The alarm needled us awake at 2:30 a.m., signaling the beginning of our long anticipated trip to
Honduras. This would be my daughter's and my first trip to Latin America, and we weren't going as tourists.
Reveille United Methodist Church is sending 15 members and one nurse from North Carolina who was looking for a group to join. Five of us brought our teenaged children. Six are repeat missioners, five are medical professionals, one is a medical student, five speak conversational Spanish, one has had translation experience, and the rest of us have no particular qualifications except a desire to serve the people of Honduras. I am sure we will pick up a skill or two along the way, and will each see God at work in each other and in the Honduran people. This is the first mission trip for one of our members.
The extreme heat and humidity in Richmond the past few days has given us a taste of what it will feel like 1,600 miles closer to the equator! We have had cooling breezes since arriving on Sunday and it hasn't seemed too oppressive. In fact, it's been quite mild, and actually felt warmer in the mountains.
Sunday morning we were afforded the luxury of an extra hour of sleep and after a bountiful breakfast, we were taken to Finca Santa Martha--a chocolate farm. Honduras has recognized that its superior coffee growing climate and rich soil is also suitable for chocolate. Carla gave us a tour of the farm, where we saw greenhouse plants and flowers growing in their natural habitat and climbed through the richly green forest of cacao trees to a spectacular star shaped mesa. We were surrounded by mountains on all sides. We then sampled cacao products made by hand using authentic methods--Cocoa, tea, wine. Delicious!
When we returned to Alfredo House, we set to work packing boxes with medications, supplies and donations to take to the village. We packed the rear third of the bus with boxes, totes and duffels to last the week.
"I think I can. I think I can,'" said the Friends of Barnabas bus as it hauled us up the mountain on Monday morning, careening over deeply washed out roads and through three streams--one of which was a river--or at least a really big creek! Dale Earnhart, Jr. has nothing on Marco when it comes to driving. Marco's skill is unreal. He maneuvered the cranky bus expertly through tight streets and around all manner of animals wandering the villages. For all the abuse these mountains heap on that bus, I thank the mechanic who keeps it running.
Monday morning, we set off to Santa Barbara--a village of 500--about 80 families--one and three quarters of an hour up the mountain. We treated 261 people in the general clinic, did 21 tooth extractions, and saw dozens more in the other clinics.
We had an accident where a car ran over our scale. We will borrow one for Tuesday and have a new one for Wednesday. We've seen a great deal of malnutrition today and being able to weigh the children is important for med dosing. We also experienced our first power outage tonight, only adding to the authentic Honduran experience!
We invite you to follow along with us on our adventures in Honduras, serving the children, their families, and each other during our mission week. Thank you to everyone who helped get us here, and we hope you’ll pray for us this week. Thanks for being part of our team!