Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The situation here in Gracias

Prior to the re-entry of Zelaya into the country, Honduras had returned to a peaceful country. In spite of the economic sanctions and visa restrictions placed upon the country, things had settled back into a state of normalcy around here. Now, that's all gone, as we enter a new phase of the political crisis.

Since Monday evening, we have had a nationwide curfew (with the exception of the Bay Islands, which had their curfew lifted sometime on Tuesday). Officially, that means that no one has been able to legally leave their home at any time since then. At this time, the curfew is scheduled to end at 6pm today, but it would be no surprise if it is extended for at least another night.

In the cities, where rioting is taking place, I hear that the curfews are being enforced fairly strictly. On the TV news, they are showing empty city streets (makes for some less-than-riveting television, but I prefer the shots of empty streets to the shots of rioters and police clashing violently).

Here in Gracias, during the daylight hours, the curfews have not been strictly enforced. There was a great deal of traffic on the road in front of our house, which is a major road bypassing the city, up until dark yesterday. Two of my daughters walked into town in the afternoon, to see if they could do some shopping. They said that most (but not all) of the stores were closed, and the city was creepy-quiet. They saw police in town, but the police were not enforcing the curfew. Allen and Russell traveled out to our property, and worked on the construction all day yesterday.

All of the international airports in Honduras have been closed until further notice. Tomorrow (Thursday) was to have been the opening day of the annual Honduras Missionary Conference in Siguatepeque. We don't get to go to this event every year, but we were planning to attend this year, and the kids were excited to have the opportunity to see their gringo friends (most of these friends they only see twice a year or so). Sadly, the event has been cancelled. Additionally, there is a major conference held in Honduras every year, in Copan, for people and groups who do humanitarian work in Honduras, and I assume this will also not take place, because of the closed airports.

We actually have a guest this week (she came to help with the conference, but flew in early to have some extra visiting time). With the conference canceled, she'll be staying here in Gracias all week, and we are hoping that the airports will re-open before this weekend, when her return trip is scheduled. She is the only guest in the hotel where she is staying. The hotel staff has mostly been sent home, since they are also under curfew, and without guests the staff is not really needed. We (along with the Hayes family) have been sneaking her back and forth from the hotel to our houses, so she isn't just stuck sitting there alone all day. Honestly, so far we really haven't had to be sneaky about going out during daylight hours, in spite of the curfew, but "sneaking out" just sounds more interesting. Since the hotel restaurant is closed and the staff is all gone, the hotel owner told our friend to help herself to the hotel kitchen. It's an odd but memorable visit to Honduras!

We spend our days trying to go about our regular activities, but I find myself keeping the TV on for news most of the time, and checking the internet regularly for information. We would dearly love to see this political mess resolved, soon and peacefully, but we're well aware of the potential for significant danger in the situation, so we are staying alert and informed. So far, there have been no interruptions to power, telephone, or television here. Faith's cable internet was out for awhile, but we don't know if that was related to the political situation, or just one of those outages that happen periodically.

Once again, it would seem that the US news is not reporting on what is taking place in Honduras. Please pray with us, now that you know that prayers are needed!


Laurie said...

Thank you for your update from the Sowers! I missed your "chat" online yesterday. It would have been a privilege to do so. My colonia is unnaturally quiet in the capital , with not even a dog barking! I wasn't keeping count, but I saw ONE vehicle all day pass my window. I saw ONE person passing early in the morning yesterday. Thankfully we have electricty, cable, water, food, etc. Blessings to you!

TexasHeather said...

Trish, I was on vacation and missed the news that Zelaya had returned. I am thankful for this update and praying for continued safety for you & your family, for the Hayes family, for your guest, and all the people of Gracias in general.

I am saddened to know that Brazil is hosting Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy.

Praying supplies remain stocked, and just that every need you guys have is met in abundance, even during this time of unrest.

Jennifer said...

I am keeping your family, and Honduras, in my prayers.

La Misionera said...

Thank you for the update on how people are taking the return of Zelaya. I too prefer to hear that the streets are empty versus full of rioters. It seems like it will be very difficult for them to solve this problem quickly, which is heartbreaking because of the effects it will have on the people of Honduras, and those who wish to travel there to do mission/humanitarian work. As of right now, Honduras Outreach Inc, who I work with, is not allowing any groups to travel to their ranch in San Esteban, Olancho. I was scheduled to move there next year as full time missionary, but am afraid the plans will be changed because of this crisis.

I will continue to keep you and all of Honduras in my prayers and I pray that all involved in the process will be given wisdom and empathy.

Psallite Domino said...

I'm praying here too, Trish! We have had only one or two bits of info from Tegus, and it was not the sort of news where you can say about the updates "no news is good news," kwim? I appreciate your letting us know what's really going on down there -- we will continue to lift you up!

Beth said...

Continuing to pray for you all!
All our love,
The Webb's