Thursday was our free day. We had a great breakfast of ham and egg sandwiches, and walked up to the bus. We loaded and set off for a town called “Valley of the Angels”. Team members who had been there before described it as a “Gatlinburg-type town” in the mountains and full of shops designed for tourists.
Although I’m not sure that going through Tegucigalpa is necessary to get there, we went straight through the heart of the city. I think we were giving a ride to one of the bus driver’s friends. The experience was both interesting and hair-raising. It was interesting to see the variety of shops and the bustle of the inner city. It was hair-raising to take that great big school bus down those crowded narrow streets! Many cars were parked on the curb, the streets were curvy, and a couple of times I wondered if we would be able to pass without hitting a pedestrian or a car! But, our driver was both skilled and patient, and we made it through the city and on to Valley of the Angels without incident.
Once we arrived the team scattered in different directions armed only with a time and place to meet for lunch. Some of the shops were like the antique malls in the States with multiple areas of a very large building sectioned off for different vendor’s handicrafts. Leather goods, jewelry, wood carvings, clothing, ceramics, paintings, t-shirts and even furniture were all creatively displayed. Other shops were tiny, offering only a limited variety of goods tucked into every nook and cranny – most handmade in China! Still other shops featured the artisans inside the shop hard at work on the very goods they sold there in store. Knowing you were buying the “real thing” was rewarding.
We met at the “Restaurant Don Juan” for lunch. Dr Ponce reserved the covered roof-top dining room for us to dine. This restaurant served their food family style. We savored rice, beans (of course!), avocado, cheese, tortillas, and roasted beef, chicken, pork and pork ribs. It was all delicious. A cool, light rain fell briefly while we ate, but stopped by the time we were ready to continue our shopping.
Not everyone shopped. Some found the Café Americano and just relaxed, sipped hot coffee and ate cookies. Regardless of the activity, everyone agreed it was a good day.
On our way back to Cofradia we got into traffic-jam caused by an accident so were arrived about an hour later than expected. After dinner, the group gathered, once again, in the chapel to remember the week through pictures and to enjoy a hilarious multi-verse “Ode to Cofradia” written and performed by Margaret and Michelle G.
Humor sustained us all throughout the week. Here are a couple of examples. Perhaps they will not seem funny to you if you were not with us, but just ask a team member how hard we laughed at the time!
Early in the week Doug E reported that, so far, 4 different countries had accessed the blog. When asked which countries he replied “United States, Germany, Argentina, and ….I can’t remember the other.” Without missing a beat, Laine (OR) yelled “Alabama!”
(Warning: the following story carries a rating of PG)
In Spanish, as in English, many words are similar, with only a letter difference, or, a difference in the way you pronounce them, as in lead and lead. Similarly, in Spanish, the word for pineapple and the word for a certain part of the male anatomy are very similar and easy to confuse.
One of our female medical providers consulted with an older gentleman who came to her station. Her interpreter had left for a moment to assist another medical provider. Feeling fairly confident with her medical Spanish, she proceeded to talk to the gentleman and give him a general examination. After he shared with her a litany of items that was wrong with him, he said he had pain in his lower abdomen. Suspecting a urinary tract infection, she asked him if it hurt him when he went to the bathroom - using the word for his male organ.
However, what she inadvertently asked him was, “Does your pineapple hurt when you use the bathroom?” At first she couldn’t understand why he looked down at himself, looked at her with such an odd look on his face, and then said, “…uh...no.” When she realized what she had said, she quickly corrected her Spanish and proceeded to treat him. Later, she told the story to a few friends in the group and it quickly spread to the rest of the team. When we were served pineapple for breakfast the next morning, we all had another good laugh
Now, we are travelling home. Those that were sick are feeling better today, though all of us are ready to be home to take a hot shower, sleep in our own beds, and use our own bathrooms!
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement while we were away. Knowing you were caring for stuff back home made it possible for us to serve in Honduras without worry. And, knowing you were praying for our safety, health and effectiveness made all the difference in the world.
¡Via con Dios! ¡Dios le bendiga! ¡Este es el dia que hizo El Senor! (roughly, Go with God. God bless you. This is the day the Lord has made!)