A hamburger has to have pickles, tomato, lettuce, onion, cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, meat and a hamburger bun, which is what we feasted on last Saturday at the Hogar San Jose. The kids had their first cheeseburgers ever with Lays Potato Chips and they loved them. My friend Patrick, posted at San Marcos, Santa Barbara, had stopped for the night on his way to Tegus from where he would ship out after having finished his two-year tour and I put him to work cooking hamburgers. He’s tall as a pine tree, very Anglo-looking, and dressed in a bright green T-shirt and bright yellow pants he kind of reminded me of a hamburger himself. The kids loved him. Afterward we sat around and ate watermelon, the kids commenting on the technique of eating hamburgers that I taught them. Grab the burger with both hands, open mouth wide, bite! And enjoy!
We worked our butts off, the aspirantes (trainees) and I, last Saturday. From the bottom right the pic shows the tejas (tiles) in the distance that we moved that morning. Past the shower/bathroom around the patio to an empty corner room where Evan, Katy and Anastasia and I hand-carried the tejas for temporary storage while construction continues. Outside the storage area the workers continued the rebuilding across from the patio where they had already constructed the tarima (platform visible in the last two upper left pics) for the water tanks that will be installed in a couple of weeks; the tarima just visible in the bottom right pic from where we moved the tejas. The aspirantes volunteer their labor every Saturday morning. They finish their capacitacion (Field Based Training) in La Paz on May 7th, after which they will be sworn in by the U.S. Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa as Peace Corps Volunteers and sent to posts all across the country.
My friend, Nick Wobbrock, is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who has made a tremendous impact in Honduras. I am in La Paz because of him. The month before he left last May, he introduced me to Sister Edith and the children of the Hogar San Jose who had been forced from their original home because the alcaldia wanted to establish a museum on the property, which never happened. They had no other place to go except the abandoned property that had been used as the neighborhood dump for 30 years. The night I went there with Nick he asked if I could help. Hey Nick, check out the fence around the patio; check out the canaletas being soldered together for the platforms that will support the water purification tanks so the kids can have potable water to drink; check out eight-month-old Maria Jose who is wearing her first pair of shoes. We have only just begun. Thank you and your family for your help.
A year ago I walked the 12 stations of the cross around the city beginning at 8AM and finishing around noon with my host mother. I had never noticed before but there are actually 12 stations placed at strategic points around the city in a large square comprising several city blocks of the downtown area. On Good Friday thousands of citizens led by the parish priests and acolytes form a procession and begin at the church steps to commence a march with a stop before each station of the cross where the procession stops to pray (please see my entry from April 2009 for pics). It was unbearably HOT a year ago so I decided to wait until the procession came to an end in front of the church this year to take pics. I was too late. The procession had just ended when I arrived at the church. The photos, consequently, are of the clean-up after thousands of people had already walked over the dozens of alfombras that are carefully constructed by legions of believers the day before. The alfombras are constructed over several hours using brightly colored sawdust, much like Tibetan or Hopi sand paintings. And like the former, their existence is transitory. As is our own existence on earth.