The Road Trip and the Arrival
Well, we chose the “cheap” option for getting to Honduras this time. We got a one-way flight to Cancun, Mexico and then took buses, a boat, and a taxi to get the rest of the way to our mountain home. But after the nights in hotels, three border crossing fees, and transportation costs, the price was not much less than flying all the way. I think that next time we have four stuffed suitcases and two weighty carry-ons we might opt for flying into Honduras.
For the details of our trip, from Cancun we took a coach bus to the southern border of Mexico the first night. Then the second day we took a school-type bus over the border into Belize and drove through most of the country to meet the Caribbean on the southern coast.
And here I will dedicate a paragraph to the school buses of our childhood. Who ever thinks where those lovely yellow buses have gone to when we graduate? Apparently those buses are not in the junkyards of the US. Nope, they are moving people in Central America and produce and even small livestock. I`ve heard them referred to as chicken buses. I’ve seen these buses with the county names of their former routes written on their sides, with some from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Belize, however is a fascinating place, for it is a mixture of the Latino culture with that of the Garifuna. The Garifuna are descendants of African slaves which have long lived in Central America. In Belize English is the official language, but it is thick with a Caribbean accent, as is the culture, so it reminds one a little of what Jamaica would be like.
From Belize we got on a boat for a “three hour tour” to Honduras. Unfortunately we got caught in a downpour before getting on the boat, which had us very concerned about the laptop we had with us (fortunately it is the one I am currently typing on). The boat left hours after we expected and then, when we got far enough off shore where there was no hope of me swimming back, our boat stopped. The cover to the motor was pulled off, there was discussion and fiddling for some time, someone made a call on a cell phone, and then everyone sat down to wait. Another boat came to rescue us and found after awhile that we had simply blown some sort of fuse. All the locals pulled out their lunches at this point, so apparently they knew something that we didn’t in signing up for this boat trip, as we thought we would arrive about noon. Anyways, we got underway again and things were smooth for awhile, that is until we hit rough water, where everyone was instructed to put on their life vests. That wasn’t much of a comfort. It was a fun ride though and it was neat to spend more time with some of the local people. And most importantly, we made it safe without any more hitches.
From where we landed in Honduras we still had hours of traveling left in our day. First we had to take a mini-bus to San Pedro Sula, paying for the four seats we filled between us and our luggage. From that city we had to catch another bus to La Ceiba, which is the city an hour from our mountain home. We finally made it to La Ceiba at 9pm, just in time to be drenched our second time that day from a downpour. We opted to spend the night in a nearby hotel where we could dry out some.
So finally on Sunday, after three full days of traveling, we got a taxi to drive us up to our house in Rio Viejo. It was either the taxi for $10 US, or standing in the hot sun at the bottom of the road with our luggage waiting for who-knows what school bus when.
We’ll have to download pictures of our house for the blog sometime soon, but for now, it’s a cement block house with a tin roof. We have two bedrooms and two baths and a big open room that includes the kitchen. Unfortunately though, the house is in rough shape. Jason spent several months earlier working on things down here, but there’s still a long ways to go. The biggest issue has been the termites. A piece of wood will look completely normal on the outside, but the insides will be all eaten out. Hollow wood isn’t comforting when it’s supporting your kitchen sink, your window frames, and the beams holding up the roof. We’ve found a few scorpions and interesting spiders so far and it appears that we’ve had a couple birds in our bedroom recently. Still though, we live a luxurious life in this house compared to most in this area.
It is beautiful here. You follow the river when you drive up the mountain and watch the rapids and a waterfall high up in the hills. There are banana plants and tropical flowers just about everywhere. The birds are never quiet during the day (one of which sounds like a cat to Jason) and at night there’s another orchestra of insect and interesting sounds. Down the hill from our house is a stream created by the last major hurricane here, which closely connects into the river, so we can always hear the water moving. The cows and horses and pigs and chickens tend to roam free here, with their owners out to retrieve them at the end of the day, so it isn’t uncommon for a lone cow to mosey by and trim the grass outside our fence. (Just as I typed that a mare and her foal walked past our front gate.) Jason had a thatched hut built out in our yard where we can enjoy the shade and the breeze and have a great view of the next mountains over.
Well, to post this online Jason and I are riding the school bus down the mountain with the school kids here. I think school is getting out now, so it is time to finish up and get going. I just had my first day in classes, but I’ll have to write about that another time.
What do you take when moving to a rural mountain in Honduras? That’s a good question and one that I’m still working on. This is Sarah writing and I haven’t even been inside the house we’ll be living in yet.
I’ve got the summer clothes packed, but how many long sleeve things should I take? Apparently the locals there wear warm jackets during their “winter,” but that might only be 60 F. After so much summer heat will I lose my Minnesota-winter-toughness and feel like wearing long sleeves too?
I’m not quite sure about the bugs and dust in our house yet, so I’m trying to stay on the safe side when it comes to packing. For now I’m leaving the beautiful quilt my mom made for our wedding. I think the handmade, lace pillowcases my great-grandmother made will stay in Minnesota. What things are “essential” for Jason and myself? Apparently computers, as we’ll eventually have two laptops and a desktop with us, even without internet at our house. We’re going to attempt rock-climbing as a new sport, so we’re bringing harnesses and a rope. And for me personally, I’ve got my paints and colored pencils packed — oh, and that reminds me that I need to go and find some of my piano music to go too. Probably the most interesting thing we’re taking with us is a small supply of Asian cooking products, which we’ll have to ration out for special occasions. So far we were given a care-package from friends with curry powder, spring roll wrappers, and a few other things, but I’m still hoping to get to the store for some sushi wrappers, fish sauce, and sweet chili sauce before we leave (tomorrow morning early).
I think I need to get back to the packing.
Instituto el Rey
this is a Newsletter from the School Sarah and I will be working at. I thought it might be interesting to include here.
“Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus, greetings from Honduras!
I am at the internet cafe at the mall in La Ceiba, and as I sit here typing, Italy and France (did I get that right!?) are playing, and people are glued to the TV monitors out in the food court!!
So what is all the “hoopla and holler” about the World Cup anyway!? For nineteen of our students who went to San Pedro Sula to compete in the XXXI st International Marathon on 23 June, the World Cup could not have been farther from their minds! They were eager and excited to run! All had been running for some time on the dirt road that goes up-river through Yaruca, Toncontin and then on to Uracco and return. The distance from the school to Uracco and back is almost precisely a half marathon, or 13 miles, and the nineteen students had run that distance during the time trials, and now they were ready for the big event!
Most ran in the 14-18 age category (which is half a half marathon, or about 6.5 miles),but Dennis and David were older than 18, so they had to run in the 19-34 category (which is a half marathon). All of the students did very well! Five did exceptionally well, taking 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th place in the 14-18 category and David who ran in the 19-34 category came in 3rd!!! David received a 3rd place trophy and Lesbin, who was 4th in the 14-18 category, also received a trophy for his efforts! We praise and thank the Lord for enabling the students to do as well as they did!
In I Cor. 9:24, Paul talks about a different kind of race. He says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” Then in verse 26 he says, “therefore I run in such a way as not without aim; I box in such a way as not beating the air.”
Here at Instituto El Rey, we are in a race!! Sometimes it is a race against the clock–often there are reports to write and be submitted at a certain time! Lessons have to be prepared and we as teachers have to be on time for class! We race back and forth between La Ceiba and the school to pay bills, to buy materials for the school, to use the internet for e-mails and to make telephone calls; to take someone to the hospital; to have meetings with personnel at the Dept. of Education; and a host of other things!!
I`m sure that at times it looks like we are beating the air! But we do have aim–and we believe that it is also God`s aim! And that is to provide a quality secondary education in a Christian environment at an affordable price for the young people of La Cuenca del Cangrejal (this area)! And what a blessing it is to minister through education to these young people!! God continues to move in a powerful way in the lives of the students to the pulling down of strongholds!!
Some of our students who live in the mountains back from the road have great obstacles to overcome to make it to Instituto El Rey! Dilcia and Denia who live in San Luis which is on the other side of Uracco, rise at 4 in the morning to make it to the bus! Kilmer, Glenda and Cindy who live in the mountains above El Pital, begin their day at 3 am!! Then there are the students from El Paraiso, La Colorada, and Susco who must ford rivers each day in order to come to the school! All this for the privilege of attending Instituto El Rey!! We praise and thank God for all these and for all the others who attend IER!
We praise and thank God for you who He has called to partner with us and to minister along side us in this very vital and life-changing ministry!! Please don`t stop now!! for in due season you will reap the rewards of your sacrifice!
We have an urgent prayer need, and that is for more like you who are helping support this ministry by sponsoring a student! If you have friends who you think might be interested in investing in the lives of these students, please contact Susan Black at (888) 558-2566, or write to Instituto El Rey c/o ACTS Foundaton, Inc. P.O. Box 968 Tarpon Springs, FL 34688.
Susan will be happy to send information that you can give to your friends or answer your questions!! About half of our students do not have sponsors, and we need to pray that God would lead someone to sponsor these!!
And now “To gain for the Lamb the reward of His sacrifice”, Earl and Sharon”
- See more at: http://givehope2kids.typepad.com/give_hope_2_kids_blog/2006/07/index.html#sthash.qlxneuSJ.dpuf
Getting Ready to Leave
Sarah and I had the chance to speak in a bi-lingual congregation on the East Side of St. Paul yesterday. Pastor Jose and the congregation treated us great, and we really enjoyed ourselves. I attended Faith Temple (Templo de Fe) in 1997 and 1998 when I was in Minnesota finishing up my bachelor’s degree. It was great to be back at the church and see some familiar faces.
Sarah and I have just two more days now to get ready for Honduras. We fly out early Thursday morning which will be the 13 of July. We really are excited to be going, but the next couple of days are very intense. We have several rooms of the McCready house littered with our belongings. It’s going to be a race to get everything done and take off on Thursday. This year we will be back for a few weeks in December and January to visit some churches, take care of Give Hope 2 Kid’s business, and be with our families for the holidays. We’re hoping to take advantange of the next couple of years, because after the orphanage is up and running, it may be a couple years between each trip back to the states. It will be interesting to see how it all works out. If you or your church or small group would like us to come and share more information about the orphanage, please let us know. So far we will be visiting Minnesota, Indiana, Virginia, and New York, but we’ll be here for several weeks and there are a few dates that we still have free.
Thanks to all of you who keep track of us and support us in so many ways! We will keep you up to date as we move ahead with what God has called us to.