Poverty, gratitude and mercy
Yesterday we visited the mountain village of Cerro Plata (Silver Mountain). We drove up the last stretch in open cars standing on the road. Because of the weight and the steep mountains, we almost didn't make it up.
When we arrived at the mountain village, we were given a tour of Father Roberto González's greenhouses. After talking with the Dutch volunteers, we left for the poor families up in the mountains. The people are very poor and it feels like we are going to an attraction with our phones and sunglasses. People who go to the food bank in Holland are not poor compared to the people here who have 4 poles with some branches and a few bags of corn for the next 30 days. They usually eat once or twice a day. We had brought toys from Father Roberto González's house that were donated. That was pretty intense to see.
On the way back, half had to get out of the bus into the all-terrain vehicles since the bus could not get up the mountain. This is because it is a very undulating landscape here. After lunch, we drove back to Soná where we got into new host families. The family we have now is much poorer than the previous one. Jean and I both sleep in double beds while the family sleeps on the floor. That's exactly what hospitality is all about. They have everything to spare for us.
Today we again went in procession to the church to celebrate Mass. Now with all the Dutch since the group from trip A also arrived. After Mass we went to see the sick in the parish and the host families who have not been assigned pilgrims. We made holy water from a bottle of water and used about 250ml to bless all the houses, cars, remnants, stores and persons.
Then we had lunch and stream time. After the good conversations about the Bible and the evening Donner, we had the evening of mercy which began with a penitential celebration followed by worship where there was confession. After returning to the host family we met all the neighbors on the street which was a great celebration.