After eight days in La Ceiba and La Masica I decided to stop in Tela for a night on my way home to La Paz. I stayed four days. Tela is a favorite of mine with its clean, sandy white beaches and my excellent hotel room looking out over the water hearing the waves rushing in day and night made it an irresistible detour. And as always, seafood, seafood, seafood. Irresistible indeed.
It is always a heart-warming experience for me to return to La Masica where I lived for three months in 2009 and made many friends. In the above far left corner is the bloodthirsty porton that attacked me three months ago. It may not look large but it weighs a ton. When I arrived to visit Yelsi, my god-daughter, it by coincidence was near the day the new pool was to be inaugurated at the Ramon Rosa school where I hurt my leg. My contraparte from five years ago, the school’s director, invited Yelsi and me to attend (Yelsi used to be a student there but when her caregiver died she moved to another municipio) It was Valentines Day. Appropriately a labor of love for my dear friend the directora. It is the only public elementary school in Honduras to have a piscina (swimming pool).
Exactly three months ago today a heavy metal porton (gate) fell on my left leg at La Masica. I had gone there from La Ceiba to visit my former contraparte who is director of an elementary school, and to visit other friends. There was no bone fracture but there was considerable damage to muscle tissue and ligaments. I wore an ace bandage for two months and I am now 95% back to normal. So I will be returning to La Ceiba next Saturday to finish my vacation and visit the two very poor young ladies whom I help with their school expenses. Yelsi is starting the 5th grade and Iris the 7th. One big difference will be my mode of transportation. This will be my first long excursion driving in Honduras, to La Ceiba from La Paz. A five-hour trip in my own 1989 Chevy step-side pickup truck. If I remember I will take a picture of the offending porton that felled my previous journey.
Leaving the old run-down Hogar San José behind in four days will also result in so many poignant memories remaining behind as well. My students’ have been practicing their presentation to the new building’s inauguration audience for the past two weeks. It will be an all-star event: the old and new municipal alcaldes will be there, television coverage, leading community members and other luminaries. The children are so excited. They are eager and well-prepared and I am so proud of them. They will be speaking English; the English I have taught them and will continue to teach them. I am so privileged to be allowed to be here for them. They inspire me. Gracias, niñas, por darme vida.
The last time I saw Jonas was 9 February 2011, the night I broke my right elbow in La Paz. Wednesday evenings I had an English class back then with five adults at Dr L’s house that lasted until 7:30 pm or so. Jonas was a foreign exchange student boarding at Dr L’s for a year. We had our weekly English conversation and reading class and would have a great time laughing and exploring new ideas. Jonas is from Germany and like most European students is multi-lingual. He spoke German, of course, English, Spanish and is now learning Georgian. He flew to Honduras to visit with Dr L and her family from Tbilisi, Georgia (a former Soviet Socialist Republic) where he is posted as a Volunteer until next August and we met for breakfast. I have met many foreign exchange students and other country’s Volunteers in La Paz from Germany, Belgium, Holland, Japan, Cuba and, from Canada, my good friend Bob, who recently obtained work in Costa Rica and who I am going to visit soon. I wasn’t able to visit with Jonas the night before he left the country. He and Dr L had just returned from El Salvador where they spent the holiday with Dr L’s daughter. I was invited to dinner but my bum leg had been hurting more than usual. Yup, still a problem. I told Jonas on the phone I would dedicate a web note to him. So: to Jonas! Saludos, Amigo!! My fellow world citizen, I admire your commitment and dedication to the betterment of Humanity!!! Mucha suerte en su vida siempre. Live long and prosper.
The difference between this year’s Navidad holiday and next year’s-to-be seems like it will be similar to stepping from one world into another. Each of the children this year received a gift, which they will next year as well. In terms of quantity of good nutritious food to eat everyone glowed, as they will next year. In terms of love and joy experienced, next year will be a continuance of our existence and future. In short, our spiritual happiness knows no boundaries. We are the Hogar San José!
Gheckos are endemic to Honduras and probably to most tropical countries. These little guys hang around my window screen every night and eat the bugs attracted to the light while I work on my computer. The many bugs are also endemic to La Paz. The gheckos visit every night because they live in the building’s infrastructure. These two just fought over a bug and are staring each other down. As little as they are they can get quite ferocious, especially when fighting over a female.
In Hispanic America, which includes the entire Western Hemisphere, killing the christmas pig is a family affair. We will be enjoying tamales and chicharrones and pork meat aplenty this year around a roaring fire, laughter, camaraderie and love. So many pleasant memories from my own California childhood transferred to my Honduran family. I am grateful.
Tata Madiba has died.
Chef and owner of Dominique’s on Magazine, who served Tata his first meal following Tata’s release after 27 years as a political prisoner of the criminal racist apartheid South African regime.