Friday, July 18, 2014

Travel and Preparation - HH2014 Day 1

These Honduras blogs are written from the perspective of TopherWiles.  Please feel free to add updates, additions, and corrections in the comments below.
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Date: July 7th, 2014
  • Washington, IN
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Tegucigalpa, HN
  • Ojojona, HN

Our approximate schedule for the day (all times are local times):

  • 2:45am - Load up at WCOC - Topher, Elmer, Emma, Charles, Jaden, & Luke
  • 3:44am - Meet up with Dan Kerr, Erin Deckard, Allen Burris, & Kedra Burris in Bedford, IN.
  • 5:10am - Arrive at airport, praying with and saying goodbye to our chauffeurs, Allen & Kedra
  • 7:10am - Fly out of Indy
  • 8:49am - Land in Atlanta to meet up with Chad, Emma, Sadie, and Bryan
  • 10:45am - Fly out of Atlanta
  • 11:52am - Land in Teguc to meet with Dave, Ryan, Randy, Paige, and George
  • 1:30pm - Lunch outside the airport
  • 2:30pm - Shopping at La Colonia for lunches and supplies
  • 4:00pm - Arriving and settling in at Honduras Hope Mission House in Ojojona, F.M. HN
  • 6:00pm - Spaghetti dinner with the team from Childress, TX
  • 9:00pm - Most of us went to bed in prep for Monday's first build!

The Gathering
Meeting up in Atlanta
     The team started assembling in the wee hours of the morning at Washington Church of Christ to load the van & trailer that was graciously given to us by Mitchell Church of Christ.  After introductions and a time of prayer led by Doug Sydow, we made the 55 minute drive to Bedford, IN where we gratefully received four other team members, two which would go with us and two who would stay home but continue to support us in prayer.  We had an uneventful and sleepy ride up to Indianapolis airport.

The Air Up There
     We've now flown this trip twice with United and once with Delta.  The checkin at Delta was easy and quick.  I even had a 53lb bag that our checkin guy (who had a Bible on the counter behind him for his morning study) allowed through without extra charge. Our flight over the Gulf of Mexico had free movies (another bonus over United) which explains why you see so many people with headphones in.  This was Luke's first time on a plane, although you couldn't tell from his laid-back non-chalant demeanor.  The landing in Tegucigalpa (one of the most dangerous landings in the world) was the easiest and calmest yet for me.
Beautiful clouds outside Luke's window
Our gentle giants, Luke and Jaden
A dynamic duo father & son, Charles & Elmer
Luke's first flight
Erin & Emma
Free movies and sleep time
A view over Cuba
Realtime map telling of an hour to go on the flight
Charles and Jaden, resting up
Emma & Sadie
Dan Kerr
Luke Sydow's much needed sunglasses
Erin Deckard
Some stats of the trip
Into Honduras
Chad Marshall at customs
     Our check-in at customs took a while, which explains why I played with the camera getting a few up close and personal facial shots.  We were let through relatively unscathed although my checked bag got searched because of the busting of a small bottle of Germex.  Keep those stored in an inward part, not in the outside pocket of your suitcase. We met up immediately with the TX group one of our hosts, Nicole Fitzgerald and her youngest, Emma.  We were able to exchange funds with Charlie, a Honduran well known by our host who could impressively calculate quickly and easily the exchange rates in his head.

Dan Kerr in customs

Emma & Sadie

Graber family, Emma, Elmer, Charles

Bryan Cox

Erin Smiles

Thumbs up from Dan Kerr

A shot of me in Luke's glasses

Emma Fitzgerald after we land

Emma Fitzgerald after we land
Ryan Bean & George Hensley
Randy Porter

Tough Chicken
A view from Chino's van.
Ryan, George, & Charles in Chino's van.
Paige & Dave in Chino's van.
     Chino (a Honduran nicknamed "Chinese" because of his narrow eyes) picked us up in an extended van and drove us to a nearby food establishment.  It was an American style fast food eatery outside the airport specializing in chicken sandwiches.  The armed guard at stationed next to the door let us know this was still not America even though the restaurant looked similar.  Some of our people shared their meals with local Hondurans outside.  We saw one sad moment through the restaurant window when a young boy (maybe 10 years old) who had received a meal from us had it slapped out of his hands by an older boy (maybe 13) in a group outside.  The food remained littered on the ground as the younger dared not pick it up in front of his peer group.  Thus our entry into a very different culture had begun.

La Colonia
     We usually begin our shopping at the Maxi Despensia supermarket, but Nicole recommended La Colonia instead this year.  We found this market (which was only 5 minutes out of our way) to be easier to shop, easier to on the bus for parking, and full of helpful Hondurans.  Since I brought my own lunches in my suitcase in the form of MREs (thanks Garth Riffey, for donating to me and others on the trip), I stayed at the front of the store, photographed, and observed.  I had missed this place and this beautiful people.  The joy of being in Honduras was just starting to overtake my mental calculations of administrative duties for this trip.
La Colonia mega, best shopping around

Erin stocks up on Pringles

Graber family shopping

Dave Cleavinger preparing for lunches

The back of our shirts, Graber's in checkout line

The Mission House
     Being my third year, I didn't take any pictures on the trip to Ojojona, choosing to reserve my photos for more with people in them.  Many others from our team were hanging out the window amazed at the stark contrast in living conditions compared to capital cities in America.  We arrived safely in Ojojona due to Chino's excellent driving to meet up with a lot of people who would become like family to us this week.  First were Terri Tindall & Matt Fitzgerald, who along with Nicole, were the primary administrators of the mission effort.  Then we met three wonderful interns for the summer in Dan Jones, Leigh Allen, and Lydia Lockner.  We had already met the amazing Leigh two years ago when she was a senior youth group member out of a church in Baton Rouge, LA on her summer mission trip to Honduras.  She was a great intern this week and a huge blessing to our group.  It was great to see her again.
Emma, Emma, Sadie, and Erin enjoying food.

Group from Childress, TX

Luke, Jaden, Janet, & Parker

Bryan and new friends from Texas

More from Childress, Tx.

Highlight of our day, seeing Karol and Kelin doing well.  

     Two of the most welcomed that we met with were Karol and Kelin Izcano Cruz.  These two young Honduran translators have been an inspiration to us all over the years with their strong work ethic, care for others, willingness to serve, beautiful smiles, funny intellect, and Christ focused life.  It was a joy just to see them, although we would spend relatively little time with them on this trip.
    Dinner was a wonderful spaghetti with sides, which put our newbies at ease eating their first Honduran foods.  It was good to see our cooks, Enerida and Yessinia again.  We enjoyed an evening devotional with the group from Childress Church of Christ in Childress, TX.  The speaker, John, spoke primarily from the book of James about being "Doers" not just in Honduras, but when we arrive back home too.  It was a pleasure to see Trey Morgan again as he led this group.  Finally, our early morning rise had taken it's toal, on us as most of the team bedded down in our bunk bed laden rooms.  A few of us looking for a little extra adventure enjoyed pitching our hammocks outside, which is an adventure for another blog post.  Our first day ended with everything going smoothly and God blessing us with wonderful friends, family reunions, fellowship, food, and now rest.


To download full high resolution photos or order prints from Day 1, you may do so here.
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