Mimi and I spent the day with her friends Terry and Carol Mallasch from Arrow Child and Family Ministries on Saturday. SUCH a great day. Fun, informative, productive, relaxing, pasta-filled. You couldn’t ask for more from a day.
No. That’s not true. You probably could ask for more, but asky pants totally make you look fat like a greedball.
T&C picked us up at the mission in their truck (A truck! With SEATBELTS!) and took us to see a building the president’s wife, Rosa Elena de Lobo, is letting them use free of charge for office space. Sweet, eh? I’m kicking myself for not grabbing pics of the place. Green buildings nestled into a mini public garden, connected by winding sidewalks lined with old growth trees. *kick kick kick*
Basically, IHNFA (Instituto Hondureño de la Niñez y la Familia) has a compound of 12 or so buildings- near Mision Caribe, in fact- where they offer classes and community services for kids in the area. Of those buildings only 3 are currently in use, which is a shame because there’s so much potential for each of them. But if there’s insufficient funding and personnel to make use of them, well there you go; they’ll lay dormant. (I’m not linking to IHNFA’s website due to malware warnings from my browser. Look it up and proceed at your own risk.)
I won’t pretend to know a lick about Rosa’s politics because: I don’t know a lick about Rosa’s politics. Who she is, what she believes, what she stands for: I don’t have a clue. I will say, though, that I applaud the openness and forward thinking of this kind of offer, and am grateful for any instance the local government can provide which will facilitate the joining of people, efforts, and funding from non-governmental organizations, humanitarian groups of all stripes, missionary organizations, and independent contributors. This is about helping the kids, after all; there’s no room for the kind of regulation that keeps children in need from receiving aid just because of this, that, or the other political difference.
After doing a quick walk through of the compound we drove to Gino’s Pasta Café in Palmira for pasta and chocolate lasagna. We were greeted at the door by Gino himself before we seated ourselves in a private “reserved” room. Ah the perks of dining outside of regular meal times! I had the fettucini alfredo and am prepared to vouch for its deliciousness. The other three had the pasta pomodoro and spent the entire meal tossing about rave reviews of the sauce.
The chocolate lasagna we shared for dessert was everything one could possibly wish for in anything made with chocolate. Dense, moist, rich chocolate cake layered with sweet cream and a chocolate sauce so magically scarf-downable you’d swear you were eating Ghirardelli brownie batter. What you see on top of it in the picture above are toasted toffee crumbles the size of marbles, and the whole thing is swimming in more “brownie batter” decorated with sweet cream hearts.
Be. So. Jealous. Go ahead. God will understand.
Next stop: A mall. Don’t remember what it was called, just remember that it was kinda sleek but with very few stores, an awkwardly low number of people, and almost no one carrying any bags to indicate they’d purchased anything.
There are so many ritzy malls in this town considering the fact that so very, VERY few people here can afford to shop in the luxury stores that populate them. When we got to Saturday’s mall we walked up to the top floor, the 4th, to tour what is essentially a mini-amusement park. There are bumper cars, bumper boats, a ferris wheel, arcade games, pizza stands…
In a country where 50.7% of the population is below the national poverty line (with 70.4% below the rural poverty line) you really have to wonder how stuff like this even gets built. Money laundering is honestly the only thing I can come up with. Other ideas?
After our tour of the “fair grounds” we nestled into some comfy, leather couches and chairs in the front foyer near the Espresso Americano kiosk (of course!) where Terry and Carol treated us to coffees. Granita de cafe? Don’t mind if I do! Over coffee (and later over long-emptied cups) we talked for a couple hours about what they’re doing here and where they’d like to see things go over the next few years. During the course of the conversation it turned out there were even some things I could do to help! (Blog stuff) Excited to get started on that. Carol, Mimi and I got together at a McDonald’s with wifi the next evening (the night of the sinkhole storm) to get that project moving forward.
In other exciting news: I get to go take a shower. Now that the water is on, the pump is pumpin’, and the house isn’t crawling with folks after morning devotions THE BATHROOM IS MINE!!!