The Day of The Dead is celebrated in Méjico to remember family. We don’t grieve, we celebrate life. We celebrate remembrances of our departed ones, gathering to laugh and eat and sing. For three days Méjico celebrates. Viva Méjico! Viva Honduras!!
The response explosive, like putting a match to a firecracker, the children’s’ unanimous response confirmed the planning and staging of a Nativity play. I want to be the donkey! yelled out 11-year-old Milthon. After mass on Sunday, taking lunch during the Wonder Woman movie’s intermission, I introduced the subject. I, of course, will be the Director of our presentation. Yet, my main participation will be to channel and form the children’s native talents into a joint creative effort. They sing beautifully. Sister Edith plays guitar for the mass and also has a nice voice. A seamstress has volunteered to sew costumes, I have a carpenter friend for the stage constructions, a computer tech for the speakers and sound. I am so looking forward to this collaborative holiday spectacle. God bless the children.
I loved visiting with family in the Puget Sound area. Bonding with my daughters and their own families is the reason life goes on. Yet, there is no place like home, no matter how humble. On my return to my own space, my home, I quickly became absorbed into the activities of daily living attendant to a dynamic Home for children with whom I have grown up over the past few years. We have plunged into planning a Christmas pageant for which we have three months to prepare. It will be a collaborative effort, the goal being guiding their development of the pageant in their own words and actions. It will be an exercise in strengthening positive self-esteem. Having fun is happiness encapsulated as a dominant trait to guide growth.
The first three photos are from along the Skagit River. The bottom three are from higher in the Cascades. A good country in which to relax and read and write. I’ll be leaving for home soon; next Friday. The first three chapters of my book are now posted on my web page. Next week my completed synopsis will also be posted. I am eager to be home, there is much work awaiting.
My plane lifts off from Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa Wednesday morning. Fares are getting so expensive one can not fly to visit relatives very often. I told my daughters in the States that I would only be able to fly and see them every two years instead of once a year. This year I bought my ticket in three segments on three different airlines. From Tegus, I fly to Panama City. After a layover, I fly to San Francisco. After another layover, I fly to Seattle. Instead of a seven-hour flight, it will be a twenty two-hour flight. It, however, costs a third less. I will continue to work on my book while in the Puget Sound area. I just began chapter six. In addition, I have started writing the synopsis of my book. The synopsis is a critical portion of writing a book. If the synopsis stinks, no agent or editor or publisher will read the manuscript. Tomorrow I attend church with the children and Sister Edith and we watch a movie after lunch. Life is good. Adios.
The longing to see my nuclear family in the States has grown strong. I will be flying into Washington State in three or four weeks. From there, I will continue to post until I return to my home in Honduras in September. Chapter Three of my book will be posted in August. My goal is to post a new chapter every month. If I stick to that schedule, I should complete the project by next spring. My commitment to the children of the Fundación Señor San José also never wavers. While in Seattle I have appointments to see my Veterans Hospital primary care physician for my annual checkup and my surgical orthopedist, the doc who operated on my elbow six years ago: another surgery is possible. Also on my schedule is a visit to the University of Washington to investigate a possible travel abroad connection for a Udub graduate student to the Children’s Home. Life is good.
My goddaughter Yelsy, in pink, enjoyed her visit to the Hogar San José very much. I took her and three other Fundación young ladies to the Museum of Anthropology and History in Comayagua where they were exposed to the history of their country dating back 9,000 years BCE to the first resident human beings. That large bone in the center pic is a mastodon tusk. After a great lunch at the Mall Premier, we drove over to the National University where we walked through the large, tree-shaded campus filled with university students. We located the Registrar’s Office in the main library and were provided with course materials. Yelsy immediately began reading over the many courses in the many career paths available to students. She told me later a dream of hers was to study for a doctorate. When I heard that my heart swelled with pride.
I met Yelsy after I had been assigned to La Masica on Honduras’ North Coast for two years upon completing Peace Corps Trainee training on May 15, 2009. She was in kindergarten, an abandoned child living with her great-grandmother in the tool shed of the elementary school where she was a student. Her abuela (grandma), an illiterate woman who did odd jobs for the owner of the house where I lived temporarily, wanted to pull her out of school. Please don’t, I pleaded, she makes excellent grades. She is a very bright child, I insisted. Yelsy would be graduating from kindergarten and asked me to be her Padrino. Yes, I said. Then I was transferred to La Paz after three months. I promised Yelsy and her grandma that I would help her with her school needs if she stayed in school and continued to make good grades. Yelsy has lived up to her end of the bargain. She is now 15 years old, in 9th grade in high school. All her grades have been above 90%. Next week is Day of the Student in Honduras. I am here in La Ceiba and will pick her up in the morning, along with two chaperones, and drive them to La Paz to meet Sister Edith and the children of the Hogar San Jose. There is a university near La Paz I want her to see. She would be welcome to live at the Children’s Home if she decides to pursue her education. The first chapter of my book, posted above, describes, in brief, my life in La Masica as a Peace Corps Volunteer in those early days.
Thinking, Reading, Studying, Writing. Since setting up my writing routine, my life has been dedicated to a daily production of words based on these four required principles. Every morning after breakfast I sit and join with the page before me for two to three hours. I enter a different consciousness as I select the right word, the right phrase, the right paragraph. Yet everything I write will be rewritten, edited and rewritten again as the thought processes coalesce to aim for an eventual whole. Every writer has their own method for creating something original and new. This is mine that will take me probably until next year. My book, ‘Met the Nun: Lost my Heart’ has the rough first chapter posted on this web page. I am waiting for my daughter to post the rewritten first chapter while I work on the third chapter. The second chapter is in rough awaiting her editing skills.
When I tell friends and family the title of the book I’m writing, they invariably reach the wrong conclusion. The children, I say. For more than eight years the children of the Fundación Señor San José have been my focus. The book I am writing is a biographical memoir elucidating on my experiences helping the growth of the amazing home for at-risk children Sister Edith initiated in 2006, three years before I arrived in Honduras as a Peace Corps Volunteer Trainee. I subsequently decided to remain in Honduras after my two-year tour of duty. I’m still here, and I’m writing. With my equally amazing computer tech daughter Andrea’s help I will be posting, chapter by chapter, as I sweep the cobwebs from my brain, sharing my remembrances. Join me on my web page for an unforgettable journey. A genuine Peace Corps adventure.