Today we arose around 6:45 AM and drove to Mass at the cathedral in San Pedro Sula, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. We slipped into battered pews near the back and tried to follow the Spanish rites. The cathedral was crowded, but even so, the Priest tried to make the rounds during the sign of Peace, one part we actually followed well! After mass we talked with the bishop who presided and he pointed out various saints for us. It was a large cathedral, brightly colored, a little bit tattered, peeling paint and a broken window, but still a grand old dame.
We returned to the center for breakfast of beans, fried plantains, a salty cheese, small thick tortillas, rolled ham. Then we headed out for a one and a half hour drive to Choloma and other cities.
Santiago's wife had just had a chemo treatment for breast cancer, but she came along. Through sign language and word play we shared our stories. She and Santiago each had three children when they married. Like the Brady Bunch they merged their families, blended through love, they both said. Indeed, he shaved both their heads at the same time in sympathy and solidarity with her. Her treatments, like those for most of the residents, are so expensive in a country with no health insurance.
We stop at a 300 year old Spanish fort, which then became a national bank, then a prison and is finally a tourist monument. We paid for a tour guide, and Matteo's "boys" came along, which meant there was much laughter and teasing. Some of the team member nicknames came out of the day's adventures.
From the Fort we went to lunch at the beach for our one day to acclimate and get a feel for Honduras before the work begins tomorrow. We had our first reflection time tonight where I read a letter from the Sisters while we sat in the courtyard and shared what we have experienced so far.
When I said goodbye to Santiago's wife, we hugged and she said she hoped I would come back. I touched my hand to my heart and hers and we both choked up. We included their family on our reflections and know we have added another family to the Lourdes community.