Alternately titled: A Random Day I Don’t Want to Forget So I’m Writing About it Here.
Our last day in Honduras was spent driving to a beach on the Caribbean. Having never seen the Caribbean, I was excited about this adventure, even though it meant three hours of driving and a 4 pm beach arrival. As we drove through the industrial port town where we would be having our “relaxation day,” I realized I might need to adjust my expectations of “an afternoon on a Caribbean beach.” Sure enough, Joe summed up our experience of the beach nicely as we surveyed the less than pristine shoreline: “If someone had told me to imagine the worst beach possible, I still wouldn’t have pictured this.”
Selegna, our staff member from Panama, had other words comparing this Honduran beach to Panamanian beaches, but they were even less uplifting than Joe’s evaluation. We didn’t get in the water.
We spent the night on the floor of an old conference room on a navy base. There was a large rottweiler roaming the base, hardened looking men in camo perpetually flicking the safeties on their semi-automatic rifles, and electric razor wire surrounding the whole scene. Before we headed to “bed” at midnight, the project leader from Honduras warned us to stay on the base. “There is nothing good out there for you,” he said, pointing towards the street on the other side of the fence. “WHY in the WORLD would I consider leaving the base?” I asked Selegna later, completely incredulous. She laughed, and told me that this town was known for its discos, and we were on a trip with 40 college students. Oh.
Regardless, Easter morning dawned. Our 3:45 am leave time had something to do with the Guatemalan border crossing opening at 6 am. I would’ve been more bothered by the fact that my alarm was blaring at 3:30 if I hadn’t passed the night on a peeling linoleum floor. I started out the resurrection celebration like a good Presbyterian, gently shaking Kristen’s shoulder. “He is risen!” I said. “He is risen indeed,” she answered, rubbing her eyes and shaking her head.
I moved on to Jenna. “Jenna, good morning! He is risen!” “PTL (Praise The Lord),”
she said, her voice flat. It’s hard to muster spiritual joy at before dawn.
“Selegna! He is risen!” I said, cheerily greeting a very weary looking Selegna who had forgone sleep altogether. “I’ll pray for you,” she answered, slowly blinking at me like the room had started spinning. I glanced back at Kristen with a confused smile. Alright then. Maybe a nap on the bus, hmm?
“Jeff, He is risen!” I said, throwing my pack into the van. “And so are we,” he answered. Heh.
And finally there was Joe, who closed things out nicely with a rousing 4 am “He is risen indeed!” I guess the Mennonite Brethren clan knows their Easter greetings. Peace be with you, Joe.
The sun rose as we crossed from Honduras into Guatemala. I spent several moments pondering the geography of traveling back to El Salvador by way of Guatemala from Honduras, and then gave it up as one of those things best left to a person with a map and a vaguely functional sense of direction. Instead, I looked at the rows of banana trees slipping by and tried to calculate the probability that I had eaten a banana from any given one acre grove in Guatemala. “I could’ve eaten from that exact tree,” I thought to myself, “Or that one.”
And I sang softly to myself. “Christ the Lord is risen TOday, aaaaaaAAAleluia.” I murmured the words that my grandma would sing with such vigor every Easter, pounding the piano with determination. He is risen.