Christmas in Honduras is not like you experience Christmas in any other place in the world. Hondurans have a very unique way of doing things and I actually love doing Christmas here. It makes Christmas in the US seem so boring.
Why do I say boring? Well if you ever wondered what it might sound like to live in the middle of a war, go to Honduras on Christmas Eve. There are so many fireworks cracking that you will sware that the place is being carpet bombed. Kids and fathers in delight are popping fireworks, sometimes entire rounds of the little crackers at a time. The neighborhood goes house to house, drinks homemade wine, you are fed endless plates of tamales, roasted chicken, baked or grilled pork leg, rice, and don´t dare say..´I´m not hungry´..just grin and stuff more food in your face. I don´t think a soul in Honduras falls asleep a minute before 4 am. Then the next day firecrackers continue to pop as the kids spend the rest of the fireworks collection they have amassed. The moms sweep up the mess the fireworks have left behind and warm tamales and warm leftovers with tortillas and Coca Cola or Pepsi and oftentimes Banana soda. I think today I was the only one who washed clothes and hung out laundry..I didn´t see anyone else with laundry hanging, but I couldn´t resist taking advantage of the breeze that was blowing and I have a washing machine so I threw a load of towels in and washed them. I also took a nap because I was worn out from being awake till the wee hours of the morning...that is when you really realize what being 38 years old feels like.
I received some Godawful news last night and all of my neighbors were around to keep my spirits up, hug me and pray with me for a few minutes. My oldest son Julio is being sent to Afghanistan in June. His job there will be to diffuse bombs and man a machine gun. He joined the Guard so we knew there were risks, but had hoped that the worst was over when he had signed so that he could get the college money to become an architect. Now we know that fate didn´t play out that way and he is going to war like so many of our sons and daughters before him. I will be brave, but I am a mom and cannot help but feel scared for him and feel like he is just barely over being a kid and surely cannot be grown enough to do dangerous things like difuse bombs. My husband to worries for him as he spent six years in service here in Honduras doing the same thing, diffusing bombs. He cannot picture this young man being sufficiently prepared for such a dangerous job. He said we will deliver it in God´s hands that he will bring him home safely.
What I was impressed with is there was no endless amount of support for me and my child and even though not everyone agrees with the war there or understands it, even I do not understand it fully, everyone was supporting me and him at that moment and praying for his safe return and commented on the brave soul and patriot that he is. With such a support from this community I have learned what real family and neighbors feel like. They have truly made Christmas have meaning to me that goes beyond presents and the latest toys and electronics. Many in Honduras do not have money for all the latest gadgets, but almost all of them celebrate Christmas and enjoy festivities with one another. I think every American should experience one Christmas Eve in Honduras.