I am writing this on Thursday in the Zari lobby. I’ll continue describing yesterday before I start on today. We made our way slowly back to the school. Everyone was exhausted from laughing and walking. We stopped at a house that sold snacks and drinks and had a mini-picnic beside the road. After about an hour of strong sunshine, the roads were already dry. A fresh wind picked up and our walk back became quite pleasant. I should mention here that Linda, Becky, Sofia and Natalia have been indispensible as translators. Laughter and joy are universal, of course, but all the questions asked by the students and answered by Linda, her daughters and Becky only added to the growing understanding between us all. When the school was finally in sight some students spied an entire branch of ripe bananas. Soon bananas were flying into outstretched hands and laughter erupted anew. We saw Sally and her small charges waiting for us in the road, Sally a renaissance vision with flowers woven into her hair and even on her shoes !! They had been discussing colors, counting and even patterning with the 70 toothbrushes that Linda brought from California. Here are some more pictures:
Before leaving we realized that Thursday would be Meredith’s last in Santa Rosita. A barbeque seemed in order. We agreed to bring the chicken and the parents in Santa Rosita would provide rice, beans, tortillas and chiles. We piled into the truck and soon Connie, Sofia and Natalia were fast asleep. That evening Josefina Gross joined us for dinner. We continued our discussion of XO security and accountability.
Now I’ll start on Thursday’s blog….. Oscar Gross II joined us for breakfast and for the ride into the mountains. This morning was cloudy and overcast, but still fresh and bracing. The diffused light softened the edges of the trees, plants and grasses, blurring their forms and making the vegetation seem more dense and thick. Again, an even larger contingent of students were waiting for first sight of us to send the word to the assembled students. I’m getting used to being greeted with cheers by my students. This will definitely not continue in the United States!! There were more adults around waiting for the chicken to barbeque. We continued our introductory lessons with the entire student body. These covered carefully opening and closing the XO, checking battery strength, opening and closing activities, closing activities to clear memory and promote quickness and checking volume on the speakers. Then we broke up into groups by age and used the writing program to write reports about the field trip the day before. Then we imported photos that the students took while walking. When completed, the groups made presentations. After this we let the students explore and play. The maze, math and memorization games are student favorites. Before eating we went to the local church, which is just across the dirt road from the school building. This structure is in much better shape that the school. A priest visits Santa Rosita ,in addition to three other parishes, on Sundays. I noticed immediately that there was a deep quiet and peace in the single room filled with rough wooden benches. On the altar there was a glass case in which an icon of the Virgin rested. We gave them a blessed cross from our commissioning at Saint Andrew’s and the teacher hung it on a corner of the Virgin’s glass case. In the shadows I prayed and thought of how much Owen would have enjoyed our time in Honduras. I also thought of all the wonderful people who are with us here and those of you wishing us well from afar. Holding Sally’s hand we went back to the school where the food was just arriving. The students let out a cheer for the women bringing the chicken, beans and rice. Many students brought their own tortillas from home. All the excitement helped to draw us from grief back to the world of the living and the hopeful. Students formed a line based on age from youngest to oldest. They brought their own bowls and plates and were literally jumping with expectation while in line waiting. Everyone sat enjoying and one young fellow in front of Sally and I told us that chicken was so delicious and that he had had it once before with his family. Soon everyone was fed including the adults gathered and the cooks. Now it was time to give thanks to the cooks and to us. After this the older girls got the two teachers to ask Meredith for a picture together. They all grabbed her hand and looked sadly into her eyes. Just before we left, the Kinder teacher gave us a letter expressing the community’s thanks. Linda will translate it for us at dinner. I feel emotionally exhausted and full of love. Here are some more pictures: