Well, we went back to Caliche. Yes, the one at the end of the trail that would kill a donkey. We went back to check it out as a place to live. The trip there was every bit as eventful as the last one, only this time I was driving. It was more comfortable, but more exhausting. It’s the only place in my life I’ve been required to use 4-wheel low to get there.

We went to Caliche with the intention of getting to know it a little better, and get to know it a little better we did. We went to the Pastora’s house (a lady pastor named Jesus, precious) with Pastor Erik who was going to preach that night. They didn’t know we were coming, but they were happy to receive us. Before we went up to the service that night, we took a little walk around the community. Let me paint you a picture, since culturally, we decided it was better not to take any real ones.

As you walk through Caliche, you are a 5 hour walk away from pavement, and at least 1 and ½ hours away by car. Within minutes after you arrive, you learn that the community buried a 6 month old child yesterday, due to complications from asthma, because the father was too poor to get him to a hospital. There are no concrete houses here. There are 4 houses of wood (14’ x 20’), all built for orphans and widows by HtH. The rest of the houses there are traditional adobe (mud) homes, many with dirt floors. These houses are fairly strong, but not exceptionally sanitary. There are parasites that love the dry mud of adobe homes and can cause potentially fatal heart conditions. 

Every path is peppered with manure. Chickens are in every part of every yard and home. Even the nicest homes have a room or two with dirt floors. Only a few homes have running water outside, and none of them have it purified. Most of the community has to walk some distance to gather water. There is no electricity, therefore, nothing cold in the fridge or washing machines. The majority of the people farm corn and beans, which is usually enough to keep them alive, but not much else. Every meal we ate was homemade corn tortillas and cheese, with beans. The smell of humanity and livestock is ever present. When it rains, there is no school, because the teachers cannot make it through on the road.  If the kids make it through school, their education ends at 6th grade and they have to decide to leave for “the other side,” or stay and farm.

At the Pastora’s house, we washed the dishes in the same pila that held the water that was used for making the food, and as we found out later, as a watering trough by the cattle, chickens, cats, and dogs. The bathroom out back was a glorified porcelain squatting hole barely hidden by a sheet; it’s roof so short that I couldn’t stand up straight. As we left the Pastora’s house to spend the night with a neighbor (since they had an unoccupied bed), we were warned to use this restroom before we left, because there wasn’t one where we were going. 

All this to say, this community defines marginalized.

Not all in Caliche is bad by any means. The people there are wonderful, happy, and determined to improve their condition. They’re hospitable, respectful, and hard-working. We are praying heavily about how we can involve ourselves in this community’s development. They are actively looking for support; making appeals to various organizations and the municipality for assistance. More than once, we’ve met some of them at the base of their road to take them to a meeting with the mayor. These walks required them to wake up in the middle of the night and walk 4hrs in the dark and rain, just to go to a 10 minute meeting. Needless to say, these people are motivated and are doing their part to better their community. We’re thinking and praying about how we can come alongside them, not develop dependency, and help them guide their development process with them leading the way in Christ. Please join us in this process.

Fun Note:

The return trip out of Caliche deserves a special comment. When we arrived, we were 3 (Stacey, me, and Erik). When we left, my little, purple, 4-cylinder Toyota had 2 white people in the cab. In addition, the bed of the truck contained:

  • 1 Honduran pastor
  • 1 Honduran child
  • 9 Adult Hondurans from Caliche looking for a ride, and
  • 400 pounds of corn

Altogether, we were 13 people, with well over 2500lbs in the bed, and all this on the worst road I’ve ever seen. The towing hitch dragged over boulders, through deep mud (some requiring more than one attempt to get through), up ridiculous rocks, through ditches and ravines, up and down real mountains.
We in America have been lied to about what vehicles can truly do. When we pulled out of Caliche, absolutely loaded down, I told my dear wife that if we made it out to the main road in one piece, I would write a letter to Toyota taking back all of the nasty things I’ve said about them over the years and praise them for their many fine vehicles. I will keep my word, and I will post a copy of it on this blog. I never ever believed I would say this, but…

Toyota is awesome.

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