So we went to El Salvador. This week was kind of a whirlwind, meaning I’ve spent a lot of time in the car. The car rides here aren’t bad, or are bad- I think it depends on the type of person you are. Let’s see if I can explain this.
Honduras is a little bigger than the size of Tennessee, but it is mountainous. The capital city, which is about 60 miles direct from where I am in San Marcos de Colon, cannot be reached directly because each road carves in and out of the mountain ranges. Instead, it takes about 3 ½ hours to get to Tegucigalpa from where I am. This makes for a lot of early mornings and late nights, depending on our reason for going.
There really is only one way to get there, and it’s a two lane highway, one lane per side of the road. Which means sometimes traffic moves slow, and sometimes people don’t like that. There’s a tendency to just drive how you want, passing whenever and wherever. Now, I have never felt unsafe as a passenger, but other cars making crazy risky moves have cause me to feel unsettled. You could say all the rules of the road go out the window in a place like this.
It makes it easier that the countryside is filled with beauty. I mean, the mountains, come on. Every outlook is a new perspective. We will travel from 4500’ down to sea level in 30 minutes, then begin the ascent back up toward the capital. It’s not a ride for the faint in heart, or the weak stomach. My first time, I genuinely thought I was going to throw up, and Emilia kept saying “it’s okay, I can stop, don’t feel bad.” But this ride into the capital, I was thoroughly enjoying it.
And we went Wednesday to visit the doctor and research some materials cost from a hardware shop. I try not to fall asleep when I’m riding along, because I sympathize with the drivers who have to make the trek. The roads are tough, pot holes literally everywhere, people and cows too. It’s like playing real life Frogger. You have to be paying attention. And I feel responsible if I fall asleep, because they can’t sleep on the long drive, but rather must devote all of their attention to the road for my safety. I try my best to stay awake, and on this trip I did. I couldn’t eat because we were going to the doctor for my stomach problems, so I was too hungry to sleep, and we listened to music and chatted the whole way.
After visiting the doctor, eating a sweet meal, and collecting our information from the hardware store, we began the journey home. The afternoon rainstorm hit and our ride slowed. We made it back around 7pm to no power, and the tired me went to be shortly after.
Just to get up early the next morning again and head out for the next adventure, this time to El Salvador. We left at 5:30am and started the drive. The mountains were settled with a thick fog, making for a beautiful and peaceful sunrise as we headed down into the valley. After an hour on the highway, we veered off to the left to take the route towards the border. Crossing the border was trick, but mostly HOT. We went through Amatillo, which is a sea town, meaning 100 degrees and high humidity. We waited for an hour to get our passports stamped and the car scanned, and finally kept on.
I couldn’t help it, this time I fell asleep. The car ride to Santa Ana, El Salvador is a little over 6 hours, plus the time traveling through customs. We were heading this way for a meeting with a leather tannery, a prospective provider to our vocational school of materials. Once we got out of the forest, and into the cities, the drive became something crazy beautiful, like passing the huge volcano and fields of lava surrounding it. Something unprecedented for me.
Our meeting went quite well, and I was so glad to have taken business classes in Spanish, so that I could keep up, despite the language barrier. When we left, I felt that we had a good thing started with them, that the trip was worth it. Then we started home, got a little lost in downtown San Salvador, and eventually made our way back. We listened to music until the speakers died, and I knew we were all tired, so I started the questions game around 8:30, to keep us awake and the energy up. We talked through the last 2 ½ hours of the drive, learning about each other’s lives. To me, this was the sweetest gift, to be welcomed in and included like this by two men I really admire and look up to. It made me feel like I really belonged.
By the time my head hit my pillow, I was thanking God for grand adventure, that my health was under control, that we could have successful trips and even have the ability to do this as a ministry. Who knows where we will be heading next!