It’s that time of year, every four years when passions run high and the political season is in full swing. There is a ground swell of political optimism about what could be, but only if the “right” party is in office. Speeches are made, rallies are taking place and cars with loud speakers mounted on the roof-top speed from one village to the next extolling the virtues of their chosen party’s candidate. Yes, just like in the US, there are blue (National Party) and red (Opposition) parties that command the most interest in National elections for Congress and for president set to take place during the early weeks of November.
Bob Sumner and Mike Tysowsky arrived in Honduras yesterday, knowing that this is the rainy season, the commencing of coffee harvesting and that there would be an influx of people arriving in the Copan Region seeking work. La Entrada’s population swells by about 10,000 more people during the harvest season. This is the time, characterized by warm afternoons with temperatures in the mid-80s and black, threatening clouds hanging over the mountains that will break forth with periodic showers and downpours throughout the late afternoon and early evening hours. Bob and Mike were not disappointed! Showers arrived about dinnertime with bursts dumping their moisture on the coffee workers—and the team too! The rain did not stop the vans and their loud speakers, darting off to any areas where people gathered to get out of the rain, to deliver their political message.
Today, being Sunday, the team drove over to Copan Ruinis, the town where the largest concentration of preserved Mayan ruins is located and (surprise, surprise) the town was inundated with pick-up truckloads of people waving blue colored flags, cheering and chanting their support for the National Party. This was the day chosen for their political rally and blue-toting, flag carrying supporters from nearby areas were flocking to the town’s Central Park to hear political speeches. It was exciting to see the throngs of people, waving blue triangular flags along with Honduran flags and a large contingent of revelers sporting blue and white t-shirts with a a portrait of their candidate emblazoned on the front, while helicopters hovered overhead and news vans provided wide-screen TV coverage. This was democracy in action! The crowds were well behaved, even though the narrow and wet cobble stone streets presented a challenge to vehicles and even a few “tipsy” celebrants trying to navigate to their homes or to other establishments. The cheering crowds were well-behaved, stores and street vendors were doing a brisk business and from our perspective, this was one of Honduras’ finest hours.
For the past month the Manos Amigas clinic had seen an influx of patients, sometimes numbering more than 50 patients per day. This is bordering on more than what a single doctor can handle. Interestingly, many of these patients had come from great distances, remarking that family members had told them about the respect, care and treatment they had received at the clinic. We believe that this is a positive testimony about the services provided by the staff.