There is no better way to spend a Saturday than a band competition. Eighteen bands from schools around the Comayagua Valley dressed in colorful uniforms instilled such a sense of pride. They are so talented, drumming and marching with electrifying enthusiasm. These participants are not from wealthy families, not even middle-class families. Most of the kids are from dirt-poor families who sacrificed to buy those uniforms and instruments. And the majority of the children who traveled to Lejamani for the competition could not afford to bring food to sustain them for the long day. Not even the chaperon teachers. Food was provided at the end of the competition by the event’s organizers supporting and instilling national pride via month-long September Independence Day celebrations encouraging the country’s youth. I present my good friend Celia Jasmín in three of the pics because a US family has been trying to adopt her for the past three years and they have donated funds to purchase uniforms and instruments for our Hogar children. Thanks Allison and Micheal and family for helping make the day possible.
Today is the third straight day of hard, dirt soaking rain that begins in the afternoon and lasts into night. The rainy season in Honduras usually begins in May and ends in November. This year there have been only a couple of days of brief minutes-long sprinkles until three days ago. A sequía (drought) has been discussed in all the newspapers with government measures initiated to combat the loss of crops. Many rural folks depend on the rains to augment small-plot survival harvests. Drought and hunger is writ large. When I arrived in Honduras six years ago one could count on the rain beginning the first of May and lasting until November. That is no longer the case. Life is different these days. Crops wither and die and others can’t be planted, The ones who suffer most are the poor. There has been an upsurge of children begging on the streets. May the long-awaited rains continue.
I am not a tech whiz. So these two pics are rather fuzzy. It doesn’t matter! This is my new Honduran permanent residency ID card that I picked up on the 10th of September, the Día del Niño, at the Department of Immigration in Tegucigalpa. The Day of the Children is a state-mandated holiday in honor of the children of Honduras. Another national law is the senior discount law on all commercial purchases for persons over 65 years old. One other great occurrence on the Día del Niño for me was granted at the Honda dealership when I went to argue for my Honda Hybrid’s regular maintenance service visits instead of having to drive to El Salvador. Yes, the agency director told me: the rules have been changed. My next Honda Hybrid maintenance visit will be at the Honda agency in Tegus. Great day in the morning!
It is never easy in Honduras. After a grueling, tension-filled three days in Tegus wrestling with the intricacies of the Honduran Immigration system, a genuine comedy of errors, I returned home last night and fell exhausted into my own bed. More than three years of bureaucratic wrangling seem to finally be coming to an end concerning my permanent residency ID card. Two years were lost to a corrupt lawyer, a matter I intend to address once I have ID card in hand. The remainder of time was spent traipsing through time-consuming legalities pertinent to the fraud. Yesterday, however, before I left for home after being photographed and fingerprinted I was told to return in 30 days to pick up my new ID card. I will not believe it until I have my new residency ID card in hand.
In the past few weeks I have noticed an increased sense of self-confidence in the children. With the addition of instruments that will form the nucleus of a marching band for the September 15th Independence Day Parade; the classes in rock art; computer classes with a current five computers on site; sewing classes; English classes, all in-house besides their regular school schedules, they are growing intellectually and with a solid foundation of positive self-esteem. I watch this growth like planting a garden and stand amazed at the beautiful flowers that reach for the sun.
The children have learned to create art from the river rocks we collect when we go swimming at the nearby Río Humuya. Their goal is to sell as much as possible if they can develop a market for their work. They are just beginning and their creations are a little rough but with practice they have the potential to produce some real works of homespun art. Sister Edith has purchased the materials and is encouraging them to be creative. I keep telling them that they are all truly talented. It is such a pleasure to see the kids so happy.
My Honduran permanent residency was approved today by the Ministerio de Gobernación y Justicia. A couple more bureaucratic steps are required and I should be fully legal the first week of August.
I don’t really know if Iggy or his little buddy visit nights. But they do show up some afternoons when I’m working on my computer. I once ate iguana and turtle soup a very poor family on the North Coast offered me for lunch. They had no money and prepared what they caught in the wild. It was very tasty. Kinda bony, but tasty. Like chicken.
Fourth of July last year I drove my Honda Hybrid into my garage in La Paz; fresh off the boat from the US. Last week I spent four days in La Ceiba and its environs delivering to my goddaughter Yelsi a computer and taking her and Yisel swimming. Yelsi really likes her new computer. Then I spent four days R&R at my favorite seaside hotel in Tela: Cesar Mariscos Hotel. Check out the rooftop swimming pool overlooking the Caribbean beach. I’m back in La Paz as I write this post on Saturday the Fourth of July 2015. Monday I begin to confront the Honduran bureaucracy again concerning my permanent residency document.
As I drove into La Ceiba it started raining. It is after all the hurricane season and it rains almost every day along the Caribbean North Coast of Honduras and the Bay Islands. The computer I brought Yelsy as a gift for her passage to colegio lay safe and dry in the car’s trunk. Being a tropical rain the coastal temperature is also hot. I settled into my friend Dr.L’s house that she lends me when I am in La Ceiba and made plans for my four days in the area and La Masica where I would pick up my friend Profe S to accompany Yelsi and Yisel and me to the aquapark. After La Ceiba I will spend four days R&R in Tela, my favorite seaside community, in my hotel on the beach. I will post pics later because I forgot my camera USB transfer connection. Curses.