Monday, January 25, 2010

Trujillo - Markets and other places

Trujillo is a small town on the North Coast of Honduras, and as one guide book put, "Folks, Trujillo is the end of the road."  It is quite literally the end of the road on the North Coast, except for the dirt road that goes to several little Garífuna villages.  Christpher Columbus first set foot on Cental American soil at Punta Caxinas, or Cabo de Honduras August 14, 1502.  The first Catholic mass in Central America was said on that date.  The modern history of the town dates from 1524. 

Trujillo is built in the typical Spanish Colonial style, around a park, surrounded by the military, Forteleza Santa Barbara; the church, La Catedral de San Juan Bautista; and the government, now the city hall and the police station.  I can't find my picture of the church so I will have to add it later.

The Fort of Saint Barbara

The Park

The Government Buildings

This is one of the main streets in Trujillo. It goes around the park. Yup, those are cobblestones. The white building is a grocery store.

This is the produce market.  This cute little boy is working in his family's stall.  This child is so smart he can total up your purchases in his head, and make change without a cash register.  If he doesn't have the change, or a plastic bag to put your stuff in, he will run down the street toget one.  The other day I ask for tomatoes and  he wouldn't sell me the ones he had because they were no good.  Then he gave me two perfect bananas to make up for it.  When Juan went back the next day, the good tomatoes had not arrived, so he bought one anyway.   When he got home, there was a bell pepper in the bag, too.  Check out the size of those  carrots.

Hondurans love their cell phones.   The white things in bags are garlic. Those are fresh beets up by the cabbages.  There is another child in the background working with his family.  Every one is expected to pull his own weight to help the family survive

This young lady is probably about 16, but she works every day in the market.  There are two       kinds of sweet potatoes on her left side.  Just by the sweet potatoes are some brown things with  white edges showing.  That is yucca.  Juan doesn't like yucca, which is good, because I am allergic to the raw yucca.  Cabbages are a staple in the diet.  None of these vegetables are coated with wax or other preservatives.  They are not picked green and shipped to the market. 

This is Wal-Mart, Honduran style. These stores line every steet in El Centro. Then you have street vendors who line up along the streets under makeshift tents and sell everything from fruits and vegetables to DVDs. We can buy videos for about a dollar and a half, and some of them have not been released nation wide in the US. You find this same set-up in the larger towns, too. "Tico" is a cell phone provider. When you see that sign, it means a place you can go and 'charge' your phone. Cell phone service is not by the month, it is by the minute, which is why people send a lot of text messages. My fingers don't move fast enough

This is a street in a middle class-upper middle class neighborhood.  Yup, those are still cobblestones.

This is the street in front of two of  my sisters-in-law's homes.  This is a middle class neighborhood. 
Suyapa and Azucena have the better view. That patch of blue at the end of the street is the bay.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monsoon Season

Rio Aguan - La Prensa

It is definitely monsoon season in Trujillo.  The rain has not let up one bit since my last post.  Sunday morning about 1 AM we were duct taping sheets over the windows in the bedroom, trying to keep out the wind.  Then the electricity went out for a little over 24 hrs, just coming back on this afternoon.  There is no water, because the city had to shut it down to avoid contamination.

Last night we slept under a bedspread and two afghans, in all our clothes.  For once, Chico did not get fussed at when he jumped into the bed.

Chico - Self-proclaimed watchdog, faithful companion, and now foot warmer.

Sooooo.  We have food and potable water, and each other.  Chico is willing to sleep on our feet.  We are okay with each other.  My favorite verse in the Bible is, "And it came to pass."  And this, too, will pass.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Weather and Other Things

I took this picture yesterday, because it was the first time we had seen the sun since New Year's day.

Looking over part of Villa Brinkley

The whole week before yesterday it looked like this:

Trujillo Bay through the rain

Or like this...There's about another 1,000 ft. of mountain behind that cloud.

Road up to Calentura

That's what it looks like today, too.  And it will for the rest of this week and part of next.  That's because we are about to get our 6th cold front in two weeks.  A cold front here almost always means high winds and rain, and we really don't need any more.  The Rio Aguan is already out of its banks, and it won't take much to bring the bridges down.

Bailey Bridge between Trujillo and Tocoa

Courtesy La Prensa

And here is why we get cold when it rains for days:

The windows, no glass just screen, on the 2d floor front of the Condo, with complimentary windows on  the back.  Makes for good ventilation and a nice breeze through the house when it is clear and warm, and a strong wind chill when it rains and the wind blows.  And the wind always blows.

It is still worth it.

Returning Citizen Jumps into Honduran Politics - (sort of)

I have long told Macho Man that he needs to run for mayor of  Trujillo, so something could be done about the nonexistant infrastructure in some neighborhoods, ours included.  He has always declined and said, "No me interesa." 

The road from where we live to down town
(and it is relatively good, compared to the street we are building on)

How things change!  Last night he attended a meeting of our patronado.  A patronado is a bit more than a homeowner's association, and a little less than a special taxing unit.  The meeting last night was in regards to the trash pickup and also individual landholders who do not clean up their property, or who dump their garbage in the street.

Trash is supposedly picked up the second and last Sundays of the month.  They pickup the trash, but sometimes they are not so tidy.  The fee is 55L a month, about $3 USD.  The patronado wants to make it mandatory to be a member, so more pickup days can be added

The problem with the trash on private property was settled by deciding to clean up the involved properties this Saturday and bill the owners.  If that is not successful, then the leaders will file a complaint with the City of Trujillo against the landowner.  Now, that sounds like an American homeowner's association, doesn't it?  I wonder how much Don Juan Ramon had to do with that.

At any rate, he got home last night very happy.  He now thinks it is very important that we attend all the meetings and that he participates in the running of the patronado.  He may run for mayor yet.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blessings My Father Left Me

This post is one I have been thinking about for a long time, wondering just what to say.  I have decided to just let it speak for itself.  This is about my Father, and our relationship.  I am not talking about my beloved Daddy.  That is a post all of it's own.  I am talking about the biological factor in my gene pool, Richard.

Richard Nathan Stone, Sr.
March 1921 - April 2009

I jokingly say that for the first years of my life I thought my Father's name was DamnYankee.  That's all my Grandmother ever called him.  I was almost grown before I knew that was two words, and it was not his name.  Some of that was his fault.  Richard decided about a week after I was born that he was not father material, and he left.  The marriage was officially over before I was a year old, and so, apparently, was Richard's interest in his first born.

For the next 62 years of my life, except for a one day visit when I was 21, I never saw him.  His abandonment went so far as to cancel a trip to his mother's house when he found out I would be there.  I was 15.  I can tell you that I am the poster child for why the most precious gift a mother can give her daughter is a Daddy who is part of her life..
"Any male can be a father.  It takes a special man to be a Daddy."  Unk.
In November, 2005, the week that my Daddy died, I received an email from Chet Stone saying he had seen a post on a genealogical message board asking about descendants of George and Anna Stone of Ohio, and he thought we were first cousins.  We are.

After a few months of emails, Chet asked me if I had any contact with "Uncle Dick", and my answer was, "No, and I have no interest in one .".  He persisted that I needed to contact my father, and I finally told Chet I felt that I had a brother, and probably a sister, out there somewhere, and I was willing to contact them, if he knew how.  He did.

In April, 2006, I went to Talmo, Georgia to meet with my father and my brother, Rick.  It was scary.  I have to admit, I stayed in a motel, just so I would have a bolt hole if things did not go well.  They did.

We had a long 'sit down', and came to the conclusion that we could not change the past, just the future.  I was very clear that I could never call him Daddy, because I had a Daddy, and it wasn't him.  I finally realized that what happened in 1943-44 was not my fault.  I could see that he was not the cocky, dashing young Army Air Corp pilot my mother married; he was just a sick old man without much time left.  I found out I not only had a brother, but a beautiful sister.

In 2007, Pop came to Daytona Beach to live with my sister, Pam.  She was kind enough to let me visit several times in Daytona, and to let me bring him to Ft. Lauderdale for a couple of weeks at the time.  We took the opportunity to get closer.  What a blessing!  I would not change a minute of this time of healing.

In April, 2009, Pop's health deteriorated to the point that he had to be put in hospice care.  I went to Daytona the weekend after Easter, and after seeing his condition, decided to stay a few days.  Early Monday morning, Pam received a call that we needed to come quickly.  When we got there, Pop knew us, if little else.  He did tell us that there were angels in the room, and he was not afraid.  He died with a daughter on either side, holding his hands, praying for his journey ahead.

My father left me with a deeper understanding of the peace  forgiveness brings, not only to the one who is forgiven, but to the one who forgives.  He gave me an opportunity to heal old wounds.  He acknowledged me as his daughter.  He gave me a sister and a brother.  He brought sunshine, after years of darkness.  He was a blessing.

New Years, 2009

I just spent the most amazing New Year's ever! Learning new customs is always good, and I had such fun doing it. We went to Tocoa to my brother-in-law's house. The eating started the minute we walked in the door and didn‘t stop until tonight when we ate the tamales Magda sent home with us.


Magda made three kinds of tamales, each one the best, depending on which one you were eating when asked. These were served with carrots, onions, cauliflower and jalapeños steeped in vinegar. Then there was the barbequed chicken, and the sandwiches and the cakes.

There was also lots of loud music, drinks, joking around, and just plain good times. We were lucky to have three generations of family present. Magda’s father, Don Ramon, is almost 100 yrs old, and still getting around without much help. Javier, the youngest, is about 11.

Three generations of Ramirez men, L>R Maynor, Pablo, Don Miguel, Juan Carlos, 'Lito, Javier, and Juan


Patty and Don Ramon

One really fun thing we did was to make a scarecrow out of old pants and a shirt. This scarecrow was stuffed the newspaper and 1000's of firecrackers. He was then labeled with all the bad things in 2009. He is set alight at midnight, and as he burns and explodes, he takes those bad things with him and leaves room for the good things to come. You can imagine the noise as these things go off all over town.
Giving El Muñeco his bang.  Yes, those are wads of firecrackers.

The short life and fiery death of El Muñeco, 2009

Of course we spent the night. I really did not want to come home today, but Chico was here by himself. The only sad part of this was that Princess Baby Girl and the rest of our American Family was not here. Maybe next year.

The street back to the highway