We’ve moved. We’d give you our forwarding address, but it wouldn’t do you any good. We live in Camasca now. Camasca is the quaintest of towns on the Frontera (the southern area of the department of Intibucá, bordering El Salvador). The streets are paved with cobblestone, as are all the towns in the Frontera, but here they seem much better kept. Camasca is European like, very noble with lots of character. The cool mountain air, as compared to the oppressive heat of Concepción just five miles north and 1500 feet down, gives the area an alpine feel. They’ve made a great effort at keeping their town clean, and unlike almost everywhere else in Honduras, there isn’t piles of plastic and paper strewn along roads and pathways. Even with the old country milieu, there are many modern conveniences that are simply not present in the other smaller towns. There are a decent number of restaurants, and one of them, really nice with free WiFi, is a favorite haunt. In Concepción we only had the pseudo- Chinese restaurant. There is a gym – yes, really, a gym – that is certainly the only one within 40 miles and a two-hour drive. There are two hardware stores and they actually have materials in them.
We live in a very big house. Actually, it is bigger than our last house in East Longmeadow sans a basement. There are two tenants, however, high school students. One is the daughter of the house’s owner whose parents live in Virginia, and the other is from Colomoncagua, here because this high school offers Information and Technology. Our privacy is a little challenged by adolescent socialization norms that are culturally universal. Although it is big and furnished (I finally have an actual sofa to stretch out on), there are a few drawbacks. In Concepción we had running water almost 24/7. Here it dripples out of our pipes every other day between 5 and 7 am, back to cold water bucket showers. When it is raining, most of the time now during the rainy season, we get water in the house, just not through the pipes. The terra cotta roof looks nice, but is not always the most efficient, and leaks are legion. The electricity is off here more frequently, the internet is less reliable, and we’re right on the town’s main street. On this last issue, Laura finally has a full porch that sits on the street side of the house, a bucket list cross off for her, but it’s literally only about ten feet from the street. I guess you just have to take the good with the bad.
“But why did we move?”, you ask. There are the emotional reasons and the practical reasons. When we first came to the Frontera, committed to work with Shoulder to Shoulder, Camasca was the first town we visited and we were enamored. We asked about staying in Camasca, but the center for our work would be at the clinic in Concepción, and even though it is only about five miles away, commuting was not an option. Now, things have changed and Shoulder to Shoulder’s mission is expanding. Whereas we had been dedicating our time to operational needs of our two major clinics and the supervision of a few employees who did not fall under our government contract for providing health care, those parts of Shoulder to Shoulder are envisioned to become self-sustaining by way of our government contract. Other Shoulder to Shoulder missions, particularly education, service trips, and the development of new projects, are demanding more sustained attention as they grow. Our bilingual school is in Camasca, and thus Camasca has become our center for mission enhancement and development. So here we have landed.
When Laura and I first came to Honduras, we committed ourselves to a year, maybe two, of volunteer service with an agency focused on the enrichment and development of the underserved. Everywhere we have gone, from Montaña de Luz to Maestro en Casa to Shoulder to Shoulder, we have felt gratitude for the ability to offer ourselves according to empowerment of the underserved. Still, we had not considered that our time in Honduras would become a career path. Yet, here we are moving toward our third anniversary and it does not seem that we will be leaving anytime soon. It has not always been a picnic. We have had our share of disagreements and struggles. But we are content. We wake up every morning knowing that what we do during the course of the day is meaningfully discerned and supports the dignity of those we work with. What more could anyone want from life?
It looks like we’re here for an indefinite period of time. The bilingual school will consume a great deal of our time. We are building something unique in all of Honduras. It’s very exciting. What we’re also about to be building is three additional classrooms and some modest office space. That is the most immediate hurdle. It will cost about $65,000 when all is said and done. We don’t have that on hand, of course, and we’ll be starting a pretty ambitious campaign. We haven’t asked too much from our friends and family, although those of you who have supported us have been extremely generous. Laura and I have talked about it and we’ve decided that the cause is very just and we will be asking you. Of course, if you want to get out in front of our pitch, we won’t complain.
We appreciate your support, your kind thoughts and wishes, and your prayers if you are so inclined. Whenever you’re in the area of Camasca, don’t feel as if you need an invitation to stop in and say hi.
Just click the photo above to make a donation to the Campaign.