Posted by: Jenny Rogers | August 4, 2012

A day as full as Thanksgiving and every bit as good

Each day here is full, very full. The appetizer begins as we climb in the van and leave to pick up our translator, Hermes,  in Comayagua. Hermes, as usual, has proven to be invaluable. His ability to translate more than words is a gift. He draws people into the conversation, broadens horizons and enriches the experience for everyone-Hondurans and Americans alike. We went into Comayagua to visit Valeria (Clementina’s daughter-in-law) at her store. It’s funny, because we knew she had a little store, but we thought she sold jewelry accessories. For the last few days, I had been meaning to ask where I could buy embroidery supplies, but I kept forgetting (the embroidery donations we brought were for the orphanage girls who are learning the skill, so we had already donated them to Reyna Paz for that project). We finally found Valeria’s little shop, Deco Ideas, on a busy street in the heart of the city. Imagine my reaction when we walked in and found a glass case filled with embroidery floss, yarn, crochet hooks, needles, hoops and the fabric required to do the most basic projects. Everything we needed was there and we spent L402 (402 Lempira or about $20 USD) on the five kits for the women of the village that are going to take classes through Clementina’s foundation. Hmm. I’m not really surprised. I turned to Gabrielle and said, “This is a miracle. You have just witnessed a miracle.” This is how it works! Communicate need, find the resource. It’s there, it really is, you just have to look for it. Sometimes, it’s right under your nose.

Then we headed out to the village. We had two major things to do: the art project at the school and interview Gloria. We already knew that we would interview Clementina on Saturday as we were running behind.

In 2012, I created a peace mural for the finale of a production I wrote and produced: Picasso Becomes You. We titled our mural The Port Huron Peace Project. 5 artists sat on the committee to create the ideas for the images and four of us painted it. We matched the size of Picasso’s Guernica and then some at 12′ x 25′. Our hope is that this piece (now entered in ArtPrize, Grand Rapids, MI) will garner attention and someone will purchase it or want it to travel. My plan is to tackle a peace mural every year. So this year, we are doing an international piece, again inspired by Picasso, so we held a short workshop with a sixth grade class in Cane to get their contributions: the doves that you see in the above picture. Beautiful creations!

Our time with Gloria was very interesting. As most of the women we have interviewed are a bit shy and awkward in telling their stories, I think we expected her to be as reticent. The opposite was true. It is if, at fifty years old, Gloria finally had to tell the world that she was real and she counted. Her story was ‘muy pasada’ [very heavy]. I won’t relate it all here, but let me tell you a small portion. At age twelve she had her first child and by thirty, she had given birth to eleven children. She has known suffering, pain, and poverty most of us might read about in the paper or hear second and third hand. She is strong and loving and has realized her dream for her children: that they would receive an education; one of her seven is a surgeon in Venezuela, the two oldest worked to help support the family and the others vary in what they were able to accomplish. Her dream? She said, “I don’t know if I have the courage, if I’m brave enough, but I would like to become [a midwife] or do massage or care for the elderly.” She likes most to care for others and becoming a nurse could satisfy that dream. It is good to dream.

Each experience on this day was like another course of a great meal. By the time we left Cane, there was almost too much to digest. It felt good and like it was too much at the same time. I am thankful for the gifts these women impart to me each day. I am beginning to see more clearly what has always been there. How we are all connected by our sameness. We are sisters.


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