Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bus stop

So, did I tell you about the guy who got his brains blown out? Ha ha, I know I didn't. If I had told this story while I was still in Honduras, certain people I know (hi mom!) would have freaked out with worry. And not without good reason, I'd say. Anyway, what happened was on the Thursday when we left the work site early to go to the home of love and life for the HIV-positive children, ten or so of us piled in The Van but our team leader and another guy went in the pickup truck with Indiana metalhead come-to-Jesus man. Well, the driver of The Van skillfully turned down some streets and soon we pulled up in front of Hogar de Amor y Vida and awaited the others in the pickup. They came and we went inside along our merry touring way.

Little did we know - until that evening - that our driver had steered us away from a sight that come-to-Jesus good ol' boy clearly showed his passengers: a San Pedro Sula city bus passenger who had just been shot to death in the back of the bus. It was apparently very much still an incident in progress. Our team leader described brains on the road. Pleasant, I know.

I know I've mentioned that San Pedro Sula is not a safe place. Gang on gang violence is most of it, and could have been the reason for this kill - retaliation of some sort. The other likely possibility is a certain dastardly thing the Honduran gangs do: board the bus demanding a "tax" from each passenger, and if you don't (or can't) pay up, you may pay with your life. I read in Lonely Planet that the latest president and government are really cracking down on gang activity, and that citizens are content with a few overzealous police crackdown human rights violations if it means stopping the gang violence. Makes sense. It made me so sad there; I'm so pro public transit, but I wouldn't advise anyone to take it there. Only, many people have to. It's just so wrong.

By the way, the buses in Honduras are old norteamericano school buses. Yup - the big yellow buses we ride are sent down there, and you see them cruising all around town with "Ruta 5" or whatever painted over such-and-such unified school district. I know you always wondered what became of your old school bus. Now you know. (And sometimes it sure ain't pretty.)

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