I rented a solid, white Mazda 4x4 for $45-day and I´m departing soon for Las Animas, Cedros, Francisco Morazan, Honduras. Why you might ask? To make my annual trip, 3rd year running, to visit my Hondu friend Alma. **See below. The town has no running water which complicates the whole bathing and doodying thing, so I´m mildly concerned and taking the proper precautions pre-departure. Not that I´m averse to taking care of business outside but everyone lives so close and its hard to find an appropriate place. Luckily, my stomach is holding up and holding in nicely. This year I´ve come prepared with TP just in case...
So who is Alma? Alma is a Honduran woman who left on a journey 7 years ago to realize her American Dream. She crossed Guatemala into Mexico and jumped onto La Bestia, the train that migrants use to travel north. This is not a passenger train but a cargo train. Migrants climb on top of the cars and between the cars and fend off fatigue, hunger, gangs, local thieves, Mexican authorities and the sudden change of movements of the beast. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, bad things happen here. Despite the danger, thousands of aspiring migrants use this train and put their faith in our Lord, Jesus, todo poderoso.
Anyway, Alma was lucky...I guess. She fell off the train onto the tracks and her left leg got sliced off by the wheels. The suctioning effect of the train pulled her in and sliced off her right leg as well. Gone. Adios. All the while Alma is conscious through the entire ordeal. She managed to pull herself off the tracks and 7 years later Alma is living back in Tegus and caring for 2 lovely daughters.
I met her in April 08 in Chiapas, Mexico. At the time, Alma was living at a shelter, Albergue Jesus El Buen Pastor which is a shelter primarily for migrants that have been injured by the train. Being that Alma is Hondu and I´m Hondu´s #1 fan, we became fast friends drinking coca cola and eating tortilla chips together. That trip I spent 5 days volunteering at the shelter and visiting with the victims.
Since then we´ve been in touch and this is the third time I´m visiting her in Hondu.
Although Alma is gruff with a tough exterior, for obvious reasons, she is also sweet, caring and a great mother. I admire her strength and fortitude, her will to continue on in the struggles of daily life. I would have given up years ago.
I will be back in Tegus on Sunday