There are moments during the day that I forget that I am not in Canada anymore. Times when I am walking through mega stores like Diunsa, Price Mart, Lady Lee and the beautiful mall near by where things seem very North American. They have many of the brand name stores that we have in Canada and the States and while walking through these stores one would not think this is Honduras; except for the fact that armed guards stand outside each door.
There are also restaurants that we are familiar with; such as Applebees, Ruby Tuesdays, Baskin Robins and even Wendy`s.
There are other times like when I am walking in this gated community that I feel more or less safe but I wouldn’t dare step outside the gate on my own because to do so wouldn’t be wise. Dale and I have walked to these places together along the busy highway and that’s ok to do in this area, but we always need to be on alert. Traffic is another indication you are not in Canada anymore! Four lanes of traffic could actually become 7 with cars passing on both the left and right and cars or motor bikes zipping between each lane. Dale and I crossed these lanes on the highway the other day and it was an experience! Cars will not stop for you so you need to run and run fast!
Then there are the peddlers walking between the lanes of vehicles at the traffic lights, selling meringue cookies, back scratchers, cell phone covers and chargers, candy floss and fruit.
It breaks my heart to see even elderly women and little kids walking between the cars at these lights trying to peddle their goods to whoever will buy them, knowing full well that they cannot come home until they make their quota for the day. Some days; because of the fact they need to earn their keep, they will not make it home. It is beyond sad and I am sure it breaks the heart of God to see the injustice of it all. It seems so hopeless. The elderly and children were not made for this. To picture my own mother on the streets having to earn her keep after years of raising my brother and I would be so unfair. Yet, this is reality here in Honduras. These are real people. People with emotions and needs. People with real dreams. They are someone’s mom, grandma, sister, or child. Oh, that I never become immune to it, that it never becomes the norm to see, that it always breaks something in me.
On the drive up to the mountains where the schools of hope are, is also like entering another land. It is a very bumpy, rough and winding terrain. A grave yard “The potter’s field” lines most of the right hand side on the way up; a place where the poorest of the poor are laid to rest. It’s overgrown with grass and make shift crosses mark the resting place of the dead.
Pulperias are all over the place. Every few homes you will find one along the side of the dusty path they call a road. They are little boarded up shacks where you can buy pop or chips and perhaps some eggs through a caged window.
If you are not able to find what you are looking for at one store, you can just go to another one a few doors down.
Some moms sell tortillas from their home in order to make a little extra money for their family. They have little handmade wooden signs above the door of their home “Tortillas para la venta”
Even the animals are starving here. Dogs roam the paths aimlessly. Dogs are everywhere actually. Many of them you can see every bone in their body. Cats too. I have never seen such skinny cats as I have seen here.
There are children outside who should be in school, but because there is a quota on already full classes, there is not room for them all.
It’s an entirely different world from the city below. You really do go from one extreme to another.
And yet I reminded of this that whether we are rich or poor or somewhere in between, God’s love is real and doesn’t depend on our financial status. He just loves us as we are. No matter who we are; young or old. Whether we are a little old lady peddling stuff on the side of the road, selling tortillas from our shack, a child washing windows at the traffic lights or living in a mansion in the city. He doesn’t love one person more than another and He wants to give us a future and a hope.
Like our theme verse says..
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.