Arrival in Honduras
Yesterday was a flurry of activity. I always think I will be more organized and less frantic but it seems that time gets away from me—or perhaps I have an exaggerated sense of what I can do. My garden needed some attention and so I pulled up the drying pea vines, picked green beans, watered the tomatoes, and planted okra. The tractor did not start and so I could not mow although the grass was certainly high enough. Mid-day was very hot and I was not unhappy to tackle the task of selecting some bilingual children’s books.
The alarm was set for 3; my bags were packed, my laptop backed up, the bills paid, and I was as ready as I was going to be. A full orange moon slung in a hammock of clouds pointed the way to the airport this morning. But then I had to find a parking spot for my F250. Like airplane seats, parking spots have shrunk.
The airport is a beehive of activity; the porters blow their whistles and point to parking spaces for vehicles arriving with passengers and luggage; people hurry across pulling small suitcases and large ones; families hug and kiss goodbye; a tiny elderly blind woman wearing a bowler hat and long dark skirt was led by her granddaughter into the building. Inside is all about lines—lines to check luggage, lines to check tickets, lines to clear security. I meet up with my fellow travelers and claim my duffle bag of medications. We stand in the group check-in where people are amazingly good spirited.
The flight was full and the catering truck ran into the back of the airplane so we had to wait for maintenance to affirm the aircraft was safe for flight. I sat next to a native Honduran who worked in Norway; we chatted about both countries at some length, both being quite grateful to have a totally uneventful landing in Tegucigalpa.
Honduras is quite concerned about swine flu as we were met by masked nurses handing out questionnaires about our health. Then we had our photos/temperature taken before we could enter the customs area. The line was very long and it was very hot. Our bus with Hector our driver is waiting for us and all of our luggage is piled in and we head to El Centro Kellogg in Zamarano.
The drive is quite pleasant, the flame trees are in full bloom, hundreds of mangos droop from incredibly huge trees, and there are few clouds dancing over the tops of the mountains. It is the beginning of the rainy season and everything looks lush. Part of the road has eroded away and we carefully maneuver around using the shoulder on the other side. This is the PanAmerican highway which connects fourteen countries and is the main highway. The mountain will have to be carved away for the new road to be made.
Much planning goes into these trips but still there is more to do upon our arrival. The duffle bags must be sorted into daily bags as we break up into two medical teams and set up our makeshift clinic in distant locations. The dental team has equipment; chairs, generators, compressors stored in a large container here; all of it must be retrieved. The pickup trucks are packed to overflowing and we think we have all in readiness for tomorrow’s work.
Supper arrives on a golf cart in the lobby.
There is something about a piece of fruit that is picked nearly ripe and eaten within hours. Our supper tonight was a sandwich, potato salad, juice and a mango. The sandwich was quite tasty was made with three slices of bread and still warm shredded chicken combined with some sort of relish. I passed on the potato salad but dug into the mango. It was perfectly ripe, a bit hard to cut through its skin with a plastic knife but I ate every bit of it with juice running down my face and covering my hands. I had to stand outside the lady’s room and wait for someone to come out so I could go in and wash my hands. mango.
We sit and chat; someone has bought some wine and a few others watch a basketball game. I’m tired and head off to my room.
Tomorrow will be a long day.
More photos are at smugmug at: http://ysr612.smugmug.com/gallery/8621617_uyEY2#568795505_fFqfr