La Cocina


I am standing in front of the kitchen sink, looking out the window at the vast, green mountains of Santa Lucia, Honduras. Directly in front of me are the strawberry bushes, and further on out into the yard are the mango, avacado, lime, and guava trees. At the farthest right corner is a lattice structure for pataste, a furry vegetable that looks like a combination of a pear, a squash, and the mouth of a grandmother without her dentures. To the left is the swing, where my brother, sister, and I swing high and dream that we are rising into the clouds (and during rainy season, that is sometimes possible because clouds come into our yard).

I turn around to see the white countertops and the red ceramic tiled floor. Doña Elsa has just mopped, and I am excitedly awaiting her famous, fresh-squeezed limeade. I could (and often do) drink that nectar of life all day. My cake is in the oven, and I’m hoping upon hope that I’ve finally mastered the art of high-altitude cooking because flat cakes are, well, pancakes. Dad has brought some pupusas from the German restaurant down the street, and all of us eagerly anticipate a fantastic supper – one better than the time we bought a chicken and realized that somehow, we’d purchased and cooked either a rooster or a buzzard.

I hear my brother and Miguel outside, “mowing” the lawn with their machetes and laughing at the stupid dog’s antics. The power goes out suddenly, as it does often throughout the entire country (sometimes all at once), and the generator kicks on. Sometimes it feels as though we are a city on a hill – the one light in the darkness – when this happens at dusk. I think about how that resonates so deeply within my heart because that’s exactly why I am here in this place. After the worst hurricane to hit this beautiful nation in decades, after the entire infrastructure of Honduras has been set back thirty years, after mountains have literally crumbled, our job is simple: We are to be a light in this world – a city on a hill. We are to bring hope.

I hear the aluminum roof above me begin to sing as the rain falls, first in scattered melodies, then crescendoing into a roaring symphony over my head. I’ve heard this song before, and I know I’ll hear it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

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