Saturday began with a trip to visit Susanna who is the unofficial mayor of the dump community. She welcomed us into her home with open arms (litterally giving each of us a hug) and gave us an opportunity to see inside one of the "almost shacks" in which most of the people in the dump community live. She told us that she has lived in the scavening community for about 40 years and was one of the first people who came to this dump. The components of Susanna´s house have been scavenged as well. In places it seems almost pasted together from various materials that she found around. Her story is equally challenging. The mother of 11 children, only 6 lived to adulthood. In the space of just a few years, she lost her husband, father and several children. But she said, "what can you do but carry on. You must endure for the living."
Matteo, a Mennonite missionary from Pennsylvania, also welcomed us. He came to La Ceiba to work in a gang prevention mission, but soon found his way to the dump community. Now, three years later, he asked for a four-year extension on his mission, has rented a home in the dump community and lives among the people he serves. His mission includes finding employment, medical assistance, education and self'esteem for those in the community. He is a wonderful example of living your values.
Later in the morning we shopped for souvenirs at a wonderful little shop in town, then walked home in the heat of the day. Wow, was it hot!! The afternoon found us at a beautiful and empty beach. We just enjoyed being tourists for a few hours.
Last nigtht --FIESTA!! After a delicious barbeque dinner, we experienced a group of Garifuna drummers and danders. After the opening dance, the women pulled all of us individually into the dance. Then, in the final dance, we were all on our feet. What a fun evening. And most of it is on tape, so you´ll be able to see who the really good dancers turn out to be.
Today we get to be tourists again, visiting a beautiful island national park, snorkeling, swimming and eating wonderful fish prepared by the Garifuna people who live on a nearby island.