2018 Team

2018 Team
2018 Team in the original church built for Suyapa

Friday, April 8, 2011

Traveling Honduras, Machetes, and Reflection

Valley of the Angels: We Came, We Shopped, We Bought Machetes

Greetings to all from KFal on behalf of the rest of the group! Today we made the three hour bus ride to Valley of the Angels to do some relaxing and shopping after three days of long, hard work. The drive there and back through the Honduran country side were absolutely gorgeous, and today on the way back we herded a large group of cattle, crossed two small rivers, and took many pictures of the sites along the way. When we arrived at Valley of the Angels it was great to relax a little and walk around and look at all of the shops. They were full of handicrafts made by the people including beautiful crosses and rosaries, along with all sorts of soccer jerseys, bags, and other goodies. Not to mention the machetes. Now let me note that I went into the day saying there was no way I was going to get a machete. In fact on the bus ride in when asked if I was going to buy one I said “No, what would I do with a machete?” By the end of the day our students had made a list of 100 things you can do with machete. Here are the Top 10 Things You Can Do With A Machete:

1. Use it as a prom accessory.

2. Massacre the rooster that wakes us up.

3. Use as a classroom management tool…. Watch out 7th graders.

4. Machete toss contest.

5. Carve a new face on Mount Rushmore.

6. Finish Crazy Horse.

7. Reenact a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.

8. Part the Red Sea.

9. Shave.

10. Tame wild beasts.

These are just a few of the practical reasons they came up with. Needless to say, I am now the proud owner of a machete. As the Duffys reminded me, “You don’t choose the machete, the machete chooses you.” And choose me it did. Don’t worry, they aren’t sharp! (PJ- Sorry they ran out machetes before Katy and your dad could get you one. JK).

A few of the kids had some things they wanted to say/report:
Jonathon- Greetings again. Today was pretty sweet. We went shopping and I spent a fortune on little trinkets for Mom, so I got everyone else post cards from the airport. You can go ahead and tell Adam that I am going to be visiting him in a week and a half; I’ve got the traveling bug! Please feel free to update me on any news from USAFA. I love you and miss you, pray for me because I am a traaaain wreck!
Lauran- Mom, I went shopping today, and it was so frustrating because I didn’t want to spend anything. But then I heard your voice in my head, and I knew I should get something- so I bought fifty headbands! I can’t wait to “share” them with Madison! I love you all! More!
To the Springfield Girls,

We found your note the first day and it has been sooo helpful! Thanks for the heads up about the kids at the park- they are crazy! We were glad we had our flashlights last night when the power went out. We plan on passing on your note to the next group and adding a few tips of our own.

God Bless and Lots of Love,

St. Thomas More Girls

Hey family this is Mary – just a quick note the villagers love my sombrero either they or they are making fun of me.

A More Serious Note from Fr. Mark:

Last evening during our nightly “Junta” sharing there were some great insights by our youth making the connection between their classroom work at STM and their missionary activity here in Honduras. Johnny Hofer made the connection to Fr. Jim’s class on Catholic Social Teaching between charity and justice. Charity is a willingness to reach out to the people of Vallecillo out of compassion and mercy because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Justice is connected to the right that all people of the world deserve the right to clean drinking water to sustain life. It was using a pick ax and shovel to create a 20 inch ditch in depth on a slippery hillside in the central mountains of Honduras that Johnny made this invaluable connection to what we believe and hold close to our hearts as Catholics.

Caitlin Duffy spoke powerfully about the welcome we have received in Honduras with warm smiles and welcoming hearts. However, at the same time Caitlin had a feeling that some of the Hondurans’ had to surrender their pride in allowing us to help them in this water project and to bring such things as shoes and clothing for their own children. Dan Duffy followed up by speaking from a father’s point of view and the call to provide for one’s family and how difficult this must be for these fathers’s to be in this situation unable to be a provider they would love to be.

To hear this inspired sharing last night reminded me of one of the calls of the Gospel is a call to humility, which at times means we must be willing to allow the community of faith, the church to stand in the place of Christ, to be that visible sign and sacramental presence of Christ to others. I encourage you to pray the prayer of Teresa of Avila that we might have the grace to be the Body of Christ to those we have been invited and call to serve on this mission trip.

“I have no head but yours, no heart but yours, no shoulders but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, no body but yours, you are my Body. (Teresa of Avila)

Let us be the Body of Christ for each other.

Fr. Mark


  1. STM Pumpkinheads (said affectionately :),

    YOU are our heroes in Jesus, like the saints of old, like the Missionaries of old... St. Patrick and Blessed Junipero Serra and St. Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini and Mother Teresa and....

    We've been talking about you tons in senior religion class, especially since we've been discussing solidarity with those in poverty. I show your photos and read your blogs to the seniors. They seem almost captivated (when they are not asleep.) I am very inspired by your Christlike ways. In class, I compared your lovely notes home to Colossians 4:15-18. (read it to get my point.)

    The song you refer to is NOT a drunker sailor song. You may SING IT like drunken sailors but that's another story. The seniors also since learned a new favorite song that we will share with you when you return. I challenge you to ask our Honduran siblings in Christ if they know it and can teach it to you - its called "De COLORES". (Its about a rooster.)

    I'll send the lyrics in a post after this one.

    Much love, hugs and prayers to all ya'll. in Jesus and Mary, Fr. Jim

    p.s. Like a very wise missionary somewhere perhaps once said: "If you are going to jump across a stream with a machete in your teeth, turn the blade the right direction." iVIVA CRISTO REY!

  2. De Colores (pronounced *day cuh-lor'-ess*) is a greeting:
    it comes from the traditional Spanish folk song below!
    Here's one story about the origin of the song:

    There was a group of cursillistas in Spain riding home on a bus, singing and rejoicing, when the weather turned....a frightening storm with lightning and thunder had them huddling together in the bus on the side of the road, and even halted their singing. But when the storm was over, the clouds parted and the sun peeked through. As the tension lessened, one cursillista looked out the window at the farm they had parked in front of; and there saw a rooster, resplendent in color in the sparkling aftermath of the storm.

    Singing and shouting "De Colores!" the cursillistas began to rejoice again, singing this familiar folk song, praising God and rejoicing in the shining colors of the newly washed countryside and a little rooster!

    Hence, the greeting, De Colores, wishes you that joy!

    De Colores, de colores se visten los campos en la primavera.

    De Colores, de colores son los pajarillos que vienen de afuera.

    De Colores, de colores es el arco iris que vemos lucir.

    Y por eso los grandes amores, de muchos colores me gustan a mi.

    Y por eso los grandes amores, de muchos colores me gustan a mi.

    Canta el gallo, canta el gallo con el quiri, quiri, quiri, quiri, quiri.

    La gallina, la gallina con el cara, cara, cara, cara, cara.

    Los polluellos, los polluellos con el pio, pio, pio, pio, pi.

    Y por eso los grandes amores, de muchos colores me gustan a mi.

    Y por eso los grandes amores, de muchos colores me gustan a mi.

    De Colores, de colores brillantes y finos se viste la aurora,

    De Colores, de colores son los mil reflejos que el sol atesora,

    De Colores, de colores es el diamante que vemos lucir.

    Y por eso los grandes amores, de muchos colores me gustan a mi.

    Y por eso los grandes amores, de muchos colores me gustan a mi.

    De Colores, living colors embrace all of nature with love in the springtime,

    De Colores, living colors adorn all the birdies that fly day and nighttime,

    De Colores, living colors envelope the rainbow in heavens above,

    That's the reason I like all the colors that brighten
    the life of the things that I love!

    De Colores, living colors so brilliant and subtle that greet every morning,

    De Colores, living colors reflecting the sunshine that brightens each dawning,

    De Colores, living colors as graceful and peaceful as God's shining dove,

    That's the reason I like all the colors that brighten the life of the things that I love!

    Crows the rooster, crows the rooster with his kiri-kiri, kiri, kiri-kiri,

    And the cluck-hen, and the cluck-hen with her kara-kara, kara, kara-kara,

    And the babe chicks, and the babe chicks with their pio-pio, pio, pio-pi.

    That's the reason I like all the colors that brighten the life of the things that I love!

  3. Why am I not surprised about the machetes!!!!! I am wondering how many are returning to the U.S. We sure miss you, Connor! Your dad is watching the musical on our TV while Squiggles runs all over the house in her ball. Did you all hear about Theresa's good luck. How about the government shutting down? Good news is the air traffic controllers will continue to work so no worries about getting back! We have been watching a live stream of an eagle's nest with 3 fledgelings in Iowa almost as avidly as checking for your posts here and at school.Mom
    The musical CD is great quality...Con you're on stage training Fred!! I'm wondering how many machetes are coming home with the crew. God bless you all for your great work. Dad

  4. Ethan, Just so you don't think I'm home sit'n on the couch enjoying the good life, while your working so hard and taking in the sites. I'm roughing it up at Medicine Mountain camping this weekend, two nights sleeping on ground, a good chance of rain or snow and a low 35. Our love to you from us. And our prayers for all of you. Daadoo :)