A picture is worth a thousand words. This is where my friend Celeste and I go Sundays after church to minister to several children. Weekly catechism and also movies and popcorn.
That’s my garden above. It’s growing. And so am I. But I want to talk about Jerusalem. La Paz is situated on sloping hills that rise up gradually to high mountains from the Comayagua Valley floor. On its upper outskirts, on steep hillsides and arroyos, rock-impregnated dirt streets meander among simple adobe and concrete-block homes of many poor people: what most westerners would call classic third-world conditions. Donkeys, cows, pigs and chickens roam free and few folks own a vehicle. I have been accompanying my friend Celeste on Sunday mornings after church and sitting in as she teaches catechism classes to several children. They’re preparing for their First Communion. I was, however, struck by an epiphany last Sunday. I have volunteered with Sister Edith’s Fundación for at-risk children for the past seven years and helped to raise their level of existence. At Celeste’s side I have melded into the poverty-stricken Barrio Jerusalén at its most basic level. For now, I will devote my energies to these poor children and their families. My heart breaks every time I walk into Jerusalem.
Bureaucratic intransigence in a third-world country is quite like bureaucratic intransigence in a supposedly first-world country. My US archaeology professor resource-person has counseled me to seek Honduran university professors in order to iniciate further study of local ancient sites due to the country’s violence-prone reputation preventing foreign experts from becoming involved. My contact with these local academics, however, reveals a lack of money to pursue the most basic efforts. Instead, officials want me to reveal my sources in order to hunt down illegal possession of artifacts and possibly confiscate the ancient objects. In Honduras, excavating antiquities is prohibited, even on private property. The populace has no confidence in government officials: they avoid them like the plague.