More caminantes arrived in Irapuato on Saturday morning, 1200 of them, mostly Hondurans. Many arrived in shorts, without jackets or blankets or socks. Sneezing and coughing, eyes glazed over. One man had bare feet. The temperatures at night have fallen to the low 40s.
Government did not provide food this time but a dozen Caritas volunteers from the local church were there with pots of rice and noodles. Martin took us out in his truck to buy pollo asado, cartons of milk, and crates of fruit, mostly apples. Apples don’t grow in Honduras but the Hondurans we have met love them. They call them “manzanitas” in a way that sounds like a term of endearment.
By the time we returned to the site, San Miguel friends had arrived with two trucks full of donated clothes and packaged foods. My taxi driver and young friend, Hector, joined the volunteers chopping roasted chicken and scooping mounds of rice on to plastic plates. When the chicken was gone, he took me to Walmart and we bought every pair of trainers in sizes 38 and 39. There weren’t that many.
Late in the day, I hauled cartons of milk through the crowds to find families with children. It is difficult for them to stand in long lines. As I walked past a group of young men, one of them caught my eye. He spoke in Spanish but I understood him, as they say, in context. “Mommy, you brought shoes but you didn’t give me any. You said we must stand in line and I stood in the line and then the shoes were gone when it was my turn! Look, I have only flip flops! Mommy, can you help me now?”
A few feet away, a group of girls played in a small pile of donated clothes, giggling and tumbling over each other as they pretended to fight over a leather bag, a scarf, a pair of socks.
The Salvadorans are coming next I think.