Today, I spent the whole day with the congregation of a small local church. Slowly but surely, we zigzagged our way to Puerto Cortez, the closest beach (and largest port in Central America). Our first stop was a temporary meeting point at a local gas station, where one of the cars had broken down. We jumped back in the car, headed to one of the member’s houses to retrieve some tools and then returned to the impromptu meeting place. Next, we headed to retrieve a cousin and her young son. Our fourth stop was on the side of the highway, where the pastor and his family were waiting for the caravan. A red truck that was part of our group carried five people inside and another six in the back. Our fifth stop was once again on the side of the highway as soon as we saw the ocean; there seemed to be some confusion about the exact location of our destination. Finally, we found a nice beach, fully equipped with a pool and a cement slide. Curiously enough, the “slippery” side of the slide was made from ceramic tiles.
As I got out of the car, the hospitality immediately began. Everyone was incredibly warm and accepting of the tall gringo who had recently entered their midst. After lathering up with sunscreen to repel the deadly Central American rays, I took a plunge into the Caribbean. The sand was an uninspiring brown but turned into little flakes of gold as the waves churned it up near the shore. My new friends and I shared lunch together, played keep away and enjoyed the natural beauty of which God had graced their country.
Sometime during the afternoon, I asked one of my friends what time the group was planning on returning home and he just shrugged and said he didn’t know. I’ve very much enjoyed escaping from time’s stranglehold on me here in Latin America. Seeing America’s obsession with time through the lens of fluidity makes the concept of letting a $5 machine, attached to one’s arm, rule our lives seem somewhat ridiculous. Certainly, time has its place, but maybe that’s the point… time has a place in our lives, but it shouldn’t rule our lives.