February 2016… As the wheels touched down on our Boeing 737 in San Pedro Sula, I started an adventure with no idea what an incredible experience it would be. I had flown from Seattle with fellow members of the Rotary Club of San Juan Island, Bill Hancock, and Paul Mayer, on a service trip to Copán, Honduras. On the plane with me were Rotarians I had yet to meet, from the Fidalgo Island, Burlington, Stanwood/Camano and Sedro-Woolley clubs. Roger Kelley, of the Burlington club, was there to greet us, and after money exchanged and bags loaded, led us on a delightfully grueling 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Copán Ruinas. Waiting at Hotel Don Udo’s were Peter and Carolyn Martin, in charge of the International Project Alliance (IPA), made up of clubs in our region, ready to put us to work.
A joint project between the Rotary Club of Copán and the IPA, we had come to Honduras to deliver school supplies and set up a mobile library for 18 schools in remote Mayan villages. Some Rotarians would help with the construction of classrooms at the 400 student school in Cabañas (pop. 2,500), and others would attend planning meetings and visit project sites for a wide variety of IPA projects. A full and busy week ahead of us.
On the plane were five large Tupperware totes full of Spanish language children’s books, that IPA member clubs had purchased and assembled, to be used in the mobile library. The Copán Club provided a book rack for each school, and plans were to rotate the books from village to village every three months. The amazement and excitement of not only the kids but their parents, when they saw those books was worth the price of the trip. Can you imagine seeing a Dr. Seuss or Dora the Explorer, or any book for that matter, for the first time? The Copán Rotarians had prepared pink and blue backpacks filled with notebooks, pencils, other school supplies, and most importantly… a school uniform, consisting of a white shirt and blue skirt or trousers. Those kids would be ready to start school. Without what was in those backpacks, the child would not be able to attend school, a requirement. A student must have notebooks and a uniform, and that is up to the parents to provide… or a Rotarian. In these remote villages, it is a challenge sometimes to put food on the table, much less buy school supplies. I went on two trips into the ‘outback’ to deliver school supplies, in a caravan of pickup trucks filled with whiteboards, bookracks, desks, tools… and the backpacks and totes of books. The villagers were all waiting at the schools. It was something to see the grateful and proud faces of the parents as they helped their kids on with their uniforms. I got the feeling that they were experiencing hope for their child’s future that they may have not had. These people were farmers and field workers, and I saw many kids heading to the fields with a machete instead of being at the school getting a backpack. So, when I return to my ‘land of plenty’ I will carry that memory of those boys and girls trying on their first uniform. In addition to delivering the goods, each school was inspected to see what some of their needs were. We talked to the teachers, and drawing paper was a big item. Many schools had latrine issues as Bill, Paul and I discovered at the school our club sponsors. So wish lists were made.
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Riding in the back of a pickup truck is the way you get to work around Copán, and I imagine much of the countries south of the Rio Grande, with sometimes as many as 20 people standing up, rain or shine. I had my turn in the back over those rough Honduran roads a few times when we went to Cabañas, about a half hour away from Copán Ruinas, to work on the school. I had signed up as I thought that my years in construction might be useful… until I saw the cement blocks. I knew how to cut wood and pound nails, and a lot of the finer things, but I was no bricklayer. And, those damn things are heavy. As was the cement, the stones we used to fill holes and the dirt and gravel we shoveled. We attempted to build a wall. It was quickly decided our talents were better put to use as laborers. I think we were a great help when not in the way of the Honduran crew.
When we arrived at Dionisio De Herrera, we found a two-story school built around a courtyard. At the back was the construction site. They were adding the classrooms to where once houses or shops stood. The school term was starting the next week, and the children were there, in their uniforms, helping to clean the grounds and setting up the classrooms. I noticed a boy shoveling gravel and wondered why he wasn’t in a uniform with the other kids. As I watched him during the day, I saw a fun loving and hard working boy. I asked our Copán guide why he was not in school, and she told me his name was Jesus, and he could not afford to go to school because his family had to pay for school supplies, the uniform and in the case of this school, he would need dress shoes. He was twelve years old and would have been in the seventh grade, but his parents had died the year before, his mother of cancer and his father had been a police officer and was shot and killed. He was living with his seven siblings, with no money for school, and working as an alternative. One of his older brothers worked on the construction crew as well. I decided to sponsor Jesus, purchasing the notebooks and other supplies, a backpack and uniform and the black shoes. It was fun because I got to shop with him and take him for his official school photo… not just send a check. Peter Martin enrolled him in the Rotary system, and I paid the fee for that and the school, which I will renew each year till he graduates, hopefully to a better world.
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My Rotary club sponsors a kindergarten and an elementary school through our membership in the IPA program, and many Rotarians sponsor individual kids who cannot afford to attend school. So, I left Honduras with more than just memories, but an adopted son. A few weeks after I got home, his brother posted a photo on Facebook for me of Jesus in his new uniform at the school. No shovel in sight.
THE INDISCRETION… for Grammar Ghoul Press
The Father stared, “Harlot!” Bloom of cheeks gave them away.
Young Man shrank from his reach and the ferocious bloom raised in anger.
The Mother cried.
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I’ve been wanting to write a story for Suzanne for some time… here it is. Tony asks for exactly 26 words, a story or poem using any form of the word “bloom.” Reminds me a bit of the glorious days of Trifecta, except we get seven words less. Thanks to curator Tony Lovell for the prompt. Shapeshifting 13 #46
- : a mass of wrought iron from the forge or puddling furnace
- a bar of iron or steel hammered or rolled from an ingot
- a : flower
b : the flowering state <the roses in bloom>
c : a period of flowering
- : a state or time of beauty, freshness, and vigor
: to produce flowers
: to change, grow, or develop fully
The illustration of the Young Lovers is a painting by British Artist Pete Marsh
SPRING PLANTING… a drabble for FriFic
The phone rings in a brownstone in Chicago…
“Hi, Ethel, what’s up!”
“Spring!!! That’s what, Cheryl.”
“It’s 36 degrees out, what makes you think it’s Spring?”
“The landlady is planting flowers and she always does that on the first day of Spring. But I don’t like her new planter.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s a porcelain throne, Cheryl!!!”
“What the hell are you talking about, Ethel? What’s a porcelain throne?”
“As if you’ve never hugged the Porcelain Throne, goody-two-shoes. It’s a commode. A loo.”
“For Christ’s sake, Ethel, speak English!”
“It’s a toilet, dammit! In front of my house!!!”
Ethel and Cheryl have returned to Friday Fictioneers! Rochelle threatened to steal this photo from TedBook’s DAILY PICS, and it looks like she did! To read more stories based on this photo or write one of your own, click on the frog.
I first posted this story on March 15, 2012… I thought it would be fun to bring back for St. Pat’s Day 2016… it was one of my first attempts at writing a Haiku…
Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco. Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene. He had just reopened the Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper. The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired. Franco had opened in a blaze of glory, courting the news hounds and the denizens of California State Government. Having just left a job managing The Fabulous Fifties Cafe, I was ready to mingle with and serve adults. So I went to work for Jerry as a waiter/bartender/manager.
It was a fun place to work, and we did some crazy promotions to try to make the Town House a success. Big lunch business, big after-work bar business. He kept a few Mexican items on the menu, along with the ‘Upscale Designer’ dishes he came up with. Each Happy Hour, we featured a Taco Bar, where the patrons could make their own tacos, to wash down with their Martinis and G & T’s. For me, that taco bar was a pain in the ass, since I had to leave the bar and run back to the kitchen to replenish the supplies. But the tips were pretty good as long as the food held out.
Each week Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY has a photo contest called Monochrome Madness. This month’s theme is something like ‘Where You Are’. This is our mode of transportation to and from where I am. Check out her blog and see other Monochrome Masterpieces. If you like to take photos, send Leanne one of yours. (this actually is my entry in next week’s contest, we’ll see which photo she chooses)
Here are the photos in their original state…
Huffing and puffing, Cheryl never thought she’d be doing this. Hated the outdoors, liked looking at it, just not being in it. It had all started with a phone call.
“Hello, Ethel. Before you ask again, remember Caller ID. What’s up?”
“Birds! Let’s go Birding!!!”
“What in the hell are you talking about, Ethel? What’s ‘Birding’?”
“It’s where you look at birds. They’re really pretty, and you learn a lot.”
“Really? Just what are we going to learn? And how are you such an expert”
” I got a book at a yard sale, it’s all the rage now. You go out in the woods and look at birds. I’m going Saturday; please say you’ll come.”
So Cheryl, against her better judgment, agreed to go.
“Dammit, Ethel! Slow down! I don’t like this mud. I see one more barbwire fence, I’m quitting. Are you sure you know where we are?”
“Don’t be such a baby, of course, I know.”
“Well, all we’ve seen are brown birds, I haven’t learned a damn thing, and where’s the pretty ones in your book. I need a coffee.”
“I don’t know; I thought we’d see them. I think the road’s over there, I’m ready for coffee.”
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I don’t think I’ve done a Sunday Photo Fiction before. My friend at Momus does and his will be SciFi, probably a star cruiser crashed in that field. When I saw this photo prompt, a story started writing. Go read Eric’s and the other SPF Stories also.
Rochelle is turning back the Hands of Time at Friday Fictioneers. Called, taking the holidays off… well deserved I might add. So, I dug back into the TedBook Archives and found the story I did for this photo prompt by Jean L. Hays. The date was December 28, 2012. Enjoy.
For my Friday Fictioneers friends, check out the original post at the bottom and see how many that commented are still with us.
THE CHAIRS… a Drabble for Friday Fictioneers
Chairs, or lack of… it was down to ergonomics now. Douglas had his proven recipes and even decided on the background music. But to lure people in, to clack away on the next Great American Novel, required comfort. And, Doug planned big. Soon maybe the next Canterbury Tales or something for Bollywood, as he would go global with his empire. Colors, fabrics, and shapes danced in his head, as did slogans, jingles, and logos.
The honking horn shattered his reverie. Doug slid open the window and put out his tip jar. The silver mini-van pulled up with his first customer.
A beautiful photo prompt this week by Rochelle‘s friend, Jean Hays, who created the Ab Fab stained glass panel. When I was in Sacramento, I lived on Fulton Ave. I wonder what is at 708? Maybe this coffee shop. Here are the 2015 stories on this prompt…
To see my original story from 2012, I changed a little bit today, mostly punctuation… View Original Story
Rochelle is turning back the Hands of Time at Friday Fictioneers. Called, taking the holidays off… well deserved I might add. So, I’m digging back into the TedBook Archives and bring out the post I did to this photo prompt byScott Vannatter. The date was December 20, 2012. Enjoy.For our Friday Fictioneers, check out the original post at the bottom and see how many that commented are still with us.
For our Friday Fictioneers, check out the original post at the bottom and see how many that commented are still with us.
Here’re more stories on this prompt… FridayFictioneers
Debra was a bundle of nerves. Her first party.
Janet and Rich had been over for Pinochle, but that wasn’t really a party. And strip poker one night, not a party… a disaster.
The ashtrays were out and the wine punch made. Scott had cut up the Velveeta and artfully stacked it on a tray. She was finally using the cut glass crystal they had collected, two plates at a time every Saturday night.
All the ladies had arrived, and her card table displayed the featured attraction. Time to get started.
“Hello, my name is Michelann… and this is Tupperware.”
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE…