Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Monday, 23 January 2012

Honduras: the capital of crime

I have mentioned that I have been a medical volunteer in Guatemala. When I signed up to volunteer in Honduras and SR volunteered to take the kids there with me, we clearly did not know what we were getting into. Honduras, despite being the country to the east of Guatemala, it is not like what Michigan is to Wisconsin.

Honduras has the highest homicide rate per capita in the world: 86/100,000 and continually rising. That means nearly 1/1,000 people are murdered in this country! Just to compare, Guatemala’s murder rate is 39/100,000 and the USA’s is 4.8/100,000 and Denmark’s 0.85/100,000

When I mentioned to the Unite for Sight coordinator that I was brining my family along, we soon realized that this was perhaps the first time ever a family had come to volunteer at this site – and sight-seeing trips to Tegucigalpa were not exactly encouraged. SR clearly would not be able to stand being trapped in a little room with two little boys for 10 days. And I was suddenly in the unthinkable position of being a mom of a breastfed little baby who needed to leave for 10 days. So I absolutely dreaded the trip for months. I became depressed (as alluded to in earlier blog posts) because I had committed to going but could not stand the thought of leaving little Mattias.

The more I read about Honduras, the more it worried me. I would need to be accompanied by a local guard any time I was outside of my room. There would be no freedom, no exploring. I felt so bad for the people living there and was consoled with the thought that perhaps I would do some good for these people.

I had nightmares almost nightly about my upcoming trip.

The Lorax and I sat on the couch two nights before my departure and cried, held each other. He had just three days earlier started in his new Waldorf school. He was just getting used to life in La Crosse and now I was leaving, his rock, his “mor” and now his “mom” and he understood entirely.


But then something happened. I was hurriedly packing, as always unprepared, as always panicking, but as always also making time to check email. And there it was: an email from Unite for Sight. They explained that the Peace Corps had that day pulled out of Honduras. There were too many security concerns for the volunteers. Crime has been escalating there related to drugs and often directed against foreigners. They wrote these words “we would understand if you decide not to volunteer in Honduras at this time”

YES!!!!!!!!! Yippeee!!! I wrote back after telling SR. I told them I would prefer not to go. (I am now scheduled to go, and hopefully with the whole family, to Ghana next February. It is so much safer there and we are starting to look forward to it).

After I was no longer going to Honduras, I felt alive again and happy. I honestly didn’t know it was weighing on me so much until the weight of it was gone. It was nearly 0 degrees F as we picked up The Lorax from school, but all I felt was warmth. The warmth of my boys. (I just started crying while writing this.) I had this desire to simply sit in the house for days with them and never stop being near them.

I could now look at the pictures from our trip to Mammoth and enjoy them, knowing SR, Mattias and The Lorax were mine, all mine, and I wasn’t going to die in Honduras leaving them behind. We are a family and I am the mom, a proud, happy mom!

Run in Yosemite - completely alone, mid January!

And the lovely new header picture is from Death Valley.

Just to ruin this sentimental blog post, I have to tell you what a week of altitude training + a little happiness has done for me:

I ran 3 20 milers in the past 5 days!
Wed: 20 miles in 2:22 (treadmill at 0% incline)
Thurs: 12 miles slow (treadmill at 0.5% incline, and same for all of the following)
Fri: 20 miles slow
Sat: 13 miles, just under 8 min per mile
Sun: 20 miles in 2:23 (again, treadmill at 0.5% incline), while talking with new triathlete friend, Lisa

Totally excited about these times that predict at big marathon PR (3:10???? dare I dream?). I am also so grateful to SR for suggesting I run at an incline on the mill which took the problem pain out of my left hamstring almost immediately. Now tomorrow: no running!!! (I have to force myself to take a break).


Diana said...

I had no idea that Honduras was that dangerous. It sounds like you made the best decision by not going. Regan, my friend who used to write the blog with me, lived in Ghana for a year and absolutely loves it there. Let me know if you need any tips. I'll ask her for you.

Wow, your running is going so well! So happy for you, but don't forget to take it easy and let that hamstring heal.

One last thing, your family looks so beautiful in your new header picture. So smiley and happy. I just want to kiss those cute, baby cheeks Mattias has!

Anonymous said...

Ghana is fantastic! I studied at Legon for a semester back in 1998 and travelled around the country whenever I could.

I felt safe and taken care of by the locals.

Malene (Danish)

mmmonyka said...

I like your new header a lot!

You have not done a proper research before signing up for Honduras?!? That does not sound like you!!!

Hope Ghana works out better.

Robyn said...

So pleased for you about having that load off your mind, and the new pictures are great!

Olga said...

Glad you are able to escape the scares of crime and cherish your boys, all three of them. I love the header as well, and congrats on solid runs! Great pictures, all of them.

SteveQ said...

You basically did the first 20 miles of a sub-3:10 marathon twice in one week. I didn't run that hard when I was running 2:40's!

I think I'd pick Honduras over some parts of Mexico. Or Wisconsin.

Grace in TN said...

Glad you are feeling better! In hindsight I hope you realize that next time you do not need an email to give you permission to change something that feels wrong for you and your family. You have made a great decision for your babies and I hope next year's trip is wonderful and fulfilling!

Kate said...

Oh, such stress! What a weight off your shoulders.

Hey, sorry for being a terrible commenter for the past several months - I do still check in here often.

DDitlev said...

3 things:

1.) Love the new header picture!
2.) Glad you didn't go!
3.) That Death valley shot makes me so jealous! ;)