Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On the Go: Miracles in Honduras

El Amatillo, El Salvador – Honduras Border

It’s scorching hot. By 11am, I wipe waterfalls from eyebrows and arms. The dogs pant with intense urgency. Biela gasps and chokes air. The sounds of her suffering are unbearable. I need to make a decision quick. Stay safely in the car-turned-oven or abandon ship with everything we possess to find shade.

Biela chokes again…my hand reaches for the door.

We stand in front of a house next to a small convenience store. I can’t imagine people living so closely to the border…a desperate place. I keep an eye on the car. A person stands in the way of our passage: the policia nacional.

3 hours at Honduras immigration. Every step is bogged down by quicksand…unnecessary procedures that call for copies upon copies of paperwork, fees and taxes to be paid, people upon people who need to validate and vulturize (keep in mind, we’re only passing through Honduras, our final destination is Nicaragua)…

The dogs and I are waiting on the side of the road because the cop who pulled us over finds a snag and faults the dog papers…a missing stamp or some lame excuse that can only be remedied by greenbacks. Cedric loses his temper in front of this excuse-for-a-man; he will not bribe…no notes will be pried from his fist. Biela stands on her hind legs, growls and watches her human as he’s led away by leeches. Her tail drops limp no longer able see his familiar golden hair from the crowd.

Biela in the back

Leeches or expeditors (aka tramitadors) lurk in bushes as far as a mile from the border awaiting ambush…capable of suctioning onto moving cars. A long line of freight carriers clog the path as you enter the border crossing…the point of hijack for these men and women…their friendly smiles lined with jubilant betrayal…for they will do everything in their power to make things longer and more complicated; the benefit of doing things by the book. They’re part of the whole circus: the cops, the paper pushers behind counters. Everyone gets a cut. How a leech makes his way into your circle happens in a matter of a blink. Like an old card trick. And the next thing you know, you’re led by a leech that clutches your original copy.

tango of the tramitadores

The cop… this excuse-for-a-man stands in the shade, drinking fizzy orange…a hand strokes the gun. I glare at him, unable to hide the fire behind my eyes.

I pour water into a bowl. Manly and Biela dip their tongues surrendering relief to the cool shade. People pass us; everyone glued to the new museum display…gestures made to comment on Manly’s muscles, Biela’s holy whiteness. A boy wearing nothing but his underwear (it’s that hot) passes us as he holds his baby sister. A baby carrying a baby. I tell him that the dogs are good…los perros son buenos.

Cedric comes back in a chariot (the health inspector’s pickup truck) with the endorsed pet documents. He’s ready for war, faces the excuse-for-a-man once again…a hand strokes the gun. Finally, a handshake, and a warning…no bribe this time, but there will be others not so lenient.

crossing the rio into honduras 

Indeed, only miles later, we get stopped. The heart flares. I pray. The cop lets us pass. Grateful, our smiles beam from ear to ear. The worst is behind. My head throbs from dehydration and fatigue starts to surface. I take a moment to recover my bearings; a quick meditation is just what I need to reclaim my energy (find the meditation at the end of the piece). Thankful, I take in the Honduran landscape, a messy jungle that neither sways nor welcomes.

We’re one hour into the drive…one more to go. We’re almost there.

A car stops in front of us. 2 traffic cops…an older man with stained teeth and a younger, arrogant version…they motion toward our direction. We pull off to the side.

Lasso lands on calf.

Within moments, Manly and Biela are tied up. Leashes hang like nooses around necks. Bags are searched. A small statue of Saraswati (the Goddess of knowledge, music and all things creative) is uncovered behind clothes and tossed back… bags are left unzipped and dissected.

From the rear view mirror, a drawn-out chess game. Cedric’s face is lowered; his will although strong is starting to waver. He throws his anger and frustration at them like a handful of stones. They’ve taken his driver’s license. We must pay a fine for traveling without dog crates. He will not bend. A third traffic cop squats over a broken cell phone, he uses a twig to prod the busted brain.

Passing the car, a man in handcuffs is being lead by another pair of cops, this time from the policia nacional. Armed with rifles, they take him to a tree. The situation looks grim.

The only thing I focus on is what I’m about to do. I imagine a white light directed at a heart. There are walls upon walls of black. I can’t seem to get to the core. I visualize the white light pouring into the heart of the man holding the driver’s license. I must try and reach it. I imagine the white light exploding and enveloping his heart. 

“Pasaporte!” The younger traffic cop comes to me looking for leverage.

I shake my head; I play dumb. I’ve hidden our passports under my seat.


I shake again and again. You will not take my power.

“Where are you from? You can’t talk?”

He looks at Cedric and demands the answer.

“She’s from the US like me. She doesn’t speak Spanish.” A lie used to protect.

It looks pretty bad from where I sit. We’re in the middle of nowhere. Nothing prevents these men…traffic cop or national…they all seem corrupt…nothing prevents them from harming us. Is there hope for the right thing to still occur? And then. A miracle.

The permit is handed back and we’re allowed to go.

Cedric tells me later as we drive away that he tried to thank the older cop. A handshake turned midway into a brief touch…as if to show, I don’t deserve it. I’ve given up a long time ago.

I’m so relieved and exhausted. So grateful to drive away.

We reach the border, all too ready to leave Honduras forever. Before we can enter the immigration checkpoint, we’re told to pull over. Driver’s license gets taken. This time the issue is with a missing car registration document.

It’s 3pm. We started the journey at 6:20am…over 3 hours dealing with Honduran immigration just to drive through this damn country, another 2 hours driving only to be pulled over twice by rat-faced, bribe-seeking, good-for-nothing cops…and now, for the record, a 3rd time to test the theory…

Cedric leaves my side for battle. Amidst all the lies, the manipulation, the sheer bullshit…I’m in awe of my husband’s patience, his eloquence, his resolve, his will that is straight as an archer’s arrow…it will not bend, his strength and his crescent kicks ready to break bones. I’m married to one badass motherfucker… a warrior of light.

mr badass himself

Like shaking out an old purse, looking for the last speck of gold, I reach for what I have left and I give it to my Love. I pour the light into his heart, to keep him strong and protected. And then the cop. Again, walls upon walls of darkness…a black hole. I visualize the light pouring into his. My last attempt. 

Cedric comes back to the car. A look of a trapped bird…a look that only says, brace yourself.


Guasaule Honduras - Nicaragua Border

Behind the window, I wait for my passport. Minutes to an hour. I have nothing left. Nothing. Numb to the experiences that has been emotionally and physically draining. I’m angry, so angry I want to cry. But grateful. Exhausted. Pounded over and over by large waves. Empty. Forsaken.

“Amor…” I look over to a woman holding cold drinks.

“Would you like something to drink?” She winks. My eyes moisten.

I remember the ladies who wished us a safe journey as we stood in line this morning leaving El Amatillo, El Salvador. I feel the gentle touch of a hand extended on my shoulder. The man who drew  the map on sand showing us the way. The people at La Tortuga who waved us goodbye. The man who filled our tank to the brim so we wouldn’t need to stop for gas. The folks who smiled, throughout the day. Angels.

When I ask my Love what happened with the last cop and the words used to make the final plea...when hope was kissed away, as a captain bids farewell to his sinking ship, it was simply…

“I know you are a good man and you want to do the right thing.”

Light hits target. Miracles do happen.

By Mai Brehaut


Reclaiming Your Energy Meditation

Sit in a quiet place. Take several deep breaths. Imagine a bright sun over your head. Visualize what has taken your energy, attention or focus away from you (people, projects, objects). Visualize a magnet in the center of the sun pulling the energy back into the sun. Visualize the sun getter bigger and bigger, cleansing and purifying the energy. Now visualize a hole on the top of your head. See the sun pouring down a stream of light inside the hole, starting from the bottom of your toes, belly, shoulders, neck until it fills your entire body. Let it flow out and around your body. Thank your sun and send it away until you need to call it again.

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