Summer vacation is over. The new year classes begin next week. The children have been busy getting their blue and white uniforms ready for the first day, washing and ironing, laughing and gossiping. They look so cool all dressed up and will be heading to class to reunite with old friends and classmates and teachers. The largest group are all in primary school, 1st grade through 6th except for the four-year-old little movie star in dark glasses who begins preschool. The three oldest are in secondary school: 7th grade through high school. One in her sophomore year is still in her mountain aldea, Guajiquiro, and is due in this weekend, and there will also be two new additions this year. A 12-year-old and a 14-year-old for a total of six in colegio. These two new students we’ll meet later are also of modest means who would have little chance at an education if not for the Hogar San José.
Whenever there’s a presidential election like there was last November in Honduras the entire governmental civil service changes. My visa was extended for only 30 days Tuesday with an order for my attorney by the new administration to submit to the immigration department a statement of why my request for permanent residency has taken more than two years. What a joke seeing as how the inefficient government bureaucracy are the reason my request has been delayed for two and a half years. My attorney will have to provide in the next thirty days a valid justification with a current file as to why my legal request has not been approved by that same inefficient bureaucracy. Catch-22, anyone? Meanwhile I will continue doing what I have been doing for the past six years. Welcome to Honduras! Happy New Year!!
There I was, straddling the border between El Salvador and Honduras. The first clue that a storm was brewing occurred when I entered El Salvador on 4 January 2015. The Salvadoran immigration official told me I had to leave El Salvador by 7 January. Which was the date my Honduran visa expired. It was supposed to have been a week-long vacation at a turtle sanctuary on the Pacific coast with a 90-day renewal of my visa on my return to Honduras. I had a hotel booked at http://latortugaverde.com/ Instead it became a bureaucratic nightmare. “If you don’t leave El Salvador by 7 January you will be fined $150,” the official told me. After three days in a San Miguel hotel I returned to Honduras and was met at the border by a Honduran immigration official who questioned my multiple passport visa renewal entries as I have pursued my Honduran permanent residency over the past two and a half years with the assistance of an attorney. “I have lived in Honduras for 6 years,” I told the official. “What am I supposed to do? Stay here at the border?” He called his boss and gave me a 15-day extension of my visa. Monday I have to go to the immigration office in Tegus to explain my status in the country for the past six years with a valid passport and valid visa stamps working as a volunteer at the Hogar San Jose. Welcome to Honduras!