May 25, 2020
My last blog entry strayed away from my perceived notion of recounting the years, but I needed that as an up-lifting thing for my infant soul… it is cranky these days. I recounted stories from the 4th and 5th years of travels. Somewhere in the manic writing season Dr. B-Rad dropped a dime and a few words of wit on this Portal… cannot wait for another one of his rants. In truth I have been writing these posts for the last two weeks so that I could get B-Rad to vet them… correct my grammar… spelling and dyslectic incomplete thoughts. Big shout out to him for all his time spent on this as well… It has been an adventure trying to remember all these things, I hope no one feels left out if I have not mentioned you in a specific way. (At least not yet) It has always been a joy working together on these trips.
One… Two… Three… Four!
From our experiences of past trips, we soon realized that we needed to be more specific in what we would ‘prefer’ to do and make the arrangements… monetarily and talent… far enough in advance to ensure we had enough work to keep everyone busy during the trip.
We embarked on quite a large project at La Montanita that year. Remodeling an existing community building… Raising the roof on the block party! The team of veterans consisting of Jefe, Mater, Marco, B- Rad, Que pasa, Rogaine, Hondo and several rookie additions… Wanda AKA Quanda, Casey AKA KC and Kalin.
“They say there are strangers who threaten us
Our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness to danger us
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
That those who know what’s best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves
Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand”
Moving Pictures, 1980, Peart
Following my normal tract of ‘memories’ from this journey there were several significant events, places and events embedded to the ole noggin… again rather than rehash the ‘Construction Phase’ of the project… (I think those are still on the ‘new’ Federation blog site… you can research it for those Easter eggs). So I will let that dog lie on its own merit. It does bear mentioning that this was our 3rd trip to this region… A wonderful community to serve and in those trips, we have made several new friends along the way. One was a young man named Jose… I have a strong presumption that is a pretty ‘common’ name around those parts. He befriended the entire team on this trip. He was… maybe a little challenged in the mental facilities area and vertically as well… but man! Nothing stood in the way of Jose winning our hearts. He was bullied by his neighbors, they often they laughed at him… sometimes for no reason, but it did not faze him one ounce. If we needed some materials… such as block or mook from the Deathtrap 3000, he would literally come running to help us. To repay him for his efforts, we often packed extra food and always shared it with him. At the end of the trip we gathered at the school as the community wanted to express their gratitude to us for all the work we had done for them along the way… We had a plan ourselves… Once the community was done showering us with accolades, we called Jose up to join with us and presented him a gift… As Jose came forward to a resounding ‘soccer chant’, “Jose… Jose Jose Jose… Jose.” Presenting him with a national soccer jersey, which he put on immediately. For me, the most gratifying thing was… all the people in the community that came to honor ‘us’, especially those that mocked Jose saw that we ‘honored’ Jose. Our point was to show them that he was worthy, despite his limitations. Certainly, one of the many great highlights of the trip… but there were low points along the way.
Along came Molly… Jefe’s pet tapeworm seemed to have been agitated from the heat or excessive sunlight… Not sure that one is possible while ‘Shade Squatting” most of the day on the job site. The site of the infection drew great concern from many of the team and it was determined that we would take him to the local clinic for examination. Mater and I carried him into the ‘Women’s Clinic’. Eventually he was cleared for the injured reserve list… although there was some concern with the pap smear results.
Collectively as a group we had decided to start taking a ‘day off’ at some point during our trip(s). Sometimes we would visit a historical place such as the Mayan Ruins in Copan, or a side trip to the beach for the day… or exploring the water falls at Pulhapanzak. Some of the team ventured ‘behind’ the falls, some zip lined across the falls, others, such as me just sat in the cool of the shade… not shade squatting, that is only done when there is ‘work’ to be done. Being a collector of the oddities… I was on a side mission on this trip, to collect one bottle and one can of the four Honduran beers. While everyone was ‘playing’, I found a rare and old bottle of Salva Vida at the grill. Daniela said that it was at least 20 years old because the label was printed with ink, not the paper label type. I bartered with the attendant and settled on a price… bought the souvenir and checked a box. After everyone changed out of their wet clothes, we headed for a quaint restaurant nestled in the hills overlooking the largest inland body of water in Honduras.
Apparently, we had been targeted during our trip that day, while sitting in the restaurant our tour bus was broken into… all the personal items, effects, the iPod of DOOM, the substance of bogarting (Beef Jerky) and my bottle of beer were taken! Nothing makes you feel more violated than to be a victim of robbery! Not that I considered that bottle to be of more worth than anything else that was stolen, it is a matter of principal and a commandment; “Thou SHALL NOT steal.” Bummer day, but in the end we the team were safe and accounted for. The ride back to the compound was long and depressing… several people were on the phone contacting loved ones back home… making arrangements to ‘cancel’ credit cards and things of that nature! Ammm says the infant soul within. During that ride Maynor and Mario were extremely concerned that the bandits may be waiting for us along the route to finish collecting the rest of our personal belongings. Our resourceful driver took a long, less likely traveled route back to the Federation compound for our protection and safety. Lessons learned are often difficult and painful along the journey of life, but for sure it teaches you not to become complacent in life… for it will certainly come back to bite you at some point.
A DOOM-less second half of the trip was more depressing than the ear-splitting music than poured from B-Rads custom amp/speaker set up that he constructed over the years to provide, “maximum penetration” as he always touted. (Wisp of a smile for the infant soul on that one). No Doom, but still plenty of entertainment to go around… someone in the community allowed Casey to commandeer their dirt bike… Oh the madness… the fear in Jefe’s eyes… as Casey rode fearlessly and foolishly, never a dull moment with this group of Gringos. In the end it was a great adventure, yes there was a large hiccup along the way, but even at that, we have not been deterred nor scared away by that dark day on the hillside… maybe in and thru it all… it strengthened our resolve even more. Until we gather… via virtual or reality… Blessings.
Marco Francisco Valle Valle