Honduras Journal 2002

dramatis personae

O'Neil Family (long-term missionaries for many years):
Ashley (born 7/03/84)
Josh (09/19/86)
John (11/25/88)

McKenney Family (long-term missionaries for many years)
Dr. Jeff
Nate (born 4/12/91)
Gabe (7/7/93)
Hannah (11/19/97)

Drozek Family (long-term missionaries for many years)
Dr. Dave
Adam (born 9/27/88)
Abby (08/17/90)
Jacob (09/03/94)

Carey Family (long-term missionaries in La Ceiba)
Daniel, 4

Faull Family (long-term missionaries since about a year ago)
Dr. Ted
Natalie (born 7/29/85)
Kara (12/14/87)
Sharon (4/25/90)
Hailey (8/28/92)
Catherine (5/4/95)

Yount Family (long-term missionaries)
Dr. Shaw
Dr. Sharon

Rumbaugh Family (short-term missionaries for ~7 months)
Dr. Don

Luke, 16
Eric, 14

Dr. & Mrs. Greene (frequent short-term missionaries)

Dr. Buddy (frequent short-term missionary)

Patrick Rowland, student at Taylor

Esther Stolte, medical student

Troy Gardner, civil engineer graduate

Cynthia Lu, medical student

Matt Gerber, medical student

Chris Grey Jeffries, Air Force

Leah Thatcher, medical student


Day 1 (Sunday, June 9)
Woke up @ 6AM in Detroit. At airport had to get new schedule figured out. Everything worked out well, though, because Brian and I had 1-2 hr layovers at the airports. In San Pedro Sula we met a group from Mississippi that was also going to Loma de Luz. In La Ceiba we got both our sui8tcases, but not Brian's guitar. Brian and Chris, Mrs. McKenney and several others from Loma de Luz met us. I forgot lots of names right away. In La Ceiba, first we went to eat, then to the Carey's. I called home from there. We drove to Loma de Luz and met more folks. There's a lot more people here now than 2 years ago. Also, there are bridges across the rivers. The Swedish paid for them. Don't ask me why. Slept in same room as Chris, Brian, Brian and Troy (graduate, civil engineering, MO)

Day 2
Woke up at 7:30 . Had Life cereal for breakfast. Worked with Brian, Chris, Brian and Pat (cousin once removed of Becky Drozek, staying with Drozeks for several weeks; goes to Taylor) digging a septic field. Basically we moved rocks the whole time. Went to lunch with several others at the Faull's. They built their house about 4 months ago. It's just a little ways east of the hospital. Worked more in the afternoon. Hopefully will finish tomorrow. Got to look around hospital. Nearly all rooms are finished. The front half is done and in use. They had a clinic going. That means the dorm is just for missionary people. We sleep on the first floor; it was used for the clinics 2 years ago. Saw sunset. It was amazing from Mo' Field (part-way up hill; named because it took mo' time, mo' money and mo' work than expected). Islands, water, coast, jungle, mountains, sunset. Ate dinner with 5 "sleepmates" and Esther (in medical school in Canada). Had stir-fry. It was good.

Day 3
Didn't wake up to see sunrise. Brian went with Troy and Josh O'Neil to do surveying. Chris watched Esther and others do 4 hernia surgeries. Moved a stove, fridge and ceiling materials from hospital/bodega to dorms. Had lunch with other work group. Brian, Pat, Jon and I finished burying pipes in the leech field. 13 total, about 10 done before we came. Now have to connect sides and make them perfectly level. Went to dinner at McKenney's (in Balfate). All missionaries, work team, us 4, Esther and Troy went. Found out Sarah (1 yr college) knows Russian. Heard about El Toro, the largest hill/mountain in the area. We're planning to plan a day to hike it.

Day 4
Woke up at 5:15 for the sunrise. Went back to bed for about 1 hr before getting up again. At the septic field we cut and glued end pieces and leveled the left side. Went to the beach and got stung thrice by a jelly fish. After lunch we played PIDG with the basketball hoop recently put up by the dorms. Had lasagna with the MO group and several of the missionaries. Afterwards went to hospital with Dave Allen (MO group; designs satellite software for the Navy's AEGIS cruisers) and Dr. Shaw Yount (family doctor). Tomorrow Dave and I are going to make some improvements to the pharmacy's database. Brian's guitar came today. He was happy.

Day 5
Worked on database improving according to Dr. Shaw's suggestions. Dave went to the school in Belfate and took pictures of the students with the rest of his group. Before lunch, I showed him what I had done and then he went to La Ceiba. For lunch, I prepared most of taco salad. BBCP and I took the afternoon off. We sat under the mango tree, did some planning and devotions and then climbed in "Mango Mango". At 4:30 we went to the Faull's. Everyone was there for worship: songs, praises and prayer. It rained and poured while we were worshipping and afterwards we watched some amazing lightning ever the Caribbean. For dinner, TCEBBC and I had lasagna and salad. We decided to cut back on sarcasm, so to adjust, our humor was very punny.

Day 6
Worked on database again. After lunch CETBBCP and I had a Bible study with Dr. Dave Drozek and talked about the cultural differences between Westerners and Hondurans. Installed English version of Access and the rest of the guys finished the leech field. We need more PVC pipe to go across the road and up to the hospital. At 4:30 went to Drozek's and then to Maribel's for dinner. All the females were having a wedding shower for Chrysti in the Drozek's guest house. She's marrying Rigo (lab technician) in July. Back at Staff Housing, BBCPJ, Luke & Eric (high school sons of the Rumbaugh's ) and I played cards for quite a while.

Day 7
Slept in. After various ideas, BBCT and I went to La Ceiba. At the Carey's, Troy and Chris called home. I forgot my calling card. Lightning had hit the neighbor they got internet through, so we all quickly checked and wrote emails on a dial-up account. We went to Pizza Hut for lunch and then to the mall for grocery shopping. Back at the Carey's we saw many people who were going to see a play. The MO group went to the waterfall and we'll probably go there tomorrow. In the late afternoon we heard and then saw several howler monkeys. They responded to deep howls. After we got bored with that, Troy drove Brian and me up to the water tower (BTW, the tap water is drinkable; a second test is being done to make sure, though). You can see a lot from the water tower. Troy's been doing surveying so he pointed out the boundaries of Cornerstone's property. It's over 100 acres easily. After some ate, EBBCT and I went to the (ACed) bodega with overdone microwave popcorn and lime punch to watch "A Bridge to Far." After killing a poisonous snake and fixing the VCR with the "Nintendo cartridge" method, we watched the first part. Walking across the unstable bridges in the dark is fun.

Day 8
Worship service in staff housing. MO team left. BBCPCE, the O'Neils, the Rumbaughs (except Eric) and I went to the waterfall. It's a decent drive, walk and swim. We're going to go back sometime with a camera.

Day 9
Worked in hospital until we lost some power. Miscellaneous sink-ing, moving, pipe re-routing and napping. Mulder made chicken patties, beans and fries. Watched rest of the movie in the hospital waiting room.

Day 10
Worked in pharmacy. Other guys moved a big shipment in. After lunch BBPTE and I headed out to hike El Toro, the highest peak near the hospital. We started near Balfate on a road that thinned to a walking path. Over half way up, there was a small collection of houses. After about 1.5 hours we had to start using the machetes. We hacked our way to the very top. On one side we could see Balfate and out to Ceiba bay and on the other we recognized the water tower and the Faull's house, very far away. The way down was much quicker and easier, but tough on the feet due to the steepness. Part way down Brian R accidentally stepped on a large snake. It left quickly and only the other Brian witnessed it. Dinner was fettuccini alfredo with chocolate/fudge/sugar/lemon cake for Troy's going-away. He leaves Thursday.

Day 11
More of the same. Sore from taming El Toro. Showered in the rain standing on the recently destroyed cement water-catching thing. Said goodbye to Troy but not the McKenneys (they're leaving too). I get to sleep in a bed with fans actually near me.

Day 12
Again the span of time betwixt breakfast and lunch held computer work. After lunch, as is our Thursday custom, we (BBCP and I) chilled and discussed in the mango tree. Following fruitful discussion, we turned to fruit-full fighting. I even gained a barbed-wire battle wound. Continuing in our pattern of Thursday traditions, we all gathered at the Faull's for worship, testimony and prayer. Much conversation throughout the day revolved around Canadian words & pronunciation. At dinner Rentsch conceived the idea of being a baby bird for Halloween.

Day 13
Moved stuff around in the hospital. Moved rocks. Moved bricks. Met Chris (on two-month's break before grad school, just finished armed services something). We had met Matt (traveling to write his thesis) the day before. MPBBCE and I hiked up to the water tower. We started a fire, cooked, talked and slept. Cynthia left after dinner, Matt and Esther left after failing to sleep on top of the water tower. Brian2 continued to try. Pat and I slept well on the ground. While I slept a toad jumped on my eye twice.

Day 14
Had stale cereal for breakfast back at housing at about 6am. Chris, Cynthia and Esther went into town. Matt left. Read and dozed till noonish. Scrounged some food for lunch. Read and played chess. I beat Mulder and Pat (at separate times). Esther and Cynthia returned with lots of food. Chris is spending the night with the Carey's (they go to the US for a while on Tuesday). Rentsch and Luke climbed a pole. BBCEP and I went to Drozek's for dinner. But first we went swimming at Balfate. It was very windy and there were big waves. O'Neils were there for dinner, too. It's their 17th wedding anniversary today. Earlier today we heard we weren't supposed to be drinking the water. We decided to keep drinking since we hadn't died yet.

Day 15
Power went out about 8. Worship. Brian Rentsch slept through it because his ear itched, he had several rashes and his eye area was swollen, etc. After lunch Dr. Dave drove PCCBBAA and me to Rio Coco. We swam out to a rocky sand bar. There was a strong breeze from the east so about half the waves there crashed sideways. Often they collided with waves parellel to the coas, sometimes forming peaks like snow-capped mountains that whipped several yards towards shore. Ask me about the realtor. We continued to the waterfall in Bambú, which we had been to two years ago. For a while the locals kept jumping higher and more dangerous places than each of our jumps. We had a flip, several tree-drops and a woman (Esther) jumping that they didn't have. On the way back, BBE and I were dropped off about 5k (~3mi) before the hospital. They ran the whole way back; I ran the first half. During dinner the power cam back. After dinner the Drozeks (w/ P & C), BBCy and I went to church in Lis-Lis. It was a special service for the kids, so the pastor (Chepe) talked slower and I understood most of it. We stayed up till 11 for no particular reason.

Day 16
Somehow cut my foot during breakfast. I now have at least 3 annoying cut son the bottoms of my feet. Worked some on the database before and after lunch. Hopefully Iíll be able to meet with Dr. Shaw tomorrow evening to review it. I also helped move lots of ceiling tiles and floor tiles. Dined on leftovers with the usual folks plus Leah (college-aged, traveling a lot). Cheesecake for dessert.

Day 17
Esther and Cynthia made bacon, pancakes and eggs for us for breakfast. It was amazing. We moved several truck loads of stuff from the O'Neil's old house (in Balfate, rented) to their new one (next to Faull's, just built, big and nice). Luke and I tightened the bridge anchor cables and re-did the connections on two of them. Lots of fun, just like last time. Pat & Rentsch made a skimboard, which looks darn-diddly good. I'd say it's better than the real one they modeled it from. At dinner, Henry (from La Ceiba, working on AC in hospital for a few days) joined us for hamburgers. He knows decent English. Afterwards, I went to the pharmacy with Dr. Shaw and reviewed what I had done for the inventory / prescriptions programs. He had some good ideas on how to improve it that I'll work on.

Day 18
Work. At 4:30 went to Balfate w/ EBmCP. W played soccer w/ about 20 kids. Afterwards we had a good crowd watch/help us get the truck out of the ditch we parked it in. Esther drove us rapidly to the Drozek's. Then about 14 of us ate at Maribel's. Esther drove us back to the hospital with little more heed than before. Chess is still pretty popular. We taught Leah today but she hasn't played yet. She knows some Hawaiian. The correct way to say "you're crazy" is "coo-poo-lay oy"

Day 19
Work. Lunch & some chess. Thursday-time not in the mango tree because we think Rentsch's hives is from the tree. I have some minor rashes of a similar nature. After worship at the Faull's, we went to the back of the hospital to load some junk into a truck (Pad was leaving with it early the next morning). Crossing the bridges we all ran as fast as we could (it was dark by now). On the 2nd bridge, Rentsch swung down under the bridge and was doing some crazy antics like he had done a few days ago, but it wasn't dark and there hadn't been people running across the bridge.

Day 20
I was the first one awake. Went to La Ceiba with Pat, Dr. Dave, Becky, Jacob and Chris. Dropped Chris off at Jeff Brady's house (he does some building projects in mountains; Pat is going on one after we leave). I called home and talked to Mom, Dad and Chloe. Went grocery shopping with Pat. Miscellaneous errands, lunch. Email checking. Ate pizza with nearly all the people. A group of Spanish-fluent Bostoners came. They'll be here for about a week. Stayed up until 1:30 AM.

Day 21
Moved table, boxes, washer & dryer and a large & difficult & heavy fridge from O'Neil's old house to their new. Lunched. PBBCEALEJJ & I went to the waterfall (the big, far-removed one). We took along a disposable water-proof camera. And used it, too. Spent all afternoon there.

Day 22
Slept 12 hours last night. After worship, we went with the Boston group to the beach in Balfate. Perfectly-sized waves were at a sand bar a ways out. BBCEP & I walked to the beach (near the hospital) for dinner. We started a fire and roasted hotdogs and made smores (w/ fruity, colored marshmallows). We also stabbed and roasted some crabs and ate the meat. The Brians set up mosquito netting to sleep at the beach. The rest of us went back to the hospital. At about 11, LHPC & I went down to the beach and scared the Brians immensely. As intended, they thought we were mad Hondurans. We left weeks-old, reeking broccoli unnoticed near their heads.

Day 23
Itched my rash in my sleep until it hurt. Computer work. We had breakfast food for dinner. Used bread to sop up the bacon grease. It was really good. Got good drugs for my swelling foot. Heard about our near-death experiences, including Leah's kidnapping story. Brian & Esther sang "O, Canada" on the ham radio because it's Canada Day. Chris drank H20 to vomit to make good on his punishment for losing the pop-sucking game.

Day 24
Miscellaneous reviews with doctors. Dr. Shaw prescribed more meds for my foot. He also numbed it and opened it up some. Brian piggy-back carried me across the bridges once. Pat and Adam came over to spend the night. We played "Diplomacy" for a while. Stayed up til midnight. Esther leaves tomorrow.

Day 25
Woke up at7. Moved my program into use. Mad lots of fixes throughout the day. Went to Faull's for lunch. In late afternoon was working through a few changes with Dr. Ted & Dr. Shaw. Idea of staying a while longer so I'd be here for another clinic day (Friday). After dinner I worked a little on the computers and decided I wouldn't be able to finish it well tonight. Cleaning / food emptying in our room / kitchen.

Day 26
Finished work on database, copied it all to a floppy and decided not to stay longer. Brian got really sick. Amoebas, hours of vomiting, etc. He stayed and slept; Chris stayed with him. The O'Neil family, Brian, Leah, Eric, Luke and I went to La Ceiba. We dropped Leah off (she's going to Roatan for the weekend and then early next week she's moving there for several months) and went to the Gran Hotel Paris. Swam. Except for Ashley who sat and Pad and Melody who did some errands. All went to lunch at Pizza Hut. Ashley abandoned us for some friends. Walked around looking for souvenirs. Brian and I got a large hammock for $10 each. I napped while others shopped more. Luke and Eric left with the Younts. Cards/TV/mochachinas. Chris and Brian came with Dr. Faull and Dr. Rumbaugh at 6:30. All but Dr.s went to see Episode 2. Never really had dinner. This was my 5th time seeing Episode 2, but it was interesting because there were Spanish captions that I followed along with. Shaved for first time in Honduras. Sleep.

Day 27
Woke up. Threw my shoes in the park across from the hotel and left for the airport. I got new shoes that didn't fit Pad or Josh. Flew home. Met all our parents (except for mine, they were camping) at the Detroit airport. I went home with the Mulders and spent the night at their house since the power was out on my side of town so the garage door keypad wouldn't work.