Our first day In Honduras – traveling to the Hospital

The San Pedro Sula airport was no problem at all. While not O’hare or DIA, it was a clean, serviceable airport with signs and announcements in Spanish and English. Our concerns about going through customs with an entire suitcase of prescription medicine (donations for the hospital) were unfounded. When we walked out of the airport it was like walking into an oven; an oven full of wet towels. The heat and humidity were truly astounding. The folks here tell us that this is about as hot as it gets here. We sure hope that they are telling us the truth – ‘cause it is hot – around 90 degrees and very high humidity. Wow. We soon found the bus terminal at the airport (air conditioned, thank God) and got on our transfer bus to get us from the airport to the bus station.

At the central bus station we soon meet some other people en route to Hospital Loma De Luz and discover that they had been looking for us. I don’t know how they found us; I blend right in with all of the locals! Actually, the common assumption amongst the locals seems to be that Marinajo is a Honduran and I’m her American husband. The three hour bus ride from La Ceiba was long, but very comfortable. During this three hours we ride by some of the most incredible poverty I’ve ever seen. San Pedro Sula is a city of over 300,000 and Honduras is the poorest nation in Central America; you do the math. My Lord, just the bus ride is an education that you would never see in the states. It is so different to be there (even seeing it through the window of a bus) than to see scenes like these on television. Little children in the midst of great heaps of trash (no doubt rummaging for food). Families living in block houses that wouldn’t qualify for a shed in our back yard. I know that a good portion of the world lives like this, but it is in your face here – it is everywhere. As we leave San Pedro Sula and begin to climb up out of the city, the scenes of poverty and trash quickly give way to beautiful scenes of lush river valleys, banana and sugar cane crops as far as they eye can see. Green is everywhere, the jungle is right there. We now see scenes of small family units living near the road (in better housing, but still far simpler than anything we can imagine). Every river has several families bathing and washing clothes in it. Older children bathe naked in the river, a scene that would quickly summon he police in the USA.

The higher we get, the more beautiful it becomes. This is an incredibly beautiful country. The scenes of low lying hills, and lush green grass and trees are simply breath taking. Fruit is everywhere. Houses are painted with bold colors of green, purple, and orange. We are in a large, very modern, bus passing cars and motorcycles on a curvy two-lane road! Suddenly, it feels as if we have run right off of the road just before a bridge that appears to be under construction. Without slowing down much, the bus driver simply drives down in to the dry riverbed, around the bridge that is under construction, and up the other side and back onto the road. Later, I learn that the water had been diverted and that a “dirt road” had been cleared around the bridge for the construction.
When we finally arrive in La Ceiba we are met by a young missionary couple who help are to take us on the final leg of the journey to Balfate where the hospital is (about 45 miles). We throw our luggage on top of the Land Rover and sit on bench seats (inside)in the back. Think African Safari here – it is pretty much exactly what it felt like. The last 20 miles is over a very rough dirt road. There is an interesting traffic (speed) control policy in effect here. Anywhere that folks think that the drivers are going too fast, they simply build a dirt speed bump (hill) in the middle of the road. We’re talking 6”-10” of dirt piled up along the full width of the road. If you are riding in the back of the Land Rover when one of these speed hills are traversed, you are going to gain some air between yourself and the seat. It is inevitable.
After the longest day of travel in our lives so far, we finally arrive at the hospital around 9pm local time. God is good, we are tired, sore, incredibly hot, but we are here – thank God we are finally here.