An early start had our group leaving hotel at 5.50am and heading for the airport to take a flight from the capital to San Pedro Sula. In three hired cars we travelled to Omoa Cortés, a small community of some 85 families that is situated on the shore line of the Caribbean.
All things being equal it would be an idyllic and much sought after place to live but the uncertainty of the ocean combined with an extended rainy season makes it a nightmarish place to live. Houses, homes – basic in construction, dot the shoreline and run the constant risk of flooding if not total devastation. When floods come the only road for access can become unusable and dangerous, effectively cutting the people off completely, resulting in undoubted hardship and death.
We were met in a Community Centre that had been the local school. Surrounded by grass and showing the signs of flooding, the centre was not readily accessible. That said, a very large gathering met us there. You could not but be taken by and impressed with their resilience and graciousness. The loveliest of people. Language barrier aside, they communicated a lovely nature and were unquestionably welcoming of us all, especially the representatives of Trocaire, who have been a source of strength and solidarity.
One of the ways Trocaire has helped is by co-sponsoring with the local minincipal council and other religious and non-profit agencies, the development of a canal that can link the iinhabitants with safety. One man spoke of this and whilst grateful for the hope this offers his people he made the point that the boats they have can only take twenty-five people at a time and the return journey is ninety minutes. This time exposes his people to heightened risk.
They asked us to encourage support for their plight through supporting Trocaire’s Lenten Campaign which, in 2017, will focus on this community and its specific needs. We had the opportunity to meet the girl who will be featured on next year’s campaign box and literature. A delightful child and lovely family. Will come back to this again.
Later in the evening we visited Cuyamel, the name of a town and river. We met with a committee that is trying to reclaim its river from an international company who has taken control of its rights (committee would say due to corruption) and this has led to the devastation of the river. It was a very impassioned presentation and the need for support for this community and the protection of the river were at its heart. “the war of the future “, one man told us, “will be for water” and it was hugely impressive to see so many committee members there, men and women and especially the younger people.
As we left that meeting we met a group of young people who had been practising their routines for a marching band. Though they had finished their session, they agreed to play for us and played a number of pieces, the final one lasting over eleven minutes. I hope to put it on YouTube but signal not good enough to do that now. Watch (literally) this space.