Milton and the mission house in Tegucigalpa
Milton, our fearless mission trip UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteer in Mission) coordinator, is obeying the quarantine order and is able to work from home quarantining with his sister and dog. Eight mission teams from around the US have had to cancel or postpone their trips and the earliest that the next teams MIGHT come is in July. Since it is unknown how protocols and security may change, Milton makes a new plan each week knowing that it will all probably change the next. For example, even if the borders open, if entrance requires a two-week isolation period, that would probably cause most teams to cancel.
While he is waiting on the world to figure out the COVID, he is keeping very busy preparing a lot of 2019 reports for the GBGM (General Board of Global Ministries) UMVIM office about teams, i.e. activities, ages, locations, churches, states and much more. He’s worried about his translators and others who benefit from mission teams. He says the economy there doesn’t allow for a lot of savings and so he prays that teams will be able to come soon to provide them some relief. If the upcoming medical teams cannot come, his biggest prayer is that some of those teams might be open to financing an in-country team of medical people to go out and accomplish the activity. He said that medical care in the best of times is lacking and is concerned that it is getting worse as a result of the curfew. He would love to be able to give baskets of food to the church communities they serve, but there are limits on what you can buy, like only 6 eggs or 1 gallon of milk. Even if he won the million-dollar lottery he would have no way of acquiring more than his limit of grocery items to give away.
In regards to his outside of work activity, Milton gets to go out for groceries on Fridays. When asked how easy it is to go out when you’re not supposed to, he said that last Friday he was stopped to show his ID a total of 4 times before he got into the store. Police presence is everywhere and diligently checking as well as store security at the door. If caught out on the wrong day you get a $250 fine. But he is healthy and waiting for time to tell what is to come.
The web page for the US embassy in Honduras (https://hn.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/) has updated information in regards to the COVID19 pandemic. The following is a summary of the madates:
- All borders (air, land, and sea) would be closed as of Sunday, March 15, 2020, until further notice and a total curfew was imposed.
- Aware of the need to obtain food, medical and fuel supplies and to access banking services, a system has been set for orderly circulation. Residents are able to go out on designated days based on the last number of their resident ID. They recently authorized the opening of hardware stores beginning April 16.
- These stores have been giving specific times and days that they will be open, mostly 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with customers over 60, pregnant women and persons with disabilities only from 7-9 am according to the end number of their ID.
- No circulation is allowed Saturday and Sunday, other than certain exemptions (National Risk Management System, hospitals, heavy machinery, distribution of food and gas) and showing letter of safe passage if required by authorities.
- As of Tuesday April 7, it is MANDATORY to wear protective masks outside of home and inside all establishments.
- Pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to make home deliveries
- Only 2 persons per vehicle are allowed and only one of those persons is allowed in the establishments. Non-compliance with this measure is subject to the confiscation of the vehicle for the duration of this emergency, as well as the detention of the persons on board for up to 24 hours, as established by law.