Welcome to our family blog!

We began in September 2010 by traveling a portion of the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route that leads to the tomb of Saint James in Santiago, Galicia, in the northwestern corner of Spain. The name of our blog is inspired by the camino, and we'll have many stories (cuentos) to tell! We spent 2010-2011 on an intentional international journey, living and working in Spanish-speaking countries. Since then, we are immersed back in our lives at home but will report on occasional openings and discoveries. Please join us!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Honduras, a respite from teaching nonviolence workshops

Gracias a Dios is the name of a town in the Lempira region of Honduras, in the mountains. The Spanish conquistadores gave it that name, praising God that at last they had found a flat bit of ground to place a town. It is a pleasant town, one that many travelers have given thanks to have found. Its cobblestone streets, ice cream shops, and bookstores create a quaint atmosphere that is quite different from the rest of the region which is generally poor and rural. After spending some weeks in Guatemala, we found our safety radar going down substantially in the Lempira region. The region as a whole is generally safe, with many joggers both local and foreign, and including women, running around the countryside by day and night. I went for a jog on a dirt road heading out of town, which led to the river. A woman was there washing clothes, and a young man with amazingly green eyes was enjoying the scenery with his young wife and their newborn baby girl.
We have been welcomed warmly into the Friends’ community in the Lempira region. The first evening we were invited to a special pastors’ celebration and met many of the local Friends in the community. The next day, we felt like locals, as we walked around the town and ran into many of our new friends. We visited Orlando Pineda’s bookstore, and were given a couple of his inspirational books to read.  We ran into the sister of our hosts in Guatemala, Mabel Henriquez, who invited us to a hot springs along with some relatives and friends.  Huge trees hung over the water, where steam rose from pools with stone floors. Since we were there on a weekday evening, we were among the only visitors. Swimming laps in the quiet pool was heavenly.

Elida's family at breakfast

We stayed with Quaker Elida Rosa Sanchez and her extended family in Gracias. Elida is a teacher and is active in her monthly meeting and beyond. First thing in the morning we were greeted by one of the children in the family bringing a bucket of chicks and the mother hen from the front yard where they are protected overnight to the back yard where they spend the day. After breakfast the three youngest children, none of whom are over twelve years of age, washed the dishes, swept the yard and watered the plants.  Their quiet faith fills their lives.

Our next stop was San Marcos, another town two hours’ drive away. Elida and other Friends gave us a ride, as they were on the way to organize the Friends’ library in San Marcos. San Marcos is special in a different way. It is not on the tourist route, as is the case with Gracias Lempira. A small town in the mountains, with mostly unpaved roads, it is a relaxed place. It also feels very safe, and residents are free to stroll around the central square at night, admiring the stars.  
Dionel and Glenda's stove

 We went to sleep to the sounds of frogs in the hills and woke to the contented snorts of the horse grazing next door. Our hosts have electricity and fuel for the stove in the kitchen, but they prefer to use the outdoors kitchen where they cook with wood using a traditional oven and stove. They obtain the wood from a friend, freeing them from using their limited church salary for fuel. The sweet smell of burning wood fills the yard. We stayed with Pastor Dionel Mejia and his family, Glenda, Nayansy and Anita, age 5. We were invited to the women’s worship, a small group meeting in one of the member’s homes. One of the group members, the wife of the pastor who is also a pastor, offered a Bible discussion. They ended their evening with fried rice from the Chinese takeout!

Anita in a favorite spot

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