A new orphan family arrived a few weeks ago. One of the boys is in Lucas’s class and one of the sisters is in seventh grade and often stops by my classroom to chat. She is very friendly and apparently extremely bright. Apparently, the dad had been involved in a gang and must have upset some other gang badly. The family received a note that said all the family members would be killed. It was not an empty threat. First, the father was murdered, and then the mother. Yesterday, one of the older brothers, who works here on the ranch, went into
Tegucigalpa to buy his sister a birthday present. He was shot dead on a bus. I fear for the other children, and hopefully the gang doesn’t know where they are. It’s pretty scary. How do the children in this family ever come to grips with what just happened?
Again, thanks all who have donated to the project. It is coming along great and finishig in time won’t be a problem. The children are very excited about it.
This shows the pavilion and concrete court in background.
brick work to control erosion
Well, we thought it was, but it turns out to be a mimic!
A tarantula on our door!
It has been quite a week here between illness wreaking havoc through the rancho, and the BIG fire. It started on Tuesday back in the hills behind the ranch. The fire fighting boys (ages 12 and up) were sent out to battle it Tuesday night. It was never extinguished and continued to burn through the night. By noon the next day 100’s of acres had burned, and the fire was moving towards our end of the ranch. We knew something was up when smoke was wafting in to the school on Wednesday morning. In fact, the whole ranch was blanketed in smoke as the fire crept closer and closer. Everyone was called out to battle it, including fire fighters from
Tegucigalpa and the local army battalion, and boys as young as nine. It just about reached some buildings, but was put out there in time. The blaze continued on into the night. I went up to investigate and to find out how all the boys were doing. It was crazy. An orange glow filled the sky and you could see the flames working their way down the mountain behind where we live. Up in the hills it was like I imagine a war zone to be. Various fires were burning all around and smoke filled the air. You could hear various people shouting through the valley as they worked their area. The only thing missing was the mortar fire. The boys worked well into the early hours of the morning getting it under control and had to miss school the following day to follow up in some areas that were still burning (only in Honduras do young boys miss school so they put out a fire!). In fact, on the way to work the next morning one of the volunteers came across several of the boys sleeping in the middle of a path, just passed out from exhaustion. All in all, thousands of acres were burned on the ranch and neighboring forests, but no dwellings on the ranch were affected. I’m still waiting to recover from the virus that is sweeping the ranch, so I can run out to Tomale Queso, a local village, to see what the damage was there. It was quite a bit of excitement!
see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dII4v6tUEC8
So many boys back home spend so much time and energy lifting weights to make themselves look buff. What a waste of energy! If that energy could be put to useful work, they would still get strong, and get something done at the same time! For exampe, look at our Arca boys. They have never lifted a weight in their lives, yet they are totally buff. Why? Because they spend at at least two hours everyday working. Lately, they have been helping us with the posa project by loading up truck loads of gravel and unloading it to fill in our foundation. They love to show how strong they are by flexing their muscles for us, and they take great pride in the compliments we give them about their strength.
Elmer loading dirt into the truck.
We’ve noticed the behavior of the Honduran cat is quite a bit different than its cousins in the
United States. I’m convinced that the selective pressures on the house cat here in
Honduras have created a more skittish, and of course skinny animal in comparison. It makes complete sense if you think about it. The typical American house cat is usually neutered or spade, lies around the house all day watching TV, and snacking on kibbles and bits. Occasionally, it looks out the window at the birds and fantasizes about its ancestors’ wild bird hunts. After a few minutes, it’s time for another nap. The resulting obese animals are lazy, confident, big princes (and princesses).
Honduras there are so many dangers. Wild dogs roam around, snakes and scorpions are all over the place, its difficult to find food, and of course there are bitter battles for dominance with other cats. In fact, our youngest cat, Nacho, has been regularly hunted by a large tom cat in the area. His response is like no other I have seen before in my extensive experience with house cats. When attacked, he releases his bowels all over the place. During the last attack, he tried to crawl up between our window and the window bars. The hunter followed him and our dear Nacho let loose an explosion of cat poop all over the window. It is either an ingenious defense mechanism, or he is literally having the shit scared out of him. Whatever it is, it sure is does create quite a scene. We thought this was a one time occurrence, but it has happened on every occasion of a fight. Now when we hear Nacho howling in another fight, we yell “Oh Shit!” We are concerned about Nacho, but we may be more concerned about where we’ll find the poop splatter.
We are going to try to smuggle little Nacho to the States with us. Right now we are working on a counterfeit passport. We think it will be fun to have a little illegal alien in our household. Just wait until those American cats meet their Hondureño cousin. It will be a blast (or possibly a splatter)!
Nacho poses for his passport picture.