Students had been told last night that they could sleep in until seven thirty this morning. We were on our own for breakfast to give the cooks a morning off. Would you believe that they were pretty much out of bed by six thirty. Parents, you might want to keep that in mind when you have them back home. They can get up quite early.
At eight thirty we headed for the opposite side of Esquias to join the Stations of the Cross procession. That was to begin at nine. As we awaited the nine a.m. start of the Stations, we searched for shade wherever we could find it because it was already quite hot. As we progressed, it got even hotter. Our liters of gatorade were polished off quickly.
The procession proved to be one of the most interesting we have witnessed. The children were dressed in robes and soldier outfits as well as Mary, Veronica, Simon, Pontious Pilate and, of course, Jesus. Jesus was portrayed by a teenager. As Jesus carried his cross, he was whipped, mocked, and had rocks made of tin foil thrown at him. They placed a crown of thorns made from vines upon his head. They had smeared tomato paste,ketchup on him for blood, which looked pretty realistic. When his face was wiped, it revealed Jesus face on it. When he was nailed to the cross, they actually nailed in the nails and then tied his arms to the cross and he grasped the nails. They also had the two robbers who were side by side with him on their crosses. They gave him the sponge with vinegar. When we returned to church, Jesus was wrapped in a burial cloth and placed in the prepared tomb. As well as that performance this is the way the Stations worked.}
Around the village of Esquias various houses decorated a table outdoors with a white cloth, flowers, palms, candles, etc. They placed the Station which usually hangs in the church on that table. The procession begins at one of those homes. There are readings, prayers, songs, and ending prayers. Then we processed to the next house, following Jesus as he carried his cross. As we walked, we sang different songs. Then we would stop at the next Station and do the songs, readings, and prayers for that one. After thirteen Stations we had been participating for three hours. The last Station took place in the church and only took fifteen minutes. They then had the benediction for those who wished to stay. We had to leave. All of that took place in mostly sunlight. As soon as we returned to the compound, I checked the thermometer. It read ninety five in the shade and when I moved it into partial sunlight, it shot to the top of the thermometer, which is 120. With this kind of heat, we are having great difficulty staying hydrated. We had originally planned to play soccer with the local youth this afternoon, but the chaperones quickly nixed that idea. Our bodies needed to stay out of the sun. The soccer field is all sunlight.
Our lunch consisted of tilapia, fried bananas, and melon. This tilapia is gutted, floured, and fried head and all. That makes for some interesting facial expressions when the missioners enter the dining room for their Good Friday meal. The tilapia is delicious if you can handle having that eyeball staring at you. Many rested afterward. Then we filled our gift bags.
Each person received one or two bags to fill for a family from La Florida.Francis Seivert had found the amount of people in each family and listed the boys and girls ages. The bags were filled with shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, school supplies, toys, clothes, sandals, etc. We prepared thirty nine bags to be distributed tomorrow on our final work day in La Florida..It will be an emotional day for all of us. We also have a stack of books in Spanish from our Book Fair that we will present to the school there.
After supper but before our nightly meeting, we are hoping to go to the park for a while. We hope it will allow us to cool off a bit in the little breeze there is.
Here in the compound our water supply has been sporadic. More than once people have been caught in the shower with no water to rinse with. We have never lost electricity though. The toilets do not always flush properly either. So we then carry buckets of water from the pila to pour into them.
Every year our group brings their own clothes, towels, and sheets to use in the compound. We go home much lighter because we go home with only the clothes we are wearing. Everything else is left here to be used where needed. We leave shirts, shoes, our extra hygiene materials, sheets, lotions, etc.We leave flashlights, batteries, towels, you get the idea. We pretty much carry home the souvenirs for ourselves and our families. Most importantly, we all return with a greater appreciation for all that we have been blessed with, and I do not mean just stuff. We all realize how much our faith and families make a difference in our lives. We ALL return better people because of our mission trip to Honduras.