On Saturday September 26, 16 members of Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church embarked on an incredible journey to do mission work through Heifer International and among the indigenous people of Copan, Honduras. The following is the first of a 4-part “thankfulness” photo-reflection on the trip:
I am thankful for the Heifer International bus and driver Nehemiah who carried us safely from the San Pedro Sula Airport to Copan and on daily rides to, and from the hotel in Copan to a spot on the nearby river where we crossed a bridge and proceeded to hike a 1-2 miles to the village of Brisas del Valle.
I am thankful for the city of Copan: the gracious and hospitable staff of the hotel where we stayed, the local merchants and the people who try to eek out a living on these cobblestone streets.
I am thankful for the children of the village of Esconsuela which is located on flat ground near downtown Copan. The children greeted us with wide eyes and smiles as we walked into their village on Sunday Sept. 27 to help build eco-stoves. We did some work on 4 stoves and as of today, 19 have been completed. The stoves greatly reduce the large amounts of smoke that fill the windowless concrete and mud-stick homes, causing severe cases of asthma; and reduces the amount of carbon emissions that are harmful to the environment. The stoves are more efficient in that it conserves the right amount of heat needed to cook and requires a small amount of wood to feed the fire.
I am thankful for this rooster in the village of Esconsuela whose constant cock-a-doodle do reminded me of Katie who at 16-months-old mimics the noise as “cock-a!”
I am thankful for Tammy Johnson for her smiles, her humor, strength and courage; for Brigid Richardson for her leadership, friendship, wisdom, sarcasm, laughter, thoughtfulness and care; and Erik Mjorud for the way in which he gives totally of himself and who always has room in his heart for one more person.
I am thankful for the rich history of the Copan Ruins and the Mayan people, the beauty of the area, our tour guide Julio and for Steve Kunkel, a Georgia fan, mimicking an ancient Florida Gator “Chomp” I’m also thankful for Steve’s dry wit and a kindness that exudes from him like a thick application of suntan lotion.
I am thankful for Mary Geil, also fondly known as “Mother Maria” (because truly serves as a mother to the group, making sure everyone is doing good and taken care of) or “Maria Loca” (because she is silly and fun and makes amazing craft projects for the kids in the village of Brisas Del Valle. With help from Erik, the kids sang “Maria Loca” or “Mary Crazy” at the end of each day) Mary is also a gifted photographer who chronicles ever aspect of the journey for which we are all grateful.