Thoughts from Madame Gumbeaux

Thoughts from Madame Gumbeaux

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Clinton, Louisiana (Sundays in My City)

Since arriving in the United States in the last days of July, I have been staying in a small town in central Louisiana. It was a soft place to land. Quiet, except for the sound of insects and the occasional coyote. There is a time for everything, a season for every activity. Soon, I move into my own home near New Orleans.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30The Message 

Unknown Mami
Sundays In My City are sponsored by Unknown Mami.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Fall Forest Edition: Friday Fragments

Finally, my friends, I am posting for Friday Fragments.  I have foregone Fragment Friday posts for what seems like forever. Never fear, I shall always find my voice, even if I fail to post as frequently as I should.

I live in Louisiana now, not Honduras. Right now,  a cabin in the woods is what I call home. This is the view from the back porch. Pretty, huh? Louisiana woods stay green in the fall.

Some days the forest is dark and strange. Thank God, I have apps on my smart phone to lead me out of the woods. Otherwise, I may stay stuck in a boggy place waiting for zombies to attack! Yes, I love the new season of The Walking Dead, which always has scary zombies scrambling in the woods after our favorite characters.

Other days are bright. I love my used-but-new-to-me sporty red car. It's nice to reconnect with friends and family. Soon, I am moving to more permanent housing near New Orleans. The woods are nice, but I do look forward to living in reach of mail service, garbage pick-up and HUMAN friends.

I see God even in the remote landscape out here in the woods. It could be a flower, a tree, or a red fox crossing a path. Whether I live here or abroad, there's the sense of wonder that calls me to risky living. (By the way, seeing a red fox in the wild is awesome!)

If you care to comment, I am seeking advice as well on switching platforms.  What are the cons and pros to switching to Wordpress? Should I stick with Blogger, forwarding my old url to a new one? Obviously, one cannot continue to write under the header, Honduras Gumbo, if Honduras is not part of the mix anymore.

Half-Past Kissin' TimeIf you were expecting frisky, frothy fragments, maybe you should follow the link to Friday Fragments at Mrs4444's blog, Half-Past Kissin' Time.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Suffer the Little Children (Sundays In My City)

Unknown MamiSundays In My City are hosted by Unknown Mami.

I am leaving Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Did you not know that? Every post I write has that pronouncement. Maybe, I am trying to convince myself. I seldom post pictures on this blog of the children. However, these kids have captured my heart and soul. I hope and pray the images will be treated with respect.

I published these pictures of kids who are not at the border hoping for a quixotic dream. These are the kids who stayed because someone cares enough to feed them, provide a place of shelter after or before school, give them medical care and most of all, attention and love. I know I didn't do this work myself. You helped. My Honduran mothers who teach, cook, and clean helped. That's the beauty of God's work - we function as a body, each part providing what the other part lacks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Friday Fragments are sponsored by Mrs4444.

I fly soon. I can measure it in hours almost as easily as days. With lots of last-minute details, my mind overflows with fragments. I leave the beloved country, Honduras, for the US. At least for now, I will live in a cabin in the woods in central Louisiana.

Today dawned cool and grey. I am wearing long sleeves and pants. It's the rainy season here, so the weather is quite balmy. Not so in the southeastern US, where I fear I may fall prostrate on the pavement as soon as I exit the airport terminal due to the extreme heat and humidity.

Does this look like an ad for a happy place? Seems crabby to me. 
I am leaving a land where the murder rate is number one, outside of war zones. Only Syria ranks higher.* I am entering a land that surveys reveal that the top 5 happiest cities are located.** The people are friendly in Louisiana. Happy? I don't know. I think they are just too polite to say anything else to Yankees who ask silly questions on the phone.

Yesterday, I enjoyed seasonal delights of the region, a few last splurges before leaving. Fried plantain chips with hot sauce, sliced mango, and fresh, warm corn tortillas. Today? Maybe I will find a glass of cool horchata. Definitely, I am packing Copan coffee to savor in the months ahead.

If you want to read more details about the fate of Pepe, the beloved Toyota, or the whereabouts of my monster-dog, please take a look at yesterday's post. 

Now, off to pack those last odds and ends.

*Source: NPR, Who are the Kids of the Migrant Crisis?
**Source: NBCNews:Top 5 Happiest Cities

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Racing to Gumboland

The days speed unnaturally toward my departure date from Honduras. The laws of science have been altered as the hours quicken, even in the land of perpetual maƱana. Today, I drain the pool. I will divide up my personal clothes, odds and ends. I will leave with 2 suitcases.  Later this year, a friend will transport a few things across Guatemala and Mexico. Kevin is a brave and faithful friend to many missionaries in Honduras.  
Tomorrow, el fin!, Pepe Burro will be sold. I have great affection for that Toyota Hilux. He has served me well through the years. The rental house will get a good scrubbing tomorrow as the last of my furniture is delivered to new owners or donated to individuals and ministries. 

Next week, I head back to Gumboland. What I will do I do not know. I will live, at least temporarily in a house in the woods. It's rent-free. Can't beat that. When I get to New Orleans, I will pick up keys to the cabin in the woods, then head to northern Mississippi to pick up the dog. Then, monster-dog and I head to central Louisiana, fending off wild hogs, ticks and rednecks among hundreds of acres of forest land. 

How long will I live in the cabin in the woods? I don't know, but I suspect it won't be for long. 

Stay tuned.   

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Children, Honduras, and Immigration

The frog sits at the entrance of the International Children's Museum in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Is he thinking about the mass exodus of children from Honduras and other Central American countries? Is he thinking of the millions left behind? 

Frogs, at least metal sculptures, don't think. I think. And, I think about these kids daily.

I don't want to state facts one can find in media everywhere. I will just state what I know to be true in my experience.

I know of no one who has sent children to the US border. I hear some believe that the journey is worth the risk, and asylum waits for their progeny in the Great Land to the north.

I know that fear of disease spreading to US communities are contemptible. Honduras has higher rates of childhood immunizations (slightly higher) than the United States. In all my time here working with the poor, I have seen one case of measles. I have not seen any other communicable diseases.

I know of hundreds of children who are not leaving for the border because they are receiving meals, education, and a chance for a better life through nonprofit and Christian groups working in Honduras.

This issue is complex. Of course, the US border must be stabilized. Hondurans, and other nationals of Central America, need to understand that asylum for minors is not guaranteed. And yes, we must consider the children and their needs, as well. Nothing will be solved to anyone's satisfaction without leaders stepping forward and making thoughtful, hard choices.

My hope is that leadership, strong leadership, in both Central America and North America, will find the will to tackle the issue of Central American children migrating northward. However, I have a stronger hope than that of trusting in nations', in leaders, or even in the good will of Christian people. My strong hope lies in the Son of God. I take comfort in the sure knowledge that peace will one day reign.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end. Isaiah 9: 6-7a

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday's Fragments

I am leaving Honduras to live in the US in a few weeks. Everyday I think of things I will miss about this country. Then, I stop.  Pause. There's plenty I won't miss. So here's a fragmented, no-special-order list of stuff that's flying around in my head.

I will miss....

1.  the guy on the motorbike who rides through the 'hood twice a day, selling his mom's fresh tortillas. What could be better than hot-off-the-grill tortillas sold by a cute guy on a bike?

2. the low cost of public utilities: my phone line costs about $7, my electric bill is usually less than $20 a month, and my water is a little less than $10 per month.

3.  the sound of children everywhere. Honduras is a young country. Children playing ball, walking to and from school, calling out to one another is a constant in this place.

4. the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables on sale on street corners and parked trucks all over the city and countryside.

5. the friendliness and good manners here. Yes we have notoriously high crime rates, but the culture is still a hospitable and open one, not completely frayed by poverty, gangs and drug rings.

I WON'T miss.....

1. the laissez-faire attitude about punctuality. I am from the US, and I like things to happen on time.

2. the little garbage cans by the toilets for you-know-what.

3. the complicated water system. If you have water flowing through pipes into the house, one must learn a great deal about tanks, pumps, water delivery days, etc.

4. the loud music pouring out of every neighborhood, church, market, etc at any given hour, day or night. It may make Hondurans dance, but I get cranky when I am confronted with amplified music day and night.

5. the slooowwww service in almost every restaurant, supermarket, or store. No one, I mean no one, is in a hurry here. It's just so against my cultural upbringing.

Yet, I will always carry Honduras and her people in my heart. It's a beautiful country, with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, islands, beaches, and even ancient ruins. I will miss her.

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Friday Fragments are sponsored by Mrs444.