I’m thankful for the village of La Pintada and the women, young and old, who make a living in the village’s co-op. through trades like weaving and the making of Tusa dolls–these beautiful ornate figures made from corn husks. With $200 we wiped out the entire store of 200 plus dolls. The plan, as it was 2 years ago, will be to sell the dolls for $5-10 a piece and then send all of the funds back to La Pintada. I’m also thankful for the Japanese International Cooperative Agency. The JICA’s logo is featured on the corner of the painted “La Pintada” sign that greets visitors as they arrive at the co-op, which is a good hike past the Copan Ruins. The JICA sponsors programs world wide that empower women in small towns and villages to turn their trades into successful small businesses that greatly benefit them, their families and their community. The JICA stays long enough to empower women and their businesses to thrive on their own and then the JICA moves on to another place in need. And the organization also fosters fair global trade and communication so that women in a third world country like Honduras receive adequate compensation for their products.
I am thankful for all the people I met in the village like the child who eagerly smiled for me when I asked him to give me a smile; the children joyfully playing on the side of the co-op building; the boy sitting next to the building’s front porch post; and the three dogs who took a short nap on the porch while a group of us were inside.
I’m also thankful for the group of 9-10 year old boys who allowed an “old guy” (33 is old to a 9-year-old) to play soccer with them on a large grassy field behind the co-op. We had a great game of keep-away! Me against 6 of them was a pretty even match.
I’m thankful that Sam Webb recovered from his bout earlier in the week with dehydration and the illness that comes when you accidentally open your mouth in the shower or brush your teeth after putting the toothbrush under the faucet. And I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to see him make pipe cleaner hats with the kids of the village.
I’m thankful for the pastor of Brisas del Valle and the village’s “mayor” and the closing worship-ceremony we had on our last day; and the beautiful tapestry that the women of the village made for us to take home (and that is currently framed and hanging on the wall across from the church office).
I’m thankful for the Sacrament of Communion we shared at the bridge on the way back from the village.
I’m thankful for the adventure to the “Falls” that Greg, Rob, Brigid, Margo and I went on, and our guides who got us safely there and back. It was a great way to end our last afternoon in Honduras.
I’m thankful for Margot Ashley and Pat Smith, our tribe’s elder women whose kindness, encouragement and insistence that we all drink water and take breaks in the resting tent kept us alive through to the end (literally, this picture was taken as we are leaving the hotel and about to board the bus that will take us to the airport in San Pedro Sula and home to the States. Seeing them standing in one piece means the rest of us were too!).