We actually woke up a little early the next morning and I took a shower. The hot and cold handles were switched, but we didn’t know that at the time. My shower ended up being luke warm, but very nice , then headed down to breakfast. They had trays of fruit with bananas and watermelon for us. They served us wonderful, strong Honduran coffee and orange juice that I think was really Tang. We had pancakes, fruit (the watermelon wasn’t as sweet as the ones in Georgia) and white bread. We also had a mixture of fruit that we could snack on, if that wasn’t enough. I ate the pancakes without syrup because they were so good. We also wondered about the syrup, so it was nice that the pancakes were good. Today, Bob named a new princess and Helen received that honor.
We put our overnight bags on the bus, then proceeded for a nice little walk through Jutecalpa towards the city center where they were having mass in the cathedral. We walked through the park, which is the center of town and enjoyed the sight of a very old bougainvillea. They had built an arbor under the limbs of the tree to support the huge branches, which I thought was brilliant. We then walked to the cathedral and sat down in a pew to marvel at the simple beauty of the building and the people who had come to worship. Dogs wandered in and out of the cathedral, sat in the middle of the aisle and scratched and licked themselves. THe worshippers were oblivious. The service started at exactly 9:00 and we watched the beginning of the service. They began with song that had a distinctly latin timbre to it, which was surprising, but shouldn’t have been. We proceeded to the bus and loaded up, counting off to 38. We were taken to a super mercado, where we bought snacks and water. I also bought some Honduran coffee. One very large water, 4 pounds of coffee and a fig newton type of snack food (actually it was pineapple) cost me 75 limpira (I got change back from $4.00). Two waters at the airport in Tegucigalpa cost me $4.00. The coffee is in a paper bag that is stapled closed. There is a expiration date on it of July, so I will have to drink it very fast. 🙂 We loaded up to make the 3 hour trip to the Agalpa Valley. We drove down dirt roads the rest of the way in and we began to climb into the mountains. I thought the dirt roads seemed very well maintained, but they were unbelievably dusty. Sometimes you could not see at all and the bus driver, Juan Carlos, had to slow to a crawl. By the way, I forgot to mention that Juan Carlos drives that bus like a sports car and I mean it as a compliment. He can take that thing anywhere, I believe. It was a very bumpy road and we did have one stretch of semi-paved road and strangely enough, we saw a wreck in this area. A car had plummeted off the side of the mountain and a logging truck was pulling it up with chains. It was also tied off with rope to two trees along the side of the road. Needless to say, there was quite a crowd of onlookers on this Sunday Afternoon. We stopped at a convenience store-type place for a banos break (bathroom break). We loaded up the bus again and our security team came off the bus to ride in the two cars that were carrying our luggage. One car in front and one car in back. We were told that the area we were coming had a lot of banditos and that the banditos knew there would be security in the cars and would not bother us. I could see why this was a bandito plagued area. It reminded us of the indians that would wait at the top of the mesas to attack the wagon trains. Obviously, since I am writing today, we were not attacked and we arrived at the Rancho el Paraiso (paradise). And it is. It is a 200 acre working ranch owned by HOI. There are Bunk houses with 8 beds in each room. We arrived and unpacked a little, then headed over to the kitchen for lunch. We ate on a screened in porch. again at long tables and enjoyed rice, chicken with something like you’d put on swiss steak and french fries. We will definitely get our carbs in this week. I ate lunch with a bunch of veterinarians who are also here for the week. There are 9 of them (students and two vets, I think) and they are staying in a different barrack area that we are. They will go out and work with people on how to take better care of their animals. They said the conditions were sometimes difficult as there were not many stocks (restraining areas) available. The windows have screens and there are overhead fans, so it is very nice inside the rooms. We came back after lunch and picked up our drugs and brought them and sort of sorted them out. Acetamenaphen and ibuprofen were desparately needed and we brought a lot. The people who had been coming on this trip said that it was quite a haul. We are now waiting to take a tour of the place in about 10 minutes. I am rooming again with Debra, Fran Lewis, Helen Byars, Kathy Bernhardt, Laura somebody and Alicia Philip.
It is 8:30 PM now and we went on a tour. One of the guys on our trip is a horticulturist and gave us some great information about the flora and fauna. They have a wonderful tree here that looks like a mimosa tree but as large as an oak. The orchid is the country’s state flower and they grow wild up in the trees here. I have taken some pictures, but forgot to bring my camera here to post them. I will do that tomorrow. We had a wonderful meal tonight — BBQ wings (I think) and tortillas, something like pico de gayo, and beans. It was better than it sounds.
We met a few minutes ago to decide who would be doing what. We will be building latrines, going to the school and working with children. I will be helping install 35 computers that were purchased with Rotary funds. I am able to text and Facetime with Wi-Fi that they have at the Ranch here, but I have to go to the office to do it. I will try to come here every night to continue to update you on my trip. We will leave the Ranch on Friday morning, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get Wi-Fi once I leave here.
BTW, thanks for the comments!!!!
Signing off once again………………………