Finally, Cofradia

Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Friday, August 4, 2006


August 3, 2006 - evening

I would be lying if I acted as though everything here has gone well and that things are just peachy. I won't get into all of those specifics just now, although I imagine some of them might squeak through in this log. In an email last week, a buddy of mine wrote, "...but we're all dying for a flippin' update. Throw us a freakin' bone!" Please accept my apologies, all of you who have offered support in so many ways and waited so patiently for my latest update.

So, finally, Cofradia...

The introduction to my new life, at the north end of the beautiful boulevard into Cofradia, was the center of town, "el centro," or "el pargue." It is a small park, with a good number of mature shade trees, numerous concrete benches, and a smooth sidewalk around the perimeter. There are also sidewalks that start from the perimeter at each side that run into the center of the park where all meet in a small square. These are the only level sidewalks in all of Cofradia. I have even seen teenage, or slightly older, young men rollerblading and chasing each other over and around the sidewalks of the park. This park is the only place in all of Cofradia where rollerblading on a sidewalk would be possible. There are certainly no streets that would be suitable.

The curbs of the park and any vertical concrete, such as tree guards or flower planters, are painted in what I would call fire engine yellow. There are only spots of grass, growing sparsely here and there, which is incredibly typical within any city limits in Honduras, that I have seen. It is, truthfully, a decent small park, that the locals use quite a bit, and perhaps the prettiest area in all of Cofradia.

As Wilfredo drove us to the volunteer house, I noticed several things.

First, it was difficult to believe the condition of the streets. I have never seen such disrepair. And while I have never been to a war torn city, that's all that came to mind. The first street from the east side of the park was probably built to accommodate two vehicles side-by-side, but that rarely happens as all vehicles must move from the left side of the road to the right and back again, in order to evade the constant barrage of craters. Throw in the occasional parked car and it has become a true-to-life obstacle course. This main street that heads one-way north, as well as it's complimentary south bound street and a few one-block-long east and west streets connecting them, were built with what I believe we in the states would call, "pavers." Interlocking pieces of concrete were used to create these streets some years back before Mitch. They appear to have been laid simply on leveled earth. And since that notorious hurricane it looks as though no repairs have ever been made. None. I really had doubts, during my debut crossing, that Wilfredo's truck would hold together long enough to get us all to my new home.

Second, all the buildings are made of concrete. All of them. I have since learned that most of the interior walls and quite a few of the exterior walls are actually built with cinder block which is then covered with a smooth cement. And because Pepsi makes a deal with every little ma-and-pop stand (know here as a "Pulperia"), many have been painted Pepsi blue and white. Actually, the blue and white buildings brightened up what seemed to be otherwise dirty and old looking brown, yellow, green, and pink painted, and numerous unpainted cement structures. The concrete sidewalk was the only feature separating the narrow and rutted street from these tiny painted storefronts along the way.

Finally, everything, not just most things, but everything, seemed stained with years of unchecked dust and exhaust. The beat up street, the old cement buildings, and the uneven and sporadic sidewalks were covered with "polvo" (pulverized dirt = dust). Curtains flapping in the breeze from opened windows and the heavy wooden doors had also attracted more than their share of soil over the years.

To sum it all up, Cofradia looks like a tired, worn down, little town with sad and neglected streets. Add to this, or perhaps Cofradia is the way it is because of this very simple fact: it's hot as hell here.

And, Wilfredo's truck did make it, as it always seems to do.

p.s. - You may want to look at the photos I've added to the last entry...
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