Mercer On Mission

"Experience is not what happens to a person...Experience is what a person DOES with what happens to him/her"

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Yesterday was our first day after clinics finished. We were all excited to explore La Valle de los Angeles, San Pedro, and Copán. However, saying goodbye to Leslie and the staff at Hotel Camino Real was bittersweet. Leslie's hospitality was boundless and she treated us with the same kindness and love she treated her family with. The first city we visited was La Valle de los Angeles, a square with stores. Each store had a plethora of goods including unique hand carved wooden pieces and mini leather shoulder bags. After La Valle de Los Angeles, we took a bus to the Mayan Hotel, a modern hotel dotted with traditional art. Today, we flew to San Pedro and took a bus to Copan. Copan brought cooler weather but also brought rain. We got off the bus about 4 blocks away from Hotel Marina Copan and we splashed through the cobblestone streets until we found some solace from the rain at our hotel. After lunch, we had an hour until our tour of the Tea and Chocolate Place. On our way to the Tea and Chocolate Place, we took a Tuk Tuk. The ride was exciting to say the least. The cobblestone, hills and sharp turns made the ride reminiscent of a roller coaster. At the Tea and Chocolate Place's gate, the first thing I noticed were a pair of high pitched voices. As I cleared leaves away, I realized they were parrots--parrots speaking Spanish! As we followed the winding path and walked deeper and deeper into the leaves, we finally arrived at the entrance of the Tea and Chocolate Place. I followed a warm, nutty and smoky aroma and I found one of the staff preparing the cacao beans. She explained to me in Spanish that she was roasting the cacao beans and then unshelled them. The store was glowing with natural light, Sophia's photography, and little shiny containers of cosmetics and sauces. Sophia told us about the difficulty of finding a balance between "slashing and burning" and preserving the flora and the land in Honduras. Her family's effort to reintroduce many flora and introduce foreign flora to the land was incredibly admirable. We also had a mini lesson on botany and learned about the different plant species they reintroduced or introduced. Our noses stung from the pungent noni fruit and our mouths were refreshed with the leaves of a moringa plant. 

-K. Gania

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