"Teatro in Time of Plague – 66

Monday, December 14, 2020 - 114, 359 cases, 2, 975 deaths

A cold front is moving in, leaving us socked in with cloud cover – leaving no hope of seeing the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction. Well, I saw it clearly last Wednesday. I spent the morning hunkering down with María (our bookkeeper) to see how we could find money to give people a Christmas bonus. It won’t be a fortune, but we found something at least. And then hunkered with Luis about the WEB page and the Christmas things we have up on it. I’m really happy with it. For English speakers: PLAYER 1 - and some colonial villancicos with commentary in English: PLAYER 2 - and another PLAYER 3:

And then in the afternoon I did what I could with the problem we are having with mail for our newsletters. From the one in March when all closed down (at least we hadn’t paid for the stamps) to one in June that never got anywhere to one in September which we sent from the newly reopened Progreso post office and which disappeared into a black hole. From that experience we decided to print and send from Philadelphia (donde my sister Pat lives) for the Christmas newsletter and just as soon as they get in the mail there is a massive snow storm in Philadelphia and mail is held up. So I sent out a digital copy today to what addresses I have.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020 - 117, 190 cases, 3, 034 deaths.

The cold front is upon us. It has been overcast all day, with considerable rain in the afternoon. Luis spent the day finalizing the edition of Navidad Nuestra and has declared it finished. I haven’t heard it yet, but I know that Edy is content with it. Radio Progreso is going to pass it 5 times on the 24th and 25th. That’s certainly blanket coverage. Tomorrow national flights will begin at the airport. I imagine that those are just the little planes of half a dozen passengers and that all the stuff of immigration and customs won’t be working yet. American Airlines has announced it will begin flights 14 January. The saga of the mobile hospitals struck a new note yesterday. 19 november (in the midst of the hurricanes) the last three (of seven) mobile hospitals arrived on a Turkish ship to Puerto Cortés. They are 29 containers each for the three destined for Juticalpa, Danlí and La Ceiba. They were in customs inspection forever. Yesterday they were transporting the containers destined for Juticalpa and one of them had a traffic accident and the unit was ruined. The organizers claim they are insured. But it sounds like it’s going to be a while before that hospital gets into working order. Saturday the 26th the one for La Ceiba makes that journey. No word on the one for Danlí. It is worth mentioning that only one of the seven hospitals which cost 47 million dollars is functioning, the one in San Pedro Sula.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020 - The official statistics page has not been updated.

The word is that cases have skyrocketed. That is no surprise; once the hurricanes hit, biosecurity disappeared. The national health authorities have taken to sending out universal text messages trying to get people to observe the biosecurity measures. Once the hurricanes left, Christmas shopping started, and people are clearly looking to Christmas as a relief after a horrible year. With Luis we got the year’s newsletters up on our WEB page today. Finally all four of them are available after all our mail odyssey adventures. Honduras has joined the countries prohibiting the entrance of people from the UK and South Africa. The accident of the mobile hospital grows more baroque by the day. Turns out the problem was overhanging branches. The module was the heart of the ICU, so the whole apparatus is useless without this module. Which is insured, we are assured. But how long will that take? It was clear most of the day but it clouded up in the afternoon and rained a bit – and gave us another cloudy night when we couldn’t see the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction.

Friday, December 25, 2020 - 118, 421 cases, 3, 060 deaths.

Yesterday was a beautiful day; today is miserable, rainy and cold. The big Honduran celebration of Christmas is the night of the 24th / 25. Tamales are the basic foodstuffs. Most people have a dinner in the evening and spend the whole night in family at home or visiting friends. All the houses are open for visitors – some people read the origin of the custom in the idea that we keep our house open in case Mary and Joseph show up looking for a place to stay. I had Mass in Pénjamo at 5:00, then went at 8:00 for dinner with Lizeth’s (Edy’s wife) family. I was (and remain) rather nervous about it. No masks and a lot of people. But it was outside and I kept my distance. Afterwards I went to Chito’s house; his daughter Karol (who works in San Pedro Sula and whom we now get to see very rarely) has today and tomorrow off. I was home by 11:00 and in bed by 11:30. Today we had an almuerzo with all the Jesuits. Radio Progreso has broadcast Navidad Nuestra five times yesterday and today (this version is 23 minutes). I’m satisfied with the outcome. There is a lot that could be better, but there is a lot that is good. The music is very weak. We just don’t have singing voices with the present group; that shows up a lot more in the recording than in live performance. Various other stations are transmitting it as well in various parts of the country, as well as Una Navidad en Honduras, our pioneering experiment in radioteatro several years ago. So we have managed to get pretty good coverage this Christmas in spite of everything.

Saturday, December 26, 2020 - 118, 659 cases, 3, 061 deaths.

Very cold and rainy – a miserable day for people in shelters. La Prensa says we can expect four days of this. I went downtown in the morning and again in the late afternoon. Very little activity both times. Everybody is nursing their hangovers.

Sunday, December 27, 2020 - 119, 713 cases, 3, 066 deaths.

Another cold day, although at least there was little rain. But once again we haven’t been able to see the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction. Today was my brother Mike’s birthday, and we managed a family virtual celebration via zoom. We managed to unite all the living siblings, as well as George Whitt (sister Mary’s widower – if that’s the way you say it) and a couple of the nieces and nephews. It was quite a pleasant celebration of a family Christmas.

Keep safe and wash your hands,





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