Monthly Archives: October 2010

Baptism And Kids Change Lives


Asked to stand as padrino (godfather) for the baptism of five abandoned children who live at the Hogar San Jose, I said ‘yes.’  My experience with the medical brigade had fizzled for a number of reasons, one of which was that I got sick.  I am only now regaining my voice.  So, in a croaky whisper I told Sor Edith that yes I would be happy to sponsor the children: she would be godmother.  The majority of the children’s baptismal pictures are taken in Edith’s element; the church.  The children were so happy and excited to be baptized, all dressed up and being the central part of the church’s ancient rites.  I was raised a Catholic but years of studying the history of centuries-long realities of religious warfare, lies, corruption and hypocrisy have made me a confirmed atheist.  That, however, does not stop me from respecting the spiritual beliefs of others, whether they be muslim, buddhist, animist, quaker, hindu, christian, or whatever motivates the beholder to believe in a spiritual savior.  That is their business, just as my beliefs are my business.  When I attended the mandatory three-hour orientation for parents (no parents for our kids) and padrinos Friday night I relived the mysteries of the church that were imbued in my own childhood rife with ignorance.  No matter, everyone in attendance, some 120, believed fervently in their religion.  I participated with their joy.  But knowing what I know of the world and of the history of mankind and our evolution, I could only wonder at the tremendous supernatural effort successfully perpetrated by the church on so many people over the centuries.  Political parties could learn from that deep and thorough soul-grasping indoctrination; perhaps they have.  Nonetheless, Saturday morning was a stimulating experience that unfolded seamlessly as a 2,000-year-old pageant little changed over the centuries.  And today I enjoyed participating in the ritual and I will do my best to help these children progress along a spiritual path of their choosing, whatever it may turn out to be.

Harvest Moon

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the full moon.  Back home it’s cool in the evenings, even cold standing there looking up at the autumn sky, shivering, watching that beautiful full moon inch its way across the starry blackness.  The summer crops in the surrounding fields have been harvested, everyone waiting expectantly for winter snow and the holiday season.  Here in tropical Honduras there are only two seasons:  summer and winter.  The rainy period ended on October 9th.  It rained every day from May until October ninth.  But in my new life, tomorrow I’m invited to a “Full Moon” party at the doctor’s house with whom I work.  The six new Cuban doctors will be there, as well as other friends with whom I share life in my community.  We’re building a fogata, a huge bonfire to celebrate the beginning of the end of the year.  Sunday morning I’ll be joining the 80-strong Virginia Hospital Center Medical Brigade in Comayagua about half an hour away from La Paz to participate in a week-long medical intervention for citizens unable to pay the cost of medical treatments and surgery, somewhat like in the States, a supposedly First World country, with their lack of medical care for their own many poor unfortunate citizens unable to pay for basic preventative health care.  I will post pics of my adventure when I return on Halloween: the Day of the Dead in Latin America, an ancient annual celebration of life honoring those gone to the other side. 

Differences 10-10-10


Last week in Tegucigalpa I noticed for the hundreth time how shabby the capital city looks.  When I was in Guatemala City last June I couldn’t help but notice the difference as I cruised through their wide, clean European-style boulevards on the way to the airport.  Many sidewalks in Tegus are broken and in wide disrepair so much that one has to walk looking down so as not to trip or fall into a hole (which I have done) and to avoid stepping into a pile of garbage.  Not every street, of course, but most, and some in even worse repair.  I have seen poorly kept streets in many cities in Europe, Latin America and the US where I have traveled, but I’m sad to say none on the scale of Tegucigalpa.  Even the taxi drivers who by memory drive me through the teeming city warren absent of street signs comment on the disrepair and tell me it’s the fault of corrupt politicians.  Yet the city continues to exert a metropolitan aura that pulls in the citizenry in spite of its plight.  On the other hand, the country’s building practices are better than any I have seen in the States.  I have never seen linoleum on a floor in Honduras, nor plastic shower stalls, or the flimsy plaster board of which most US homes are constructed.  Here concrete block and brick are used to construct homes and real tile to floor those houses.  My kitchen, bathrooms and floors are completely tiled, as are most homes in the country (I’m not a very good housekeeper, sorry).  Finally, I include a couple of pics of my Saturday morning English class; from which two of my students are missing but will be included in future postings.  Stay tuned….