July 10th, 2010 I left home early in the morning to meet a man named Darren from Avon Park, then drove the Miami to catch a flight to Tegucigalpa Honduras. He and I met the rest of the CWE team and flew out that afternoon. Arriving late in San Pedro Sula, we offloaded the big jet from Miami and boarded a much smaller one for the trip to the Capital. It was a short flight but quite fun. Tegucigalpa has a short landing strip in a valley surrounded my mountains and the ride in is exciting due to the weaving path the airplane takes on it's way in. It was like a roller coaster.
We arrived safely, gathered our things and boarded a bus we had rented for the week, it was an old 80's model yellow school bus from the U.S. We had dinner at the Burger King across the street from the airport, then drove about three and a half hours through the mountains to the town of Alubaren. When I awoke in the morning this is what I saw.
Naturally my first thought was that I wanted to climb it, but that wasn't what we had come to do, we had come to build a bible training center in this small village in the mountains of southern Honduras. As small as it was, it was still the central point for several other villages in the area and the perfect place to train pastors from all around the area. We ate some breakfast then a few of us set out to check out the town. Here are a few photos from that morning.
Just outside the gate of the church building that the 18 of us had taken over to shelter us for the week.
The town square, notice no paved roads, just rock from the surrounding countryside placed on the ground and dirt.
A small foot bridge across the small river that runs through Alubaren.
The road on the other side of the river leading to our project site.
Corn growing in someone's stone walled field.
The new rest rooms built at the project site. This is typical of the area, showers on the left, a trough in the middle for clothes washing and bathing, and toilets on the right.
A two headed dog.
Not really, just a puppy staying close to it's mother.
We went back to the church where we were staying and got ready for services, which was being held at a house around the corner. This is the door leading into the room we used as a kitchen. This is where we ate and gathered together each day.
The rest of that Sunday following church services, we carried the tools and equipment we would need from the church to the project site so that we'd be ready to start building early Monday morning.
Monday started with heavy rain so we started a little later than planned, everything was wet.
Someone riding their horse up the mountain.
We had several Honduran volunteers working along side us, here are a few mixing the first batches of mortar.
It wasn't long and we had the first four courses laid on the first long wall.
We continued on that morning, accomplishing a lot. At lunch time we walked back to the church for lunch. Pictured below is stone street leading up the hill to where we were staying. (behind the green wall)
The day remained clouded and misty from the morning rain. Notice the bird on the power line.
Here are Steve (from Michigan) and Scott (from Tampa) working on a side wall after lunch, I think we laid about 900 block that day, even though we started late due to rain, and ended early due to rain also.
Each time I looked at this hill behind the building, it reminded me of the farm I grew up on in Missouri, the stone wall, the steep hill and the woods.
Tuesday was another beautiful morning, look at the mountains through the clouds, with the sun rising behind.
Mike (from Michigan) he brought his wife Linda with him on this trip.
Here are a few photos from Tuesday. The walls coming up.
Austin working with a Honduran Man while Mike observes.
Dennis, the Honduran man that lent his house out for the church services during the construction process.
Some men from the church putting concrete in a bucket, to be lifted up and poured down the wall for strength.
Measuring for the placement of the front door.
This little girl and her brother were walking down the mountain carrying a bucket and selling juice, she soon became the recipient of this hat that my brother had given me that my wife said was ugly. She loved it, for about an hour she followed me around with the biggest smile on her face. I talked to her a little bit, her name was Nichole. She was there about an hour, then she said goodbye and she and her brother went on their way.
A photo of the building Tuesday afternoon taken from the outhouse with me and a boy that had been helping us.
Walking home that day I took these photos. This one is the stairs leading to someone's house, notice they are carved out of the rock itself.
Here in the states, we put our names on mailboxes, this person put his on a rock, to the left is the walkway to one house, and on the right (where the dog is) is the walkway to another.
Wednesday morning Breakfast, looks peaceful doesn't it?
This photo was taken Wednesday afternoon, by then we had finished all the block, and poured the beams. You'll notice a steel plate in the top of the wall where the trusses will be welded.
That afternoon, about six of us decided to take another walk, we began walking west out of town when we ran into Dennis, he asked if we had ten minutes to spare.
He said he wanted to show us his farm, so we began following him down the road. Notice what he has tucked in his belt.
A few shots from the walk.
The cattle on his land and the plantain trees in the background.
While walking to the farm, we were looking at the mountains and saw what looked like a cave, Dennis told us he knew where there was a cave and asked if we wanted to go to it, of course we said yes and made a plan to do that the next afternoon.
Dennis is cutting up a piece of sugar cane for us to enjoy. I think the cattle like it too.
Thursday morning we began setting the trusses. Jeff is loosing the chain, as John and Tim steady the truss. On the ground, Dennis is tying the top of the truss to a tree so it doesn't fall over. Steve is in the background welding it to the plate.
A view of the building from my view as we were setting the trusses. Austin is below installing conduit in the floor.
Truss being hoisted over, notice Travis on the other wall, he walked that wall, I walked the other placing the trusses in just the right place to be welded. Tim plumbed them...
...as John attached the purlins.
Travis, waiting for the next truss.
That afternoon, we took Dennis up on his offer to show us a cave, the whole team, excluding one, went. We piled into two small trucks and started up the road.
I was riding in the second truck. The truck ahead is fording a creek, Oscar (driving our truck) got out and locked the front hubs at this point.
We stopped near a small house on a hill near a river, got out of the truck then started following a boy with a machete. The first step was to walk across this river. Of course Travis and I were the first to cross and here is the photo to prove it.
Most of the others were right behind us, four chose not to continue.
The boy cut a way through the dense vegetation upward toward what we were told was a cave.
After a pretty steep climb we reached this, it was only about 20 feet in, I don't know if that counts as a cave or not.
Just outside on the steep hillside we noticed a corn field. The people around here seem to grow crops anywhere they can.
Above the cave was a bluff that went strait up, like the ones in the earlier photos. I said to Jeff "Are you ready to climb the rest of the way up?" He said "That's got to be at least 50 feet", I replied" you mean, ONLY 50 feet" I turned around, and Travis had already set out to find a way to the top, without a machete.
The climb was very steep and dense, many of the plants were covered with thorns. We stuck near the rock face climbing up what vegetation we could find.
It wasn't long and we had reached the plateau. We later were told by the Hondurans that we were the only North American's to ever climb to the top. (although Honduras IS technically part of North America)
Once to the top, we located the side that faced the road and the river.
The three loco gringos.
The view of the valley. This photo shows how high we really were, the others are deceiving due to the telephoto lens of my camera.
Before reaching the top, we heard Scott calling us, he had followed our voices and soon was at the top with us. I set the timer again and took another photo, this time it was the four loco gringos.
Here are some of the photos from the top.
While up there, Jeff tied a white rag to a tree growing out of the cliff face.
Of course, I had to pose with it also. The idea was to come back years in the future and see if the rag is still there.
While up here, we called to John, who was on his way back to the river crossing and he took a photo from below, if I ever get a copy I'll put it here. It was amazing that he could hear us from way up there, but there is none of the noise that we hear every day at home, it was beautifully quiet.
We ran down the mountain and caught up with the rest of the group as they were still crossing the river. I took this photo with the telephoto lens from the back of the truck on the dirt road.
Notice on the left at the top, is a little white rag hanging in a tree. The cave is below the trees at the bottom of the photo and can't be seen.
Riding back into town following a fun afternoon.
We arrived back at the church where I enjoyed a cool bottle of water with a smile on my face, soaked from crossing the river.
We were scheduled to leave Friday morning around 7:30, so Travis and I went out early to explore the town one last time and see if we'd missed anything.
The police station /city hall, probably a good thing we missed this place.
We walked one more time up by the building we had started. Notice the dogs resting on the sand pile to the left.
Here is the building after four days of work. The following two weeks' volunteers will roof it, install the floor, trim out the electrical, and paint it. They'll soon have the bible training center they've been praying for for 22 years.
We still had some time, so we kept on walking up the mountain past the project. Here are a few of the sites.
This is where we turned around, the clouds are covering the valley where we had been all week.
Keep in mind, these roads you see are the main thoroughfares from town to town, the same type of roads we rode in on in a big yellow school bus.
We boarded the bus and left town about 8:00 that morning, on the way out we passed this house. It is the town gas station. The nearest filling station is a two and a half hour drive away. They drive there when needed and fill up bottles with gas and bring it up the mountains. It won't fill a bus, but you can keep your scooter going with it.
We drove over an hour through some rough terrain then stopped at this bridge.
We assumed it was the rest area.
Our bus. Notice the mud on the tires.
It felt odd pulling into the Marriott hotel in the nation's capitol in a muddy yellow school bus, but it made a great photo.
This is where we spent our last night in Honduras, it was much nicer than sleeping on the floor of an old church, with no hot water and an outhouse for a toilet.
We had dinner at "El Patio" a very nice Honduran style restaurant in Tegucigalpa. The steak was great, and it even featured a mariachi band.
Saturday morning I snapped one last photo out the window of the Marriott, this it the President of Honduras' house, I guess you could call it their White House.
This brought to an end another great trip with CWE.