Just when you think the worse is over: it gets worse. Before I left for my annual family visit to the States, the faux Christian evangelical group, Orphans Outreach, canceled their humanitarian financial donation to the Children’s Home. They arrived on Sister Edith’s doorstep 6 years ago and made her many promises. I deduced right away that the evangelicals were running a money-making scam. The product they were selling the northern gringos was the children. Their webpage on Google offered a week of guided activities exposed to the barbarian poverty-stricken children of a third-world country for $1,725 per person (not including transportation). The group is active in half a dozen countries. After Sister Edith learned that the group was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and reluctantly giving the children the crumbs off the cake while keeping the rest, she kicked them out. They, of course, took their meager monthly food money contribution and removed their donated gifts before they left. A Christian organization, right? – – After I returned from my month-long odyssey, I learned that the Home’s water well pump had stopped working the week before and had no water. The well is 90 meters deep. A home supporting 25 children has to have a reliable water source. Now they have no financial support and no available water. My old truck and I transport 250 gallons of water every two days for home use like cooking and bathing and toilet flushing. And the children wash their clothes at the nearby river.
Today I Had a surgical procedure done at the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center. Dr. Douglas Hanel is my orthopedic surgeon. My fractured arm continues to bother me. Today, my friend Celeste notified me that her 2-month old nephew died from complications of hemophilia. I survived my surgery, Adonis lost his battle for life at a tender age. That ancient rock behind me in the pic is huuge on the other side of a half-mile wide chasm, at the deep bottom of which a meandering brook winds its way through a forest of quaking aspen. Life and death are intertwined. Sometimes the old survive, and the young die. I love the mountains where nature settles its timeless battles without fanfare. Live life as if it were your last day on the planet.
Life is often a maelstrom of exigencies clamoring for attention. Traveling is like that. Ergot the preparations for my trip to Seattle next month. The daily care of my growing garden is of prime importance. Having keys made for the lady providing that care to enter my yard, scheduling a teeth-cleaning appointment, maintenance for my ailing Chevy pickup, consulting with my attorney concerning placing a lien against the property of the sleazy lawyer who owes me money and refuses to pay, dealing with my English class at the Childen’s Home, long distance scheduling of my annual MD visits with my surgical orthopedist, my eye doc, and my primary care physician at the Seattle VA Hospital. So much to do, so little time. A word about dental care in Latin America, the reason why so many gringos travel south to see a dentist. In Honduras, a teeth-cleaning appointment costs $25. As does a filling. My one tooth implant, a six-month procedure, cost me $1,700. I am eager to spend a month with my family in the Seattle area. Yet, at the end of that month, I will be happy to return to my home in paradise.
From a total wreck, the busito has been repaired and is ready to return home. After the accident six months ago, I thought the poor thing would never run again. The vehicle looked like a crushed tin can (see January posting). But here it is, as good as new. Both boys in the pic, Anael, and Oscar, were injured in the accident. They showed me where they had been sitting that fateful day on that steep, rainy, slippery dirt mountain road, a deep abyss on either side. None of the 15 people riding in the busito, kids, and adults, suffered severe injuries. The repair job cost $5,000 but there is still money owed before it will be released to the Children’s Home. I realize very few people read this web page, however, if by some miracle some generous benefactor who is reading this page has $1,000 to spare, it would be more than welcome. Gracias.
Many of the children at the Home are ill with runny noses, coughing, fever, etc. Two dozen persons living in close proximity tend to perpetuate the Upper Respiratory Inflammation symptoms. One, our daughter with the fractured mandible in the January auto accident, Celia, will be spending the week with her new adoptive parents in Tegucigalpa. The Texas family, finally, after six years of bureaucratic buffoonery will be finalizing the documents and returning for her in a couple of months. Yesterday, after church, Celia was telling me of her cough symptoms accompanied by the new resident, they’re the same age and have become fast friends. The new girl piped up and said when she was sick with a cough, her mother would give her raton. Raton, I said. A mouse? Yes, she said. You mean you would eat a mouse? Yes. Cooked? Yes. Your mother would skin it? Yes, and cook it and I would eat it. Would it make your cough go away? Yes. There you go, Celia. You have to go catch a mouse.
In my book, I relate the case of a woman who had her first child at the age of 13. I can’t remember if the reference appears in one of the three posted chapters on this web page, or in chapters 4, 5, or 6 that are not posted. In any case, the two male children were 3 and 1 year old. She abandoned the two boys before her husband was released from prison. The Court had awarded custody of the youngsters to Sister Edith. The husband, a drug addict, was eventually killed but not before the woman bore him two daughters. As fate would have it, the woman returned to the Children’s Home with the two little girls. Last week she abandoned them also, ages 3 and 1. Their brothers are now 11 and 9. Last week the Home also accepted a 13-year-old girl, also abandoned, when the grandmother who raised her died. The girl’s biological mother threatened to kill her daughter if the State tried to place the young lady in her custody. On occasion, I have thought of leaving Honduras, but I can’t. Sister Edith once told me: God has sent you to us, to the children. Every day I pray for guidance.
The majority of vehicles in Honduras are Japanese. On the roadways are seen occasional cars from Germany, Korea, and trucks from India. The US of Norteamerica is usually represented by a few Ford and Chevrolet cars and pickups. Honduran citizens must attend formal driving classes to qualify for a drivers license. They must pass a written test and drive a vehicle accompanied by an instructor. There are separate classes and licenses for those driving commercial vehicles and automobiles and motorcycles. When driving the country’s highways one must understand that there are no traffic police or patrolmen. It is strictly driving on the honor system. There are, consequently, many idiots who speed, drive recklessly, tailgate, cut in front of other vehicles and basically ignore the rules and reglations they were taught in driving class. In addition wandering cows and horses can be a danger to vehicular raffic, especially at night. Driving on Honduras’ highways is somewhat like the wild west. Always assume the other drivers on the road are stupid with a machismo attitude that makes them a threat and a danger to life. And I have not even mentioned the bastids who are armed.
I hear the haunting coo of the mourning doves in the trees this early misty morning and remember six years ago. May 23rd, the day my grandson, Army Ranger 2Lt Travis Alan Morgado was killed in Afghanistan as he led his platoon on a mountain patrol. Our foreign military is now there. Where Alexander the Great and his army were vanquished by Afghan patriots defending their homeland more than 2,000 years ago. As was the British army a couple of centuries ago. And the Russian army in the last century. Those who ignore the lessons of history are certain to repeat them. The army of the US of Norte America is still there after a couple of decades. People continue to be killed in the name of misguided patriotism. My grandson was a gifted civil engineer. What a terrible loss. I miss him greatly.