10/16/2013

Honduras wins spot in World Cup: Response? Close the government.

Courtesy: El Heraldo, President Lobo in the middle cheering for Honduras.
Last night, President Pepe Lobo declared Honduran government and schools closed today. Is there an economic crisis? Is there a political or security crisis that called for a shutdown? No. THe reason for the shutdown is Honduran won a spot to compete in the soccer world cup in Brazil last night. 

Let's forget that almost 10,000 extra soldiers are on the streets this year due to the record homicide rate. Or, that schools were closed last week, for the entire week, and they are closing six weeks early for the year. Let's forget that nurses and doctors are on strike in many public hospital and clinics due to lack of pay, some for as long as nine months. 

None of those issues seem urgent, compared to the need to close down essential services and education at literally "the midnight hour" to celebrate a football/soccer match today. The city and country is rapidly becoming militarized as the country heads towards a president election on November 24. Scenes like these are far too common, and they make me uncomfortable as martial law seems to be easing in with no end in sight. 




On a personal note, I know of two families, who between them, have four family members suffering from dengue fever. One is a child who is hospitalized. One elderly lady has pneumonia, too. Will the public clinics and hospitals be open to serve the poor today? Honduras may never lose the status of an underdeveloped, backwater country if the leaders continue to make such poor decisions. 

10/15/2013

My domain subscription for Honduras Gumbo expires this week. Help!

If someone can help me, please send a message. I am bombarded by messages by the Google Apps team that my blogs, Honduras Gumbo and Renew Honduras, will expire on October 22, 2013. I have changed the credit card information, as the card's information was out of date. I have searched Google Dashboard and my account for weeks searching for a solution. I put in a request for Google to call me. Nothing works.

Will I lose all my work? Should I begin the laborious process of backing up the fluff and drivel at the Gumbo? Please, blogger friends, help this befuddled and busy blogger. 

10/14/2013

One neighborhood in Honduras: A photographic essay

My friends, Dixi and Axel, took my cell phone camera to their neighborhood near our ministry site. Unfortunately, they snapped just a few pictures before the battery lost power. Sometimes, friends ask me about gifts for children in our ministry or sponsored through Compassion, International. I think you can understand after seeing the houses and conditions why we recommend simple, basic gifts such as hygiene items, small toys, or school supplies. 

Dixi and Axel are siblings. They live a few miles from Renew Honduras. They attend a school that provides books, uniforms and meals, which is rare for the poor in Honduras.  

This is the view from their backyard. 

This house is near their house.
Their house is hard to photograph as its attached to the back of another house. 

This is another family's house.
Axel and Dixie have a two room house, but the rooms are very small. 

Most everyone washes clothes and dishes outside. 

Some friends have cooktops inside the house. Axel and Dixi's mom prepares meals outside. 
Over 60% of Hondurans live in poverty. The majority of Hondurans live in houses without plumbing. Bathing, washing clothes, and food preparations are usually done outside in the yard. Electricity is used mainly for a light bulb or two, although many people near the city have televisions with antennas. 

When you see such pictures, it's hard to imagine a better future for children such as these. In fact, both of their parents are out of work at present. They have a corn grinder in the house which brings in a small amount of money from neighbors who bring corn to make meal. I believe that we can bring hope in Jesus' name by helping feed, education and bring good news to Honduran children.

10/11/2013

Friday Fragments

Every Friday, a group of bloggers, led by the inimitable Mrs4444, fling our fragments on the unsuspecting world. We rid our minds of the clutter of the week in small bits and pieces. Join us, if you will, at Half-Past Kissin' Time.

I have not been participating in Friday Fragments as oft as I did in the past. I cut back on blogging due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Over the past few weeks, I rested my right hand. I rarely have pain now, so I am writing a bit more.

This week, I purchased tortillas. The tortilleria sells them in packs of fifteen. I was struck with the Latin fascination with the number fifteen. For instance, teen girls have a coming out party at age fifteen, la quinceañera. I rarely hear someone mention that something will be ready in two weeks, but rather quince días, 15 days. Last night, I opened a new carton of eggs, not a dozen, but of fifteen.

Small mom and pop stores in Honduras are called pulperias, literally octopus vendors. They do not sell octopus. Rather, they cater to the convenience of the neighborhood. For instance, one can buy one cigarette, one egg, or one banana. I think that these stores are truly convenient, not like US stores, which usually are filled with prepackaged foods sold by disinterested clerks far removed from the profit and service factor of the store.

Did you know that Hondurans love red beans and rice? Aside from coffee, bananas, or tortillas, I think red beans and rice is the most popular plate in Honduras. When I lived in New Orleans, red beans and rice was a Monday tradition. However, in the small town near New Orleans where grew up, we generally consumed white beans and rice, especially on Friday. What's the local blue-plate specialty in your neck of the woods?

Half-Past Kissin' Time

10/10/2013

Washing and Cooking: How the Rich Live in Honduras

My friend, Calyspo, at Viva Veracruz, challenged a group of bloggers to publish photographs of our laundry and kitchen areas. It's part of his campaign to know each other better. Most bloggers in this circle are living in Mexico, and I am honored that they include a Louisiana girl in Honduras.

Now, my washroom and kitchen are not typical of what my friends have in their homes. Most Hondurans do not have indoor plumbing. Most do not have stoves or washing machines. However, here are my accommodations, with a few explanations.



The kitchen is where Madame Gumbeaux creates jambalaya, gumbo, and, occasionally, 
Honduran specialities such as baleadas, arroz con pollo, etc. To the extreme left, not pictured, is a large pantry which serves as storage for food and other stuff. On the right, you can see I have bottled water, as the entire country is without adequate drinking water delivered via pipes. 


Typically, laundry is installed outside, if one is lucky enough to have access to a washer and dryer. For your benefit, I labeled everything. 
1. The pila, or washboard and water storage area, is where hand washing occurs. 
2. The washing machine is used most of the time. I hand wash only occasionally.
3. The dryer is second-hand, and I use it sparingly. Most of the time, clothes are hung to dry. 
4. The raft is my emergency hurricane device, in case I need to float to safety. 


Marta or I usually hang all of the clothes to dry. Because the laundry area gets little sun, I toss the towels in the dryer in the late afternoon to complete drying and fluff them out. I do like fluffy towels. Other than that, I have no problem with clothes that are dried on the line.


Marta is my friend, housekeeper, and sometimes ministry partner. She adores my dog, too. 


BONUS: I added a picture of the small tank and pump that keeps water flowing in the house. The government provides water in this neighborhood via city pipes but not everyday. The pressure is not sufficient to supply the house with enough pressure to shower or wash. There is another tank to hold extra water that I fill up when the city releases water. I have to shut the water off in the house and use a series of levers to force the water to flow into the secondary tank.

When I am not busy, I will show pictures of the barrels and earthen stoves that the poor use for cooking and laundry. Some of my friends have cooktops in the house, too, as well as refrigerators. Bathrooms for almost everyone I know are outside, either a hole in the ground leading to a pipe, or fitted with a toilet on top of the pipe. I wish I could add a picture of how bad those outhouses smell, but I think you can use your imagination.

10/07/2013

Satirical Weather Reports from Louisiana

This weekend, social media in South Louisiana was overtaken by the satire of Rhonda Faye, a wannabe reporter from Raceland, Louisiana, a community southeast of New Orleans. The You Tube segments are very short, as Rhonda Faye is obviously an amateur. Yet, she captures the dialect and crazy logic of people near my hometown with dead-on mimicry.

The area was threatened with a possible hurricane, which downgraded to a tropical storm, then fizzled away into nothing. During the long weekend, many of my friends and family in that region were home, preparing. It was a perfect opportunity for Rhonda Faye to capture the attention of bored Cajuns. Enjoy!



 Rhonda Faye explains the two things everyone needs to prepare for a hurricane.



Rhonda Faye reports on debris associated with the storm.



Rhonda Faye reports on the aftermath of the storm, and she makes a prediction about the Saints game. Who dat!

If you want to view all of Rhonda Faye's reports, visit her YouTube page. 

10/06/2013

Best Friends: Sundays in My City

I remember growing up in Bayou Blue, Louisiana. We generally had a houseful: sisters, cousins, grandparents, and neighbors. In our house, most everyone was welcome. And outside? Well, my folks were generous. We shared our twenty-four acres with dogs, cats, turtles, rabbits, and a horse or two. Alligators swam in the bayou out front. Only the dreaded, black water moccasin, a frequent visitor, was not a friend.

Now, I am not a young girl. My yard is considerably smaller. However, I love my only pet, Iggy. And he loves my friends as much as I do. Yesterday, I watched a friend's children so she could visit her mother in the hospital. As you can see, the youngest formed a fast friendship with my friendly German shepherd. They played, chased each other, compared toys, and then, shared a nap. And that's how it should be, don't you agree?


As per the custom, Sundays in My City are linked to Unknown Mami, who graciously hosts our Sunday outings.

Unknown Mami