A few of the kids asked me today for the millionth time when English classes will begin again. When the school year is out, I reply. Summer vacation here is December thru February. I have been so busy with personal and fundación stuff that I … “don Fortunato, can you help me with this homework about the United Nations?” I was at the Foundation to take Neli for a driving lesson in the pickup. “When is this due Seidi?” I asked: her class three hours away. “Today.” Every day is an adventure at the Fundación Señor San José. The Foundation has a well-built abandoned cottage left over from construction days in its rear corner farthest from the main buildings. It was used as a “bodega” or a storage place. I aim to turn the building into a hands-on teaching center for the children.
Wow. Just wow. A 3,000 mile journey began 3 May 2014 and ended today 5 July 2014. I drove my Honda into La Paz two months and two days after arriving in Seattle. Such a feeling of liberation.
I am not a very spiritual person. Since learning to read I plunged into the scientific world to which I have dedicated my life, never looking back. But today I considered a very different interpretation of my surroundings. Sitting there in church with the children and Sister Edith I experienced such a feeling of closeness and welcome, a bond joining with many of the community’s Catholics in a weekly gathering of family spirit that was almost palpable and made me think and hope for a mutual common sense existence that could be preserved and shared with the world, absent petty competitions and recriminations, based on respect for each others beliefs. If we love one another we are safe and never alone. Our children are loved and in a safe place and never alone. And that’s what’s most important.
It’s a long way from Seattle to Fayetteville, Arkansas. A week on the road 8 hours a day; then another two days to Houston. Stops in between. All of it along our country’s interstate highway system. Leaving Seattle early the Saturday morning after Travis’s eulogy I drove through Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas. I’m here in Houston to put my car aboard a boat for transport to Honduras. After arriving home in La Paz I’ll wait for the phone call announcing my car’s arrival at Puerto Cortez. Next week I continue my work with the foundation.
April 30th, 5 pm and right on time it’s raining like crazy. Mother Gaea is consistent if anything. It will rain all evening and every day thereafter same as ever. I have learned to time my shopping according to the afternoon rain. After 3 pm it’s too late, you’re gonna get wet. It, however, is a tropical rain, the weather hot during the day (95 F yesterday) and less hot when it’s raining in the afternoon. Saturday I leave for the States. Hello Seattle. See ya.
After five years volunteering at the Hogar San José I feel a milestone has been reached. Back then, as we struggled in the dirt and dust and garbage, the nun and the children and volunteers working to establish a semblance of a living space in a neighborhood dump, I would have never dreamed the children would today be living in a brand-new, modern state of the art home. The driving force and unquestionable dedication has been that of Sister Edith herself moving the project forward. I told myself I would remain until I could someday see her dream come true. It has happened. I will no longer be actively involved as a volunteer. My dream has also come true: I will now be dedicating my time writing a memoir detailing the birth and development of the Fundación Señor San José. In addition, I will be setting up an Education Fund for the children. In my close classroom work with my students I have observed a motivation and a desire for learning as we have interacted in our English classes. After each of the children finishes their secondary education they will have the opportunity to pursue the university career for which they are interested and qualified. I am not ashamed to ask any reader of this post to contribute money to the Fondo Educativo Lic. Fortunato Velásquez para la Educación de los Niños de la Fundación Señor San José. This topic will be discussed in further postings. From this we have arisen: http://www.andreavelasquez.com/foggypark/hogar2012/
Do not drive at night. Reasons: potholes; bandits; livestock. Honduras has a fairly extensive network of paved roads that connect the major cities. But the country has no organized maintenance of those roads. On my recent trip from San Pedro Sula to La Ceiba on the main two-lane road that skirts the Caribbean out of sight of the water except for Tela, the highway is so full of potholes that one must be on constant alert to avoid severe damage to one’s vehicle. Then there’s the danger of cars from the opposite direction swerving into your lane avoiding potholes so that one must be on constant alert to avoid the potholes and swerving vehicles. And the potholes are often not small. One I avoided was a meter across and half a meter deep. Livestock often wander free feeding on the grass at the side of the road. They have been known to cross the roadway to feed on the other side. Bandits are more prevalent nights. There are no police on the roadways, day or night. It is literally every person for theirselves. Be safe. Travel by day and keep your eyes wide open. The scenery is beautiful.