At the beginning of 2015 I embarked on a once in a lifetime adventure that lasted 8 exciting days. I will try to give you a snapshot relevant to each day.
The first day began with a lot of action and emotion, alongside my friends and peers. Kris, our always friendly leader; patient, organized and a very smart decision maker. José Miguel, quiet and calm but rather tough on the bike, and super helpful. Moncho, alias Nairo, positive, bold, and very fast. Kristen, charismatic, friendly and persistent. Jonathan, a young leader and fast cyclist. Finally, young Marcos, the motivator, teacher, and reckless cyclist who also happens to like monkeys. It was a real pleasure to share this great experience with them.
Day one of cycling was exciting. We left at 7:30am. The ride was beautiful and filled me with joy. Children called out along the road, Goodbye! Hello! Do well! and occasionally, Come eat something! at vendor stations along the way. It was so much fun. On one of the downhills I feared I would take a fall due to a bus that blew by me, but thankfully there were no accidents.
The second day we had saw Pilo Tejeda sing Sopa de Caracol, Honduras’ signature song in the city of El Progreso. We rode on to San Pedro Sula in the rain. I met a very sharp girl named Amanda. She was from Hawaiian and had a particularly nice way of laughing and talking. Getting to San Pedro in the rain during the afternoon rush hour was a real challenge. The policemen who accompanied us sounded their sirens to give us the right of way, but the cars just kept trying to outrun us, and people in the street just shouted (some with joy, but most with anger because we were blocking the way)!
On day three I was full of energy and I even followed a group of professional cyclists for several kilometers. It was fun feeling like one of them. Then I saw a coconut stand and forgot all about the professionals. J Upon our arrival at Lake Yojoa we were greeted by beautiful silvery rays of light passing through the dense gray and white clouds. There was a refreshing drizzle, which made the lake look like a magical, enchanted place. I swam in the pool where I came face to face with some huge mosquitoes. I called them Dino-squitos! That night Transformemos Honduras presented about the role they are taking to transform education in Honduras.
By day four we reached Siguatepeque. In the evening we talked about our favorite food and shared funny stories around the campfire. Amanda, a Calvin College student, was responsible for asking questions in a very “Amandistical” way. I told a, frightening camp story with a surprisingly funny and unexpected ending.
The next day we were welcomed to the city of Comayagua. The colonial church opposite the park was beautiful, as usual, and served as a great backdrop for pictures. Unfortunately, a number of cyclists had problems with dinner the night before and had to stop several times on the way! Others, however, woke up energized and did not take the turn to Comayagua and instead continued to Tegucigalpa for a couple of kilometers before turning back! Kris and I took the opportunity to talk along the way. He asked several questions, many questions, lots and lots of questions! I was responding to one of the many questions Kris asked when suddenly I felt my rear tire sink into wet cement as I tried to evade a rectangular hole filled with fresh concrete. That was scary! No more questions!
On the second to last day of our adventure, we came to Tegucigalpa, the capitol. I spent a lot of time with a friendly man in his 70s named Gary. I admire his courage and positive attitude. In the afternoon I enjoyed seeing my friend Kristen put on her winning jersey from that day’s competition and dance on stage in front of hundreds of people in the park with a face as red as an apple, she was so excited!
In the last section, Tegucigalpa – San Lorenzo, the wind was strong and temperature low to start. I felt as if I were in a refrigerator. Then the temperature became very hot. Now I felt as if I were inside a sauna. We were all very excited and happy to arrive at the finish line.
Throughout the trip I felt God’s presence around me. Our prayer times impacted me greatly, and the yoga classes were great! I showed myself once again that with determination, family, and our powerful God, anyone can accomplish their goals no matter the distance, the mountains, the heat of the sun, the cold of the mountain wind, the rain or any other obstacle. I visited new places and met new people who have made me grow as a human being.