Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 2 - A Whole Lot of Shaking

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We made it to Honduras safely.

The trip was long and relatively uneventful. Total travel time today was just over 15 hours. To give you a sense of what today was like, it would be like taking an early flight from Philadelphia to Tampa, picking up your luggage, and then driving in a minivan with a dozen people to Key West… all in one day. On dirt roads.

We left the hotel in Miami at 7 am, took forever to get through baggage check-in, and had an on-time takeoff from Miami International Airport. The two hour flight to Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras, was uneventful. At least until the last 10 minutes of the flight. Tegucigalpa is a city in the mountains. To help make the landing memorable, we had a cloud cover that gave us turbulence as we were landing. About the time the turbulence began, the pilot began a series of turns while descending that was better than any rollercoaster. It seemed like we were in a constant left bank turn. At one point, I looked out of the window from my middle seat and saw mountaintops close by and at the same level as our Boeing 757. A moment later, I was looking down on power lines that seemed way too close. My favorite point was looking out of the left side of the airplane with the wing dipped and seeing trees that seemed like you could reach out and touch them going by at 150 mph. And then the pilot cut the power, the plane dropped, and we glided onto the runway. Just before touchdown, I think I could see people watching television in their homes on top of which it seemed we were going to land! It was a thrilling 10 minutes and a perfect landing! I wanted to put my hands in the air like you do on rollercoasters. The young girl next to me nearly puked.

We met three other members of our team at the airport. They are from a church in Wisconsin. We had lunch at McDonalds (pretty much the same as a U.S. McDonalds) and then we all got into two vehicles—a Range Rover and a 15-passenger van. Both vehicles were packed to the gills. The weather was pleasant and the country is beautiful. As with yesterday, the team’s attitude was positive even through the weariness and even at the end of the trip when we drove on dirt and gravel roads.

There was a whole lot of shaking going on at the end of the day. Dawn from Wisconsin said it was like being in one of those old exercise machines that had a strap that went around your backside and shook you like crazy. Sandy from Wisconsin said it was like being human milkshakes. Jayne Dowdy said of the trip last year with similar road conditions that they all arrived with Shaken Baby Syndrome. The exercise machine/milkshake/Shaken Baby Syndrome lasted for the last two hours of the trip. We were all glad to stop moving when we arrived at the ranch, especially those of us fortunate enough to spend the eight hour trip to the ranch in a jump seat.

My mind wandered quite a bit during the long trip across Honduras. This really is a beautiful land. At the same time, signs of poverty are everywhere. Our work for the week indicates the basic necessities of the people—concrete floors, latrines, solid walls for homes. I found myself wondering why someone WOULDN’T want to come here. Fear holds many back. Many fear for their personal safety. Many people will fear it will cause them to change and do things they don’t want to do. Others have a deeper fear that they will somehow feel responsible to work for economic justice in the lives of the poor here if they come. I couldn’t help but think that these are the very ones God has shown matter most to him. Maybe they should matter to us as well, no matter where we meet them.

More on that later. I’m exhausted and going to bed.

God loves you and so do I.

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