Wednesday was jam packed! After our visit to Sucre with a short tour around a couple of blocks we loaded back on the bus and entered into the town of Henequen which is a word that derivies from Anhenequen (sp?) meening misquito, which is also their mascot. Here we met Eduardo. I am still confused as to his actual title. He was wearing a clerical colar but no one was calling him padre/father. He might be a deacon of some sort because he is from the Roman Catholic church and is married. Anyway titles are only a part of who a person is. Some may try to discretit titles all together but the human race takes great importance in what to call someone. Weather it is 'mrs.' /'señora' or 'miss' 'señorita' indicates if a woman is single or not. A priest that has gone through ordination takes comfort and joy in the title of reverand or father and so does the comunity that looks to him or her for guidance and leadership. A short discourse, I will return to the the subject of Eduardo. He is a very passionate leader within this community. Like Sucre and all the missions that we visited this day there is a solid sence of hope and proven leadership within the community especially amongst the women. Henequen is working with two organizations, one being ___________ and the other being _____________.
With the help of these two organizations and the services provided by a conjunction of the Roman Catholic church and the Episcopal church this community has been able to organize itself to scrape together the next to nothing in reso
urces they have to create viable structures and community development. Our day was already feeling long as we walked in the dusty hot streets. Here closer to the equator the sun is in a larger and more intense form than we are use to. However everyone was sweltering under this sun including the locals. Eduardo took us down the road a bit to a site that overlooked what could serve as a make shift town, yet here these are permanent dwellings asembled from the same wooden planks that are salvaged from shiping flates. Eduardo's care and concern for this comunity is vivid and pure. He spoke passionatley to us of the scencere need to give dignity and a bit of comfort to these peoples lives.
Around this time we also visited La Mision Mary Magdalena. I believe it is here that we were treated to a really great looking lunch of fried fish and coconut rice. Unfortunatly I thought it wise to take another day off food just incase my stomach decided to retaliate. They were so very hospitable. It is so hard to keep in mind how much these people strugle to pull together enough food and resources for themselves on a daily bases and yet when a group of 16 or 18 (I lost count of our numbers) they come together give us a fan cooled plentiful lunch complete with Coke for those of us who couldn't risk the juice made from questionable water. We took this moment to just relax, diguest and talk amongst ourselves. A much needed break from the heat and running around. Either before or after lunch we were lead between a couple of unassuming buildings into a family recycling enterprise! It was wild to see this mini recycling center unexpectedly out of nowhere. We were told that it was managed and run by a single extended family. Each house-hold specializes in one material. One family goes around collecting scrap PVC (used for ___________), another glass bottles (that can be returned to the company for money), another collects tin cans with lids that can be used for storing paint, etc. This is an ideal business for this regioun, talk about resoursfull. They have cornered the market on trash. In Malombo to Henequen and most of these regiouns we visited we saw trash collectin in the local waterways along the street and in unocupied lots. This family not only has found a way to make some money they are also cleaning up their community, whether or not this is an aspect that has occured to them. The reason that their is trash all over the place is because the sanitation system is just not working. Father Gonzalo told me that they just don't know when the trash reseptor trucks will show up. These companies are private and are not subject to leagalities, so the comunity has no reason to depend upon sanitation and are simply acustom to throughing it away from their homes. It has been said that Colombia suffers from rural economic sprawl in the way that the further you get from the capital the less money, resources and care get to the people. So you can imagin on the coast these guys are getting the scrappings from the barrel.
Latter that afternoon, already behind on our schedule by a couple of hours, we arrived at Grupo Accion con Jovenes Pandilleros. This is a group that works with young people, mostly young men, who want to get out of gangs and drugs. We heard a lot from the leaders of the organization telling us about their programs and projects. They are training these guys to know how to make mops, develop urban gardens (which perked my ears right up) and other various labors. There is also detox available for those who want to get clean. Towards the end of our time we finaly got to hear some of the testimonials from the guys that were there. Rev. Matt asked what motivated them to get into the programe. The majority mentioned that it was for their children. They want a better life for their kids, better then they had know.
As the sun began to set we loaded back into the bus to head to Santa Cruz. This is were Estivan does his mission training. Because we were so late many of the parrishoners had to leave for work or home. I think at this point we were two or three hours late or something crazy like that. This is a lovely well established parish with its own church building. We were treated to a music from three young people and heard from the leadership of the parrish (all women). We also got to meet the oldest parishoner, something of a matriarch for the community. We were then treated to a big plate of fresh fruit, man was that good. By this time it was getting late and we headed back to the hotel were the conneticut group was staying. Audra and I ended up going out to dinner with the group and hanging out. It really was a treat to relax with a cool group of folks.