Thursday, May 31, 2012

Las Quebraditas

Friday's village--always a mixed feeling kind of day. You almost can't believe your week is almost over, and you want to pour all you have into this last day of clinic. Friday villages are normally smaller so that we can get home and have inventory started at a decent hour. It was definitely a small village, but of course full of interesting people. Janet and I saw a woman well into her eighties, wearing this beautiful blue dress and a smell that could dry tears. She was full of so much joy; such a great way to start clinic for the day! We normally tried to pray for patients before they left our clinic, but we asked this woman to pray for us. She was bursting with hope, love and happiness, and we wanted her to share some of that with us, so we could share it with the rest of the families that visited us throughout the day. Thinking about the hug she gave me as she left gets my eyes a little tingled. I remember later in the day a little girl looked at me and said, "Hey, you, give me a hairband" pointing to our little pile of ponytail holders. I smiled and said, "Hey, you, be nice and answer some questions!" Janet gets a kick out of this story because I tell it like she offended me with her "hey you!" ... but not much later she was on my lap and I was braiding her hair. I must really be a softy :)
This little thing was just too much.

Sara fell in love :)

Santa Fe de Abajo

Thursday we were all geared up and excited to hold clinic at a new village for the Barnabas Foundation. It was a long, wonderful day. Janet and I were busy all day, and we saw some incredible families. I loved how we worked together, and we enjoyed a special treat that day because MacK had time to join us for a while. Unfortunately, we were too busy to get many pictures, but the kids were cute and the people were many.

I know I've mentioned this before, but a lot of times the people we see come needing more of an ear than a prescription. I remember a lovely woman came through our station and ended up sharing a good bit of her story. Melvin and their community leader (I should really know them by name, and I am a little ashamed that I don't! ... Fausto...quizas/maybe) came over to chat with her for a while. I was fascinated listening to Melvin giving pastoral advice and then helping him pray with her. I am not sure I had ever seen Melvin in that capacity, and I was impressed by his harsh but sound advice, delivered with the perfect amount of cariño. I have a hard time describing what it is like, having no medical training, to be able to play a role in healing someone.

Las Nieves

Wednesday's village was filled with tender faces. The community leader gave me such a warm hug when we arrived. She remembered me from the church, and it was great getting to spend more time with her. We also learned she is quite the baker, as she passed around some homemade cookies and cakes to go along with our afternoon coffee. At the end of the day Janet and I went for a little walk to visit a few of the houses. There was a sweet little girl who sort of glued herself to my side for the afternoon, and I think she wanted to show us where she lived. It is so fun looking back on this trip. All the smiles, tears and stories we shared. I love what I do. I just love it.

 Tonia's braids just looked like they wanted to enjoy some fresh flowers :)

Tuesday night manicures, extra shiny thanks to Papa Joe's sweet glitter polish stash!

The community leader's home she graciously opened for restroom access.

Melvin (black tshirt and sunglasses) and Pete (red tshirt and hat) LOVE to sing, and have lovely voices. Melvin and I taught the team a song that is well known around here--it was fun to get each day started clapping and singing.
"Yooo tengo un amigo que me ama, me ama, me ama..."

those eyes!

Love Janet's expression in this one.

and love Remmie's relaxed smile in this one!

La Masica

Our first village was a town called La Masica. Everyone had a great Monday, and first day of clinic. I translated for Janet this year which was a real treat. I definitely missed Jed, but getting to work side by side with such a dear friend was something special. We did our best to treat each family like the only group we needed to see that day, listen to their stories and really get a feel for what they needed. 
How could you have anything but a great day when you get to help treat a beautiful family like this?? Look at all those smiles! And the fun pigtail braids :)

she was such a giggler!

I just wanted to hear her stories...

Sometimes people just need someone to listen, which is where my sensitivity shows itself to be a blessing. 
Monday evening we had our staff dinner and really enjoyed a night outside with the Honduran crew sharing our table.

Team 3 2012...the arrival!

I got to enjoy a mission trip down here! Team 3 of the Friends of Barnabas Foundation came down in March, and I had the privilege of translating for the second year now. This team holds a special place in my heart, seeing how Team 3 2011 introduced me to Honduras and the town I now call home. This year's group had some new faces and some familiar faces, but we all got along like old friends. I've been to the Barnabas house plenty of times since I've been down here, and always have a good time visiting the teams. But there was something so surreal about walking into the house and seeing so many familiar smiles. And not just popping in for dinner, or to do a little translating, but claiming a bed, unpacking a suitcase and calling it home for a week! It was such a special week, shared with very special people, and I hope I do some of our moments justice with the string of stories I've put together.
the trail to the lake from Kid's Ark

Elmer found a cozy spot by the lake--it was a long, warm hike!

napoleones...God's gift to purple

the chicas checking out the backyard at the lake house

Love this photo! Part of the team hung around Kid's Ark and didn't make it down to the lake,  but here is a partial group photo. From left: Elmer, me, Dani, Robin, Cami, Will, Sara, Kevin, Pete, Bruce and sweet Janet down in front. 
We had our usual inventory fun on Sunday morning, and then everyone let me take them on a hike down to the lake. While walking through Kid's Ark (Arca de Cristo) we had the chance to meet Randy, the owner from the States, and it was great to chat with him. We hiked around the property, down around the lake, then back to Kid's Ark to enjoy a little fruit and juice picnic Nury was thoughtful enough to put together. It was neat playing a bit of a tour guide for the afternoon!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Community Leaders

In early March an education team came down for Friends of Barnabas, and it included Janet and Nancy so I was very excited! The Foundation will work with twenty-five different villages this year, and each village appoints its own community health leader. Those leaders get together for a few days of training the education team holds at the Barnabas house. Due to limited sleeping space, the women stayed on site and Nury coordinated with Pastor Alfonso for the men to sleep at the church. Pastor Alfonso was away that week, and I was so happy when he trusted me to handle things in his absence. FOBF delivered mattresses, sheets etc, and Pastor provided some blankets for the men. I didn't get the chance to spend any time at the training sessions, but from what I heard from Janet it was quite the week! The team and community leaders came to church for Thursday's prayer service. I translated for Marvin Paz, who gave a lovely sermon about the importance of specific, detailed prayer. March was a special month. I got to help with the arrangements for these community leaders, and I got lots of time with some people I love dearly. I will get into much greater detail down the road, but not long after the education team's departure I was travelling for a week with Team 3 in the mountains around my new home town!

Sunday with the neighbors

Oh Sunday on the lake. Lots of time in a hammock. I´m getting all relaxy just thinking about it! It´s been a while ago now, but we still talk about it with lots of joy. The friendliness of our neighborhood block is something special. We have gotten really close with a few of the families, and Edwin and Yamilet have had us over for dinner, to their mom´s lake house and for a road trip to the beach! It has, of course, been a while ago now, but Maryann, Irene and I were invited to Yami's mom's lake house one Sunday afternoon. We headed out early morning, a little later than planned due to a little rain delay, but all packed into the truck and drove the hour or so to a little spot called Arca de Cristo or Kid's Ark. Kid's Ark is a beautiful park opened by a guy named Randy who lives in Florida, but spends a good chunk of time travelling between the two countries. A friend of ours, Josias, is Randy's right-hand and helps with any retreats or other events held there. There are two reliable options to get to the lake house. You can either row a boat from one side of the lake to the little nook where her mom's property is, or you can hike from Kid's Ark. The rowing is I'm sure beautiful, but I love the walk. I have been back a few times since this first trip, and it is always a great time.
Yami with her mommy!
the drive out there is sandwiched with the prettiest views--love it!

Her mom's house was simple but wonderful, surrounded by nature at its finest. Various types of crazy tropical fruit trees, including rows of coconut trees, and sprinkles of bright, beautiful flowers. The kids had a great time running around and playing, and I did not hesitate to take advantage of some relaxation time. The hammocks were cozy and the breeze was perfectly timed! Abuelita (Yami's mom :) had a HUGE pot of chicken yucca soup, but we all started with a few slices of watermelon. Ah yes--the hike is beautiful, and I really enjoy every step, but having to carry all the food you anticipate craving throughout the day has me very thankful for strong, eager to help, young neighbor children. Their two sons, Andy and Mauri, keep us smiling all afternoon watching them race bikes and goof off around the neighborhood, and I'm pretty sure they each toted a watermelon down to the lake for us that day. I toted Abram, their handsome tiernito, and he was way more fun than some melon.
Andy and his cute smile!

A few of Yami's nieces and nephew's joined us for the day, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy bringing me different fruit and telling me all about them. We climbed a ciruela tree, and were told we could eat them even though they were green. Those things were bitter! But here they like to eat unripened fruit with a little spiced salt, in case anyone back home wants to give that a try! I've since had a ripe ciruela, and you can absolutely taste a difference.
the boys showing off cacao fruit...that's a crazy one!


zapote! Some people say it tastes like pumpkin has an odd taste and consistency, but proper ripeness helps both of those work out for tasty.

guayaba--SO pretty!

Abuelita getting things going for tamalitos. We had fun shucking corn!

Future tamalitos...those things hit the spot with afternoon coffee!
hand-cranking the tamalito masa!

one of my new favorite places :)

tell me these kids aren't stinking cute! Hanging out by the stove.

Before we left Edwin took us to harvest a little yucca. I am pretty sure we wasn't expecting us to actually harvest, but mostly just wanted to show us the plant and how it all works. Irene and I are too fun for that! We each had a go at it, and it was so tough but I am happy to be able to say I've done it! I worry for the men who harvest yucca all day long, but I definitely appreciate their hard work. Yucca is just too tasty. Although I learned if you try hard enough, it is something you can burn yourself out on! We had a coconut feast while we geared up for the hike back to the truck. Edwin was so patient hacking into coconut after coconut.  I learned there are yellow coconuts, and brown coconuts. I have heard different stories on the differences, but the most common is that the brown have been given time to dry. The water in a yellow coconut is quite tasty, but the liquid in a brown coconut is more like coconut milk--que rico! Makes me think of hot yoga and how refreshing it would be to hack into a coconut after a long, steamy session. The fruit in the yellow goes is more like a jelly, but the brown ones is the hard, white meat they shred and bag to sell in stores. And it is so stinkin tasty. Yum now I'm craving coconut.
Edwin doing work!

so excited! It is like a mini earthquake the way the whole ground shakes when you're pulling it out! I honestly thought it grew sort of like a carrot...a root attached to a bunch of green leaves. Way off dude!

Irene even held a baby for the first time!
The walk to the truck felt a little longer than the morning's venture to the lake, but I think the shoulder full of yucca had something to do with that! Abuelita sent me home with a bag full of henny penny eggs (or brown, fresh from the hen eggs if you're not my mother, brother or grandfather and don't get that reference!) and Maryann was kind enough to carry them gently, without breaking a single one! You know, it is too easy to get hard on myself for not being better about promptly posting, but it can be so fun to reminisce about all the little details about the mini adventures I've been able to enjoy. I love that spot on the lake. The neighbors and I have already discussed that before I leave we need to spend at least a night or two there. And that at some point, even if I'm old and gray, I'll need to come and spend a chunk of time there. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, hoards of fruit trees, exploding flowers and a view that makes your knees weak. Already looking forward to our next trip out there!
I don't have many pictures of the flowers there, so that's something to work on, but that purple plant you see? That's one of the things that I think called me back down here in the beginning. It is one of the most incredible shades of color I have ever seen exist in creation.