a Honduran partner arrived in La Esperanza on Monday and we invited them for a home cooked meal in the evening of their first full day. During the day, in-between the rain, we were curing wood that was being used to build false, slanted roofs over our flat roofed buildings at Maestro en Casa (flat roofs, torrential rains ongoing for months, equals leaking ceilings – not a brilliant design idea). Curing the wood consists of painting the wood with an oil and gasoline mixture. By the time we were walking home, we were soaked from the rain and smelling of gasoline. Still, we were looking forward to hosting our dinner party. At 3:30 pm the electricity went out. It usually comes back on, but not this time. Our guests got lost trying to find our house. I had to go out and stand at the corner in the downpour to find them and lead them to our house. Cell phone service was spotty so we kept losing their call. They finally arrived and sat down in our dark house. Our electric lantern was losing battery power and we had no candles. The dinner, however, cooked on our propane stove was excellent, and we all laughed at the complex challenges we face. The bomb shell came when Benjamin, the Honduran, asked how Laura and I had managed the earthquake from last night. This came as a total surprise to Laura and I who had slept through a rather significant shaking. Apparently at 10:00 pm the previous evening, a rather strong earthquake centered in El Salvador shook our department of Intibucá relatively harshly. I guess we were tired because neither of us had woken up. The lights came on as our meal was ending and we all applauded.
The next day, Wednesday, we had planned a trip back along the Frontera to Camasca and Concepcion. We’ll be living and working in Concepcion (we’ve found a beautiful house that I’ll tell you about in a future blog) come November. The bus leaves at 6:00 am, so we decided to get up at 4:30 am. It was a good thing that Laura had set her cell phone alarm because sometime during the night the electricity went off again. To my knowledge, there were no further earthquakes. We were in almost absolute darkness preparing ourselves for the journey. It was raining again. And the absolute worst thing – no coffee. But we made the bus. Either because of the earthquake or the rain, or more likely, both, the road was even more gutted and fallen than it had been. The treacherous passes were perhaps a little more treacherous, and unless it was my imagination, the sheer drops along the cliff edges seemed even more profound. But we got there. We saw our bi-lingual school in Camasca where we’ll be soliciting sponsors so all kids will be able to attend. In Concepcion we stayed at the clinic and met some wonderful people visiting from the States. It was an incredible trip and we are really excited to be part of the team.
Alex is the tech support man at Shoulder to Shoulder. We met him the last time we were in Concepcion. He’s a great guy and we’ve had wonderful conversations with him. He’s from La Ceiba on the North Coast. On our first visit he told us he was expecting a child in a few weeks. On this visit I asked how the mother-to-be was doing. He said she was fine, but it would probably be another couple of weeks before he would be a first time, proud father. As we were leaving today, he was outside the clinic by the gate on his cell phone. He ended the call to say goodbye to us. Laura wished him luck with the prospect of his soon to be child. He informed us of the arrival of his daughter, Grace Alexandra. Grace seems an apt name. It wasn’t raining when we left. It isn’t raining now since we got back. So at least that’s a plus.