Waves, Crocs and Swamps ... on the Way to Ahuas

I've been itching to write about my trip to Ahuas since I came home on Monday... and yet, the daily details of life come and go, demanding all of me and leaving no time to scribble down memories.   This week seems to be busier than most.   I'm assuming the reason lies somewhere amidst my absence for 48 hours.

We live in Puerto Lempira, the largest town in the La Moskitia region of eastern Honduras.   The entire region languishes in a staggering level of poverty.  The only visible prosperity here is the industry running illegal drugs up from Columbia to the US.   

Our town sits on a large lagoon which connects to the Caribbean.   The lagoon also connects to a series of other lagoons which connect to many, many small rivers.   The trip to Ahuas started on a rainy Saturday.  Our boat was delayed by several hours.

Oh, but let me back up.   Angelica, a precious young lady from Nicaragua invited me to visit Ahuas with her... to see first-hand the need for orphan care, to see first-hand the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base where Angelica learned so much about Jesus, to see first-hand the people she has come to love.  (Yes, she is young enough to be my daughter, but who is counting??)   Honestly, a weekend away on an adventure is not common for me.  My last weekend away was with one of my best friends at a homeschooling Moms convention one year ago.

So, this trip is not 'usual Laura stuff'...   it was last-minute (I do desire to be more spontaneous!) and via a 2-hour boat trip.     At the time, 2 hours on a boat alone sounded really, really nice.

We found out that our boat was being replaced by another that they happened to find in a local town.   It looked OK to me.   At that point, with the approaching rain, I was just ready to get going.   We crammed 25 people into a boat that comfortably fit 14 or 15.    Ours is the first boat shown next to the dock.

One glance at the white caps in the lagoon and I knew that this boat was going to cause my past-40 year old body some pain.    I put my slicker over my head, hunkered down and started praying for all of my friends and family back home.   It was a sweet time of prayer while the surprise rain pelted me and my yellow slicker flew behind me like a cape. 

Right under my feet was a large crack in the boat that grew larger with every wave the boat crashed upon.   I imagined the boat cracking in two and me dropping both of my backpacks into the lagoon as I swam like crazy.    And yet, I was at complete peace with the entire thing.

Almost an hour and a half later, we found the entrance to the river... the water became as smooth as glass and the trip changed into a scene from a movie.  I felt like the heroine in an Indiana Jones movie.   I saw herons, turtles and even a crocodile.     I thought of my Dad and how much he would enjoy this part of the trip.

A mere 30 minutes later we arrived at the embankment which required us to disembark.    Yep, that's how you climb out of the boat... right onto a mudslide with a huge backpack... ready to walk down a path carved out of a swamp - see below.

I am a clumsy person... I'm the one who always fell when crossing a stream on a tire swing.  I'm the one who could never do a cartwheel.  I don't have a good sense of balance, especially not with 30 pounds on my back and my beloved camera in another backpack strapped across my chest. 

And yet, the above photo presented itself in my reality.  There was no going back, the boat left immediately after we arrived.  My only hope was to walk the almost mile through the obstacle course above to the place where our truck would take us to Ahuas.    And so, with a smile on my face, and keeping a close eye on how the locals walked, I made it without being eaten by a croc... tick-tock, tick-tock.

Tune in to the next post to hear about Ahuas and the way God is bringing an international group of believers together to do His work in caring for vulnerable children.


Denise said…
I just read this to the girls. We had fun imagining the whole thing and wondered where(wished for) for the picture of you climbing that mud bank. :) Can't wait for the next installment!
Araratacres said…
Laura, there are just some times I really wish I could be you....and I can tell that this trip is going to be one of them. Can't wait to explore and learn voyeuristically thru your experience. hugs, Liz
Cynda said…
What a grand adventure! I had no idea what an adventurer you are! I am learning so much about you while you are on your adventures.
Anonymous said…
Wow, what a different view of the world you are getting now! I love your photography and writing.
I hope you have many more excursions that we can read about!
Hugs, Jennifer F

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