Several months ago, just the right Ford for us came available via T&T Repairables, the same place we bought the wrecked gray Ford back in 2013. This one is set up almost exactly as we would have ordered it. We would have opted for vinyl floors instead of useless carpet...but greatly favor the double cab versus cab and a half platform. It is a bit longer than what we have, but nothing terribly new. It was hit in the side, but after repairs, looks almost new. And this week, after repairs, lots of waiting, taxes, shipping...we got to drive it back to Tegucigalpa.
There is still much to do...have to put the bars in the bed, government inspection to get registration and plates, insurance inspection to get...insurance, but the hardest part is at least over of getting it here. This vehicle was paid for entirely by short term groups...we budget as part of hosting groups a small part from every group to go into a fund for times like this...when we have enough money and have the need, we can then be able to purchase immediately (this vehicle would have been snapped up immediately had we not had the cash.) This is a huge help to the overall mission to be sure, but also something that we mostly need for hosting groups, another way to groups really pay for their own hosting. This took a lot of planning and patience, but paid off. Eventually we will do the same thing to replace the white Ford (selling it to help the fund) but probably not very soon...it is still fairly reliable, and the right truck would have to be available...and with everything we need, but without what we do not...they are not in great abundance.
So that is great! But what would a trip to the port be without a few more pictures? We decided to take two days to make this trip instead of the very long one day that would have been required, to make it a family trip.
One of things I was really looking forward to was our kids and Valerie getting to meet Madonna Spratt. She has been a missionary since age 26 (now 82) and is not planning on retiring. She is actually from a town very close to where I grew up, and we have a few people we know in common. She even knows where Geetingsville, imagine that. She has had some health concerns lately, and her husband passed a few months ago, but she possesses a memory that is better than most I know and hopes to be recovering soon. She lives in a small community about a half an hour from the port, almost at the end of the road (when it meets the river) and just a few blocks from the Caribbean. Hearing her stories from Africa, India, Honduras (where she has been for 32 years) and in between was inspiring, challenging, and encouraging.
Along the way, we spotted an Espresso Americano, which is not exactly uncommon in Honduras, but this one was a drive up location with outdoor seating like no other I had seen. The main office was made out of a 20' container, and they used another 20' shipping container for storage above and a covering for the drive up window (which has another side where you can walk up for service.) Inside the container...it looked cramped but like any other Espresso Americano. Very cool.
Other than seeing the port, getting to frolic in the ocean and swim, the other "exciting" activity was having lunch in San Pedro Sula on the way back, which although being a smaller population city than Tegucigalpa, has more in some senses of foreign businesses. Wanting to try something we cannot get in Tegucigalpa, we were on the lookout driving through and found a Carl's Jr. which is something we cannot get either in the midwest. As you can see...it was quite the swanky place. Offering a few seats on the second floor with outdoor seating I thought was interesting in a city with temperatures for most of the year around 100F or more. We opted for some inexpensive fare, but were quite impressed.
There was some excitement along the way as well...we were stopped at exactly one police checkpoint, and asked for the Land Cruiser registration, which was not where it was supposed to be...or in the vehicle at all. This was a time to remain calm and trust God. We were ready for losing several hours and facing fines. The policeman was very polite and understanding...but we were clearly in the wrong. After several minutes with no cell service for him to verify that we were in fact current with our payment for the year...he came back to tell us to get that rectified in the next city at the bank, that it was not really the right thing to do, but he was going to do it. I was dumbfounded. I had noticed he was talking to another policeman before coming back over to us, but had not given it much thought. That policeman came around to Valerie's side of the vehicle as this was wrapping up, and came over to shake our hands, saying "buenas tardes doctora!" He knew Valerie from his time working in Tegucigalpa and being seen at the clinic. Little Red Riding Hood strikes again. He was enjoying the hot weather up there (between San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortes) and the cool nature of his job versus when working in Tegucigalpa. You never know when you are going to run into someone you know here!
It is a bit bigger than some vehicles it appears.
It is a bit bigger than some vehicles it appears.