Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trucks, Bus, Plane, Bus, Cars, and a Break-in = A Happy Birthday

This is how my week went.

When I got up at three in the morning on the 9th of August to take this  quick trip to the United States. I had high hopes of surprising my daughter a day before her birthday.  I had some important paperwork situations to sign and some ministry stuff to do while I was there.  That was the main reason for the trip but I felt it would be fun if I could pull off this surprise. I had a window of about a week before we had to prepare for our next group that was coming to help us finish up our intern house.  I never get to see Charity on her birthday because usually teams are here and August is a month that is blacked out by the airlines because of most the mission teams are trying to get home for school and it is also a good month for diving around Roaton and a lot of divers flood into Honduras.  

It stormed and rained all night and I was supposed to take the new Toyota Hilux that had the high profile tires and 4 wheel drive.  It was not a new truck but it was new to me. My husband and I have only owned one new car in our life.  We pretty much just bought used cars and drove them for a long time until they were dead.  Here in Honduras you can buy a new car, but it will cost you about 3000 to 4000 USD each year for the first 5 years to get it matriculated annually.  So if you bought a 20,000 dollar truck, it would cost you about 15,000 more dollars.  So now your 20,000 truck cost you 35,000 with the taxes over the first 5 years.  Then the annual fee to drive your truck goes down drastically.  So I buy gently used vehicles until they expire on our bad roads.  I really do try to use the money God sends our way as wisely as possible.

I had gone down to the coast on August 3rd, which was a Friday to pick up the used truck and had planned to drive it back to the farm on the next day, because the drive is about 6 hours.    By the time I dropped off the team, and chose unknowingly the  slow bus to China, But the owner and I  just didn't seem to be able to get it together with our paperwork.  it was too late in the US to make a money transfer.  NOTE to Self:  "don't do any money transfers on Friday".  The banks stateside quit wiring money at 2:00 pm. their time.  I had carried two of the girls from Project Talita Cumi, so I would have company and because they had been so wonderful to help me during the teams and had been excelling in school.  They went with me to take the long bus ride after we dropped our last of the "marathon teams" . I really enjoyed them being with me.  It is hard to spend any quality time with just one girl.   WE ended up enjoying our stay in the hotel catching our breath and getting to visit with Lisa, our new missionary friend, who was selling her truck to us.
 While we were traveling on the bus to get to the coast, I got a call from Ben to tell me that one of our older girls was suffering severe pain in her shoulder and that there appeared to be a lump that was causing the problem.  I told him to carry her to the private hospital and get an xray.  He did that , and called back to say the doctor said there was a suspicious tumor and it needed to have a CAT scan done on the area.  So while we were there in La Cieba, the girls and I checked into a hotel and swam at the hotel and ate at the fancy restaurant in the La Quinta INN. It is hotter than hot in La Cieba.  I was rejoicing that I was called to the mountains.  Then we got up at 4 am the next morning to go back on the public bus to La Esperanza  without our truck.  WE got back on Saturday the 4th and we still had some sickies at the farm crop back up from the virus that swept through the week before when the team was there, so I didn't got to church on Sunday and stayed home with them.  

Monday, the 6th one of our older girls decided to take a "jolly little holiday without permission."  This is not the first time she has done this and so I was so frustrated with her.  She had just taken her college entrance exam and she jeopardized the whole possiblility of her going to college.  I carried her and her co conspiritors and took them to the Public Defender for Children the next day on Tuesday.  These girls had been giving me and the other staff members a run for our money.  I don't know if it was hormonal or intentional, but there was some issues about some boys they had recently met on the bus on the way to school, and they were all of a sudden ready to be out on their own. WE were to return the next day for them to tell us what to do.  Wednesday, the girls were finishing up their statements to he officials. while I sent Anna next door with two of our little girls to the dentist office for their scheduled appointments.  While that was going on Lisa came with her three foster boys to deliver the truck.  I signed the papers, called to get the money transferred in the States and Mirian, our lawyer who was there at the Public Defenders Office representing our ministry checked out the paperwork.  So right after I signed the girls were through with their dental appointment, and Anna carried Lisa and her boys to the bus station and Mirian back to her place of business in the faithful Nissan truck.   I put the girls who were in trouble, and the girl who needed the CAT scan in the new / used truck with me to go and get her CAT scan done, 3 hours away.  I had enough time to go to Comayagua and get this accomplished and I didn't want to leave disgruntled girls for the dwindling staff to monitor.  

So I got the CAT scan done and visited with Brenda, one of our older girls, who works as an accountant for Enlaces Ministries in Comayagua, until the  CAT scan was ready.  We arrived back in La Esperanza and went grocery shopping so that they would have plenty of groceries while I was away. WE picked up the cement tile the workers needed to work on the intern house the next day.  We got back to Yamaranguila to get the cement and realized that they people loading the tile, took off a box of groceries and left them at their store.  I called them and they said they would send them with the next load.  I slung some jeans in a suitcase and some hot sauce for my son and son in law and coffee for my caffiene addicted family members and friends and the giant CAT scan x-rays for the doctors in the United States to look at.  I woke at 3 a.m. the following morning and drove myself into La Esperanza and got on the bus for the airport on Thursday.   

 Like any car you have to work with it to figure out how everything goes.  The roads were very muddy because of all the rain.  So I decided to take the Patrol to the bus stop because I knew how it worked and it was loaded with clothes of one of the girls , who was involved in the runaway situation.  She had left last year and I gave her an opportunity to come back continue to study during the week and then she had to go home to her folks on the weekends.  Our lawyer, Mirian drew up a formal contract which the girl signed and her grandmother signed with her fingerprint, because the grandmother never learned to write.  She broke the contract we made several times and so with the recent infraction we had to send her back to her grandmother, and I had to get her clothes to her.  I got about half way to my destination that early morning, when I realized I was almost out of gas.  I had to make the 5 o'clock bus to get the plane that I needed to take.  I prayed my way through.  I keep telling myself that I am not going to travel alone, yet here I was again driving alone.  I don't want to put anyone out by them having to get up early in the morning,  but the reality and the security of everything is that on the mission field, we should move about in pairs, just because Jesus says we must and that it is just a smart thing to do as well as spiritually. So I didn't get the clothes dropped off because the aunt of the girl said that it was too early for them to get up.   Ben was to drop them later that day.

I got to the bus station and to the 5:30 bus. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to get to the bus station.  Then you change to a taxi to get to the airport.   I got to the airport early and they said It looked pretty full, but because I was the first on to come bearing a buddy pass I would get priority.  The day before there were 38 open seats.  I felt like I was going to travel and so I prayed about it and felt confident that it was going to happen.  

I had worked to get everybody were they needed to be and we got Angela, one of our married alumni from Tegucigalpa, to come and fill in for me.  It was a great plan. I went and got my favorite yogurt drink and waited calmly for the flight.  On a buddy pass it is standyby status.  Well unknown to me their were 5 others waiting, and they were Delta employees and they would be priority.  They had enough seats but the plane's weight limit was at the maximum and so none of us were able to fly.  The Delta staff tried to help us find an alternate plan,  They were very helpful.  

So I could have gotten back in the taxi and gone to the bus station in San Pedro Sula to return to the farm, or as a helpful Delta official told me that I could get a one way flight to Miami and continue in Miami on the buddy pass.  So I bought the ticket, and literally ran to get the American flight to Miami.  When I got to Miami the flight was full, and the attendant had had a bad day, you just kind of sensed it.  So I decided to rent a car which was in another terminal in the Miami airport.  You had to walk through a huge construction project take a tram and go to the area reserved for car rentals.  I went to the first place and they asked if I had a reservation, and I told them I didn't .  I explained the flight was full and I needed a car to get home.  They said without a reservation you can't have a car.  I did find one car rental place and they didn't need a reservation but they only had a 16 passenger van or a Large SUV. I had only had my yogurt drink and was to tired to drive and I decided to go back to the terminal.  I talked to the information desk to figure out my dwindling options.  I tried to call home, but nobody has quarters in the US airport and when I asked for change from the stores I had to make purchases for them to open a cash register.  One police officer felt sorry for me and just gave me the change. I have made other observations: 

1, Nobody in the US answers their phones when they don't know the number on the screen.  I called a pastor on our board, who does take calls from unknown numbers and told him I was going to take a Greyhound bus that was to leave in two hours.  I wanted someone to know where I was.  It took twelve hours, from Miami to Tallahassee, but I "left the driving to them", and tried to sleep.  It was air conditioned and clean and I was thankful.

2. I have a IPhone.  It has Wifi.  My observation is how the Apple Organization with all the brilliant minds on the planet and unlimited funding, made a charger cord that is two foot long.  If your phone dies, and you need to make a skype call it is difficult to find an outlet in the airport in the first place and when you borrow one from the airport maintenance guy who is finished with the buffer, you have to stand close to the wall in an inverted position..  Also, I don't have that many apps on my phone.  My young interns showed me how to save my battery from the apps draining the power.  Why is it that they can't make a battery to support a few apps for more than a few hours of use?  I am thankful for my phone, but these are things you think about when stranded in a large airport and no one knows where you are.  

Well, my dad picked me up from Tallahassee, Friday morning at 11:45 and I borrowed a car from dear friends who always help me get around when I am home.  I got to my daughters house and she is a night shift RN at Phoebe and she was sleeping in the day.  It was now the 10th, her birthday.  I had to break in sort of and not disturb the tall clay pots sitting in the entrance table, and went upstairs and started singing a Spanish Birthday song.  She became alarmed because I was so tired I forgot the words of the song and was kind of humming/ singing and she didn't recongize any of it, and I thought to myself, she has firearms and machetes, (early childhood missionary training)  wouldn't it be bad to make it all this way and have a bad ending to a  potentially special birthday?  I stepped in the door and she thought I was her sister.  I was blessed.  Then she saw it was me and it was just like I planned.  Blessings, the Riding, Running, Resting, Rejoicing, Honduran MOM

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