I apologize for being unable to blog last night. I tried everything I knew how to do, but the modem did not cooperate. Julio took the computer and modem device to the airport, where Frank could meet with the man who did the modem. Apparently, he had inserted the chip backwards into the modem. Obviously, all is fixed now. I will do everything in my power to have the rest written in a timely fashion. As I type right now, this place is a beehive of activity. I look forward to sharing everything about today before retiring for the night. Happy reading!
Monday afternoon began with a beautiful Send-Off prayer service. Everything is so meaningful, from the layout of the chairs and bags on the floor (the chairs in the shape of a heart with the bags lined up in the shape of a cross) to the PowerPoint from the 2017 trip to the procession through the students and guests to allow them to “send the missioners off,” as they touch the bags, sending a part of themselves into Honduras with us.
Cindy Harpenau, past missioner, did a beautiful job sharing her mission trip experiences with everyone. It was so easy to see that Cindy’s Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras mission trip changed her life in a very positive way.
All missioners were on the bus, passports were checked, and we were off to Omaha. We headed to Spaghetti Works for supper and then returned to our hotel to share information to prepare the missioners for going into Honduras. Most missioners showered before bed after hearing of the lack of water for morning showers from last year’s team.
That 3 AM wake-up call is always a tough way to start the day, but everyone was on the bus by 3:40 and at the airport shortly thereafter. The group worked efficiently to make the boarding process as simple as possible. Once all were ticketed and bags checked in for the trip, we went through security and waited anxiously at our gate.
The flights were fairly uneventful. It was colder than expected in Florida, as we disembarked outside. The layover was just long enough to allow the team to grab some food and use the restrooms before boarding for the final leg of the trip.
The pilot of our Miami to Tegucigalpa flight prepared all of us for the type of landing we were facing. He did a nice job and received the usual applause from the passengers, grateful to finally be in Honduras.
Pretty much our only glitch happened at Toncontin Airport. We landed early, actually, made it through customs in record time, and it looked like all the bags had made it. However, we actually discovered we’d lost one. Complicating that even more is that the airline put all the bags into only two people’s names. That meant all baggage claim tickets had to be read aloud and matched with the slip on the bag. We’d made it halfway through that process when a baggage handler called from outside that one had inadvertently fallen off the conveyor belt outside. Happy to have all 77 50-pound bags, we headed for our buses. Frank Seivert, Marta, Julio and others welcomed us to Honduras. Each missioner received a water bottle with directions to stay hydrated, climbed onto one of the buses, and began our voyage through the city of Tegucigalpa and then up the mountainside that is Nueva Capital. It was extremely evident the moment we entered Nueva Capital (NC). The first thing we saw is the cemetery for those in poverty. Since the mountain is a big rock, all bodies must be buried by being covered with rocks. There are always vultures in the cemetery. It’s a bleak entrance, and one that always impacts the missioners.
Upon our arrival at Santa Teresa School, we carried in our personal bags and then the black duffles. We took a break for a lunch of chips, salsa, and watermelon. Afterwards, everyone began setting up their sleeping areas. Team members received a mattress, blanket, and pillow. AND, just so past missioners can be a bit envious, all the women and most of the girls were given actual beds to use this year! We are sleeping in comfort.
We all unpacked our personal items, but plan to finish unpacking the rest of the materials tomorrow. That gave the missioners a little free time to meet the children of the area. You can see from the photos here that they truly are enjoying the children.
Supper was chicken and rice and the fruit choices were cantaloupe and pineapple. After cleaning up from that, we had our first nightly junta to process all that has happened to us since the beginning of the Send-Off. It was a nice way to end the day.
As I wrap this up, it’s 10:00 Honduran time (11 for you). I’m pretty sure I’m the only missioner awake here. I hear a bit of snoring; I’m ready to climb into bed and get some much needed rest. I hope to be able to spend a little more time on the blog tomorrow as we start to develop a routine here. We are still waiting for all of the wood to arrive so we can build the homes and bunks. The agricultural military personnel are arriving tomorrow to begin the vertical garden project. We also plan to empty all the donated material and begin putting together the gift bags for the families. Keep us all in your prayers as we continue to work with the Hondurans in a way that impacts everyone!
Finally, I told Mya that I would say a special ‘hello’ to her. (You, too, Paige, Cayden, and Marshall) Mya, you have your class say a special prayer for us each day. And remember, we are helping lots of little boys and girls just like you and your classmates. The only difference is that they have little clothes, shoes, or food. Just think, Mya, sometimes those little girls and boys don’t even get to eat a single thing all day long. So, you should smile every day that we are here to help all those children, just like I hope someone would help you if you needed help in any way. I love you guys!
More missioner adventures and activities tomorrow. Good night!
|Cindy Harpenau shares her mission experience|
|Lighting a candle for special people|
|Missioners form a heart with a cross in the center|
|Saying family good-byes|
|Kellen family poses|
|Now lit for the people we dedicated our mission to|
|Loaded bags are ready to go|
|Fr. Lawler blesses the missioners|
|Bags awaiting transport|
|The missioners are ready to go!|
|Blessing the bags|
|Students and guests 'send off' the missioners|
|Counting bags in the hopes that all have arrived|
|All bags are loaded at Toncontin Airport, Tegucigalpa|
|Cemetery as we enter Nueva Capital|
|Setting up the tool room|
|Carolyn & Marta go through necessities to get organized|
|The boys are ready to play|
|Delanee tries her Spanish introductions|
|Addison gives piggyback rides|
|The girls greet our missioners|
|Carlyn meets some Honduran friends|
|Students cleaning up at the pilas|
|Waiting to board|
|Disembarking in Florida|
|Getting close to the airport|
|Missioners arriving at Santa Teresa de Jesus School|
|Military transport truck delivers the bags from the airport|