Monday, March 28, 2011

Death defying acts

Yesterday started out as a normal Sunday.  We got up, showered, ate breakfast, and headed off to San Buenaventura for church.  Oddly, the service started on time, even a little bit early, so we missed the procession!  (Starting on time at the Children's Home is unheard of...)  We had Maribel and Fernando with us.  Also attending for the first time was an 11 year old girl (who shall remain anonymous for her safety) recently rescued by She Dances and living at the safe house.  She is beautiful and sweet.  I wish I could post her picture so you could see her sweet smile.   I don't know her story but I think it is safe to say that her life thus far has been a death defying act.

After church and lunch, Suzy, Maribel, Fernando, Lety, Sallie, Elsa, Lucy, Xiomara and I went to the CIRCUS!  Suzy and I had been to the circus in the US but the rest had never been to one at all!  None of us had attended a circus in Honduras!  I need to look up the Spanish translation for "easy mark" because that's what I was and all the circus people knew it!  (How, I wonder???)  My first clue was when we entered the Big Top ( or big-ish top.)  Everyone streamed in ahead of me and as I handed the man the tickets he muttered, "Ah.  La abuela."  (the grandmother)  Hmm... not sure how I feel about that although Leamarie loyally points out that women often have children at 16 so I could be an abuela and still be in my 30s.  We had bought tickets for the cheap seats.  (680 lempira for 8 people - approx $34)  Before we could even look for our seats an usher intervened and warned me that the cheap seats were extremely hot but for an extra 200 lempira ($10) he could seat all of us in the good and presumably cooler seats.  "Sure!"  Naturally, all the seats shared the same climate but we were in the front row! The Circo de Renato is a small circus.  One ring with the audience right on top of the action.  I swear the usher sent all the vendors directly to the Abuela...I bought 4 of everything!  Fortunately for me, the flashing birds, big balloons, popcorn, etc. only cost $1 each.  Phew. 

The ringmaster looked like some guy with a gut that just arrived in his street clothes!  No svelte elegant man in jodhpurs and top hat!  Renato was a barrel chested, middle aged clown who did just about everything...the clown acts, the animal trainer and even the trapeeze!  He was pretty "well-fed" and quite a site to see up on the trapeeze platform with the other young, body-beautiful acrobats.   The trapeeze artists each took a turn being caught and then returned to their bar, all but one successfully.  Renato did the same and then trumped the acrobats by doing it blindfolded!

During intermission, they brought out an elephant, a zebra and a sad looking tiger.  Just as the people in Honduras tend to be smaller than we gringos, the animals too were smaller.  Sallie, Lucy and I had our pictures taken together on the elephant (100 lempira, $5) then Sallie, Lucy, and Elsa each had their pictures taken on the zebra (100 lempira each, Abuela!)  The tiger was just to look at...

The most exciting act, a truly death defying act, was the steel sphere in which two motorbiker drove at high speeds around the middle of the sphere with one of their comrades standing, helmetless, in the middle!

They had a male and a female contortionist.   The female could easily get a job at the Kitten Klub or some such place...all she was missing was a pole during her "dance!"  The man did a contortionist version of Michael Jackson's Thriller video, complete with the MJ costume. This was Lety, Xiomara and Maribel's favorite act!  I think my favorite part was hearing the belly laughs coming from Lety and Xiomara!  They had a blast!  So did everyone else...

I think international circuses always have a bizarre animal act.  Years ago, my family went to see the Moscow circus in Madrid.  They had an act of house cats!  The Honduras circus had an act of camels!  Seriously, there is no question that God has a sense of humor (was that on Day 5 of creation?) when he made camels.  As they trotted around the ring, their upper lips flapped wildly!  They weirdly folded themselves up with their double kneed back legs and finally, each took a bow and left the ring!  Hilarious!

When it was time to leave, I had to pick up the photos I had bought.  Here's how that worked:  A crowd of people waited for a circus employee who ran up with a handful of 4x6 photos.  He would hold one up and wait for someone to claim it.  Fortunately I was the only one there (and possibly in Honduras) wearing white pants so I could claim the elephant picture easily.  After while, he had distributed all the pictures and ran to the back to print out the next set!  As you can guess, it took quite a while to claim all of my photos!

The final death defying act to report was today.  Mari and I spent all day (10 - 6) taking Maribel and Fernando to doctors appointments.  First was Maribel's ultrasound.  We learned she is about 6.5 months pregnant with Amanda Suzanne (!) and due on July 6.  The baby is healthy thanks be to God and no thanks to the lack of pre-natal care to date.

After lunch and a little grocery shopping we stopped by the public hospital where Maribel's aunt, Suyapa, was a patient.  Maribel wanted to bring some bags of water and money for food to Francisca, her grandmother.  I can't even describe how horrible the hospital environment is.  Francisca had been there for 7 days with Suyapa - the only nursing care Suyapa would have.   One wonders which is more death defying needing hospital care or actually getting it.

Next, it was Fernando's turn.  The pediatrician wanted to see him as a follow up to the last emergency appointment a couple weeks ago.  She was very pleased with his progress but emphasized he is still very vulnerable.  At 19 mos. he has had pneumonia twice and cannot afford to get it again. He gained weight but is still at 10% for weight (22 lbs) and 25% for height (27.5 inches)  She gave us two pages of medications and nutrition supplements to give him.  Mari asked her to look at Maribel's ultrasound.  Dr. Ana Rosa confirmed all looks good.  Suddenly Maribel was experiencing labor like pains.  Dr. Ana Rosa called the clinic across the street and got us an urgent need appointment.  The OB examined her and ordered a ream of tests.  He is worried that she has diabetes.  He gave her a prescription to stop the labor pains.  Next stop was the Farmacia.  We had so many prescriptions it took forever to get everything.  It will take herculean effort for us to dose Fernando correctly - very complex regimen.  Maribel's medicine isn't made anymore so no relief for her (prayers that she isn't really in labor.)  We finally straggled home at 6 pm, sweltering and exhausted.  All in all, the cost was 5350 lempira -- a month's wages for those lucky enough to make minimum wage!  And that was just today!  Tomorrow Maribel has tests and who knows what additional meds.  Fernando needs to be on his regimen for 6 months!!!  More insight into the plight of the very poor.  There is simply no way, without LAMB (and I mean both the Institute and the Lamb of God), that Maribel and Fernando could get the necessary medical care.   Living in extreme poverty is truly death defying every single day.  God have mercy.  Please let this reality sink in that hundreds of millions of people, including some in the US, live every day.

I want to end on a happy note so enjoy the pictures of the circus!

Newest circus fans!

Xiomara and Maribel with one of the high flyers!
Michael Jackson contortionist
Renato and the camels! Note the size of the ring...
Renato and the Ring Master!

Death sphere