Arriving at Cofradia

Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
1
5
18
Trip End ??? ??, 2007


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Thursday, August 3, 2006

 
Thursday, August 3, 2006

It had been quite a long day, leaving Indianapolis at 8:27 a.m. on a flight to Miami, and then on to San Pedro Sula. Other than being tarmaced for twenty or thirty minutes before takeoff, the American Airlines' flight out of Miami was uneventful, as flights go.

I was seated beside a young Honduran girl who introduced herself as "Sindi," during our delay. It was obvious that Sindi's English was much better than my Spanish as we chatted during the wait and occasionally during the flight. She told me she was fourteen years old and attended a bilingual school in a small town about a two hour drive east of San Pedro Sula. I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but I believe she said the name of her town was "Ceiba." She was returning to Honduras after a two month visit with her cousins in North Carolina and Florida. She had burned a CD, while in Charlotte, that consisted of Honduran folk and pop music, and some American rap. I preferred the Honduran folk and pop! It really was beautiful music.

Finally, Honduran Soil... and Heat and Humidity

We approached our destination, about thirty minutes behind schedule, dropping in over the vibrant green, steep mountains to the northwest of San Pedro Sula. Evidently it had rained recently as the small river in the flatlands just a few minutes before landing was swollen and ran with a milky brown color. Life moved about on the edge, small homes and footpaths, as though the next swell might wash them away.

Upon exiting immigration and customs, and stepping into the repressive Honduran heat, I was met by a party of three: Wilfredo Fajardo, and his daughter, Fabiola, and Jon Powers, the Volunteer Administrator for this year's teachers at the San Jeronimo Bilingual School. Jon, the only other white guy in the entire airport that I could see, was holding a hand-written sign with "Jon" scrawled across it. I was so glad to see them (I had strained my back lifting a box of books just the day before in Indy and it had not really bothered me, not even a little, until I stood up in that bent-over because-of-the-luggage-rack-above-my-head stance we do when disembarking - and wham! Ouch). Jon grabbed one of my bags and Wilfredo grabbed the other. At the same time, Jon introduced himself, and then Wilfredo and Fabiola. We loaded my luggage into Wilfredo's pickup truck and headed for my new home unseen. His truck, I have discovered, was incredibly common in Honduras, for those that own vehicles. While the Toyota make is not particularly significant, the condition of his truck is typical. It is from the nineties and very beat up. Wilfredo has a reputation of being able to manufacture anything out of anything, and repair any mechanical problem. His truck is a testament to this assertion. It is covered with rust, holes, grime, and faded paint, and seems to run very well, including through the deeply rutted streets we were greeted by in Cofradia.

A Little Side Story: Wilfredo and His Truck

A couple days later, the same three went back to the airport to pick up Anna, another teacher volunteer. The gas pedal in Wilfredo's truck somehow became disconnected. That's a problem in most cases. Ah, but Wilfredo can make anything out of anything! According to Anna, Wilfredo disappeared beneath hood of the truck for a short time, and then pulled a long wire up through the floor board. Wallah, a new accelerator pedal, or puller in this case! So, this is how Wilfredo drove back from the airport, through traffic around San Pedro, around buses, dodging pot holes, shifting through all the gears, pulling on the gas, clutching, up and down the hills to Cofradia. He is the Honduran McGuyver, for sure.

On to Cofradia

My own trip to Cofradia was not so eventful. We did stop, just at the edge of the airport, while Wilfredo honked and then waved a woman in to join us for a ride into town. He didn't know the woman, but knew she wanted a ride. She climbed into the extended cab back seat with Jon and Fabiola, along with her plastic grocery bags. It was a bit crowded, but very normal. She didn't ride with us all that far, letting Wilfredo know, at a not too distant intersection, that she was ready to exit. So is the informal and friendly transportation system in parts of San Pedro Sula where buses don't go. In fact, I have learned that this is common even in the bussed sections of town.

An Indy friend, Steve, who had visited his daughter in Cofradia in the spring, had explained the entrance to Cofradia as a beautiful tree-lined boulevard that went for three-hundred yards, or so. I found this to be true and soaked up the shade provided by the trees that stood on both sides of the road and in the median, as well. It is like a fairyland entrance that belies what is up the last hill. As we glided along that smooth, dark pavement, an arm resting on the Toyota's window sill, warm air chasing other warm air about the cabin, and brilliant specks of sunlight creating the contrast in the foliage overhead, I wondered, and knew, just how long it would last.

And then there was Cofradia.
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Comments

mmaexner
mmaexner on

Hello
Wow Jon, I was just going to send you an email to say 'hi' and see how your trip was. The other day when I realized it was the 3rd, I started thinking of you on your way to Honduras, and your new adventure. And the adventure began right off from your first day with Sinda to Wilfredo and his truck!
Good luck with your first day of class. When is that? I'll keep in touch.
Have fun. Theb Yram (Mary Beth)
PS - Love the photos -- beautiful land!

rondawords
rondawords on

The Real Adventure Begins
Congratulations for arriving in one piece, even if some of your body parts were mightily sore! Glad to take in your phrase 'oppressive heat'. This is what real adventures are made of. Vaya con dios, Juan! Can't wait to hear the next update. Love, Ronda

lrydertondra
lrydertondra on

you sound wonderful
Jon-sounds like you are enjoying this adventure. I can't wait to hear your thoughts and first impressions of you class. I know the mail dosen't seem to get there.....but let us know if we can get a fund going to help you and your class out. XOXO liz

conniea
conniea on

Hola! Que pasa?
Jon,

Glad to hear you're in your new 'home' away from home! Sounds like you had a fun trip. I told some of our old IA pals about your new adventure at Mark & Maria W's wedding. They were excited to hear your news and wish you well!

take care! Connie

wlj3
wlj3 on

Hola!
Sounds like quite an adventure. Ironic the only two white guys are both named 'Jon.' Guess that'll be a new term for 'white guy!'

On a serious note, I enjoy your writing and the descriptions are colorful. Miss ya! Bill Johnson

bajaken
bajaken on

Greetings
Jon,
What a marvellous adventure you have embarked on. I appreciate the fact you are willing to share your experience with us. This may be the beginning of a book upon your return. Your blog is well written.

I was not too far north of you in Belize and know what that heat and humidity feels like. You will acclimate!

Ken Gates

swan
swan on

Fantastic
I really enjoy reading about the beginning of your trip, and the details describing it. I'm surprised how calm and confident you are, GO JOHN!

jrldh
jrldh on

Miss You!
Soooo glad to finally hear from you. I was getting worried. What a fantastic adventure! I so want to hear about your students and teaching.
xoxo, Jody

ariel on

hi, i live in cofradia and i want to say the peoples, can to cofradia you will have a options to have a good trip, you can go to the nacionaly park cusuco or can to the waters parks old the peoples in hir are very simpatics,i say an other time can to cofradia and you will have a good trip

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