My entry into El Salvador Sunday was not without problems. Again the Salvadoran customs folks told me I had to leave the region before I could enter the country. But I went to Nicaragua like you told me last week. Here, it says 90 days visa extension reentering Honduras – I said. That’s only good for Honduras – he said. To enter El Salvador you must travel to Costa Rica, Belize, México or out of Central America – he continued. I was allowed to enter the country only because my passport was stamped one month ago by Immigration in Tegus. You have until 22 May – he said. What a confusing bunch of crap! I drove to San Miguel, got my car serviced, and returned home on the 21st.
The smile was wiped off my face when I arrived at the El Salvador border last Sunday. It took 10 months to receive my new Honduras license plates: El Salvador does not allow any vehicle without license plates to enter its territory so I thought, no problem. I cannot service my Honda Hybrid in Honduras because the agency refused. The auto agency in El Salvador said; sure, bring it right in. Except the Salvadoran customs officer told me I had too many visa stamps in my passport for the region. He said I would have to leave Honduras via Guatemala or Nicaragua to be allowed to enter El Salvador. Say what? How can this be? One, however, cannot argue with a customs officer. I turned around and returned home to La Paz. Thursday I took the TicaBus direct to Chinandega, Nicaragua. Spent the night and returned home yesterday with the proper out-of-region passport stamp good for 90 days. Tomorrow I again travel to El Salvador to have my Honda Hybrid serviced in San Miguel, El Salvador. I hope. If I am allowed to cross the border. One never knows.
¡Viva México! Queen country of the Americas. Cinco de Mayo is the day celebrating the Expulsion of the French from México in 1865 by the armies of the full-blooded Zapotec Indian President of México Benito Juarez. If the same thing had happened in 1519 when the murdering Spanish invaded México the history of the world would be much different today. Especially the history of the then nonexistent US. But alas, it was not to be. More’s the pity.
Man, it has been so hot the past week we were all craving a trip to the river. Some parts of the country have been at 104 degrees. It’s going to get worse. Honduras is closer to the equator and will heat up much more than the US, although the planet’s climate warming will worsen there also. The world’s glaciers are melting and nobody cares. I made an offer on a piece of land a couple of days ago where I intend to sink a well and build an underground house with solar panels on the roof and plant greenery all around, especially food. Next weekend I travel to El Salvador to have my Honda Hybrid serviced. When I return in a week I hope my permanent residency status has been settled. I’m still smiling.
This is my first selfie. My neck isn’t really that fat. I spoke with my friend’s cousin who works in the Honduras Immigration Department and she tells me my permanent residency status will be approved this week. We’ll see if I’m still smiling next week. Nonetheless I remain busy with the following projects: I. I have been transporting the children to an ophthalmology clinic in Comayagua a few at a time to establish a base in the kids’ individual medical records. Half a dozen have required glasses. II. My efforts at establishing an archaeological presence at the El Chircal pyramids continue with history classes at a local bilingual school. III. Learning that the country’s Honda dealership will not service my hybrid Honda I must travel to El Salvador for basic maintenance. IV. Next month I will be traveling to the Caribbean coast to visit my goddaughter who started colegio this year. V. Writing my memoir continues at a slow pace but I remain motivated.
Twenty of the 43 children enrolled in a local preschool program in La Paz were invited to splash in the Hogar San José’s wading pool today by Sister Edith for Semana Santa. I was unable to get pics of them in the pool because I went home and took a brief nap and returned after the chidren had eaten lunch, had tired of the pool and wanted to return home. Oh, well. Happy Easter everyone!
I learned yesterday that there was something very wrong with my application for permanent Honduran residency. A compañero of mine, whose nephew is in charge of the passport section at the Tegucigalpa Immigration Department, and I went there to inquire about a legal procedure submitted by my attorney that in May will be three years without resolution. Your file is “asleep” my friend’s nephew said after making a phone call, due to an absent local police clearance. But it was submitted with the initial request, I said. They expire after six months I was told. It appears my file has been “asleep”, along with my initiating attorney, for much longer than a year. The day was spent resubmitting a police clearance request and consulting with new attorneys for a submission of new reactivating documents to the proper governmental agency: the Dirección General de Migración Y Extranjería next Monday upon receipt of the local police clearance. We’ll see what happens next week.
I met the vigilante of the El Chircal ruinas at his home in Miravalle, an aldea situated on the zona arqueológica grounds proper a couple of miles off the main highway into La Paz. The village was founded in 1977 and is now a patronato of the Municipalidad de La Paz, the capital city of the Departamento of La Paz. Miravalle has a population of approximately 700 people and is situated on top of a complex of ancient monticulos, mounds under which lie buried unknown archaeological treasures that date back 6,000 years. The bottom left picture shows the backside of El Cerrito de David, the tallest monticulo at 25 meters high. The schematic drawing at bottom right details archaeological data and structures at the site located by a university team of US archaeologists in the 1980s. The aldea of Miravalle would be located on the upper left hand corner. And in fact the village men were hired to excavate the terrain for the academics. My meetings with the gentleman vigilante are just beginning. He is a fountain of memories and provided me with much information to study.
Six years ago today I arrived in Honduras; one of fifty Peace Corps Trainees leaving Washington DC at three in the morning I looked out the airplane window as its tires jounced onto the tarmac and taxied the short distance to Toncontín Airport, Tegucigalpa. My first thought was that the capital city looked much like México, land of my forefathers. Little did I know that my life would be changed forever. An adventure indeed. Besides helping with the development of the Fundación Señor San José, a home for at-risk children, I have integrated my daily life in tune with the desires and priorities of the citizens of La Paz, the community into which I have settled after completing my Peace Corps service. As I smooth out the edges of my remaining time on this planet my goal has remained constant. Assisting to help better the lives of children with few resources, my journey has led me to tackle the recognition and development of an archaeological treasure trove that has existed ten kilometers from where I live for 6,000 years. I will do that with lectures and field trips involving all the children of La Paz who have little idea of the ancient heritage lying literally at their feet.
I began my research into the El Chircal Zona Arqueológica located near the colonia of Yarumela, La Paz yesterday by meeting with the Director of the Museum Regional Centro IHAH in Comayagua as well as the Inspector de Sitios Arqueológicos. They were interested in the idea of site development and provided me with copies of the annual publication of YAXKIN circa 2001 and 2002 that document past excavations at various sites in Honduras by academics from UC Berkeley, Cornell University, Harvard, UCLA and others that have produced indigenous chronologies dating from 4,000 BCE. I will study the works of science in the days ahead as I begin contacting local authorities. It appears there has been conflict between officials of Miravalle, a caserío at the site of the pyramids, the colonia of Yarumela that also claims the pyramids, and the departmental administrative capital of La Paz: Politicians.