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Meet the Veep, Part 2

Posted on May 30, 2006 by in El Salvador/Honduras | 0 comments

Another unbelievable day. We just returned from 2-1/2 hours with the Vice President of Honduras and his wife. They invited us to their VP home — which he pays for out of his own pocket because the gov’t won’t — and told us their story. He’s the first VP in Honduras in nearly 70 years, has enormous challenges to overcome, and sat and talked with us about sooo many things, I don’t even know where to begin.

I don’t know if you’re aware, but Honduras is facing about 46% unemployment. It is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — after Haiti. That’s bad. There are people essentially around the corner for you in Orange County or where you are, and they’re starving. Regularly. And yet, he (and his wife) are doing everything he can to get business going down here, to build infrastructure, and to change things.

God, I’m all over the place. Let me take a step back. The reason that we’re in Honduras at all is because Chris has funded a feeding program here that feeds around 500 kids every morning. (In our meeting tonight, we heard an amazing story about how much that affects the kids … I’ll tell you later.) And in about 4 hours — all the time I have to sleep, which is why I need to go to bed now! — in about 4 hours we’re going to see the feeding program first-hand, and I’m going to photograph it.

And so it’s the charity that Chris helps that facilitated this themeeting with Don Santos. (“Don” is like Mr., but what you use for a high-status person … so the veep is “Don Santos”). And the reason we got a meeting at all is that Doña Santos (Mrs. Veep) has started her own non-profit, non-government charity, called Abrazos Abiertos (Open Arms), which takes severly malnourished kids from the hospital — where you find them at this stage — back to a position of health. So we talked a lot about hunger, and the problems here. My level of awareness is already SO much larger that it was … like I said, I had no idea people were starving “around the block” from our little piece of heaven in the OC. I have very little in my life, and i’m not going to get distracted from my cause … but I have to find a way to help.

Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling. I’m tired, overwhelmed, and need to go to bed. But ask me about the VPs home, or security, or how much Chris can -still- manage to talk about himself in front of the #2 in a country (sorry, Chris!) …. or seeing the “Cowita” and having lunch right on the beach earlier today in El Salvador … or Chris’ mom and the amazingly bad timing to her need for tourism … or the flight into Tegucigalpa … interesting stuff … but I can’t write it all now, we’ll just have to chat.

Oh … one more thing … and I really shouldn’t say this … but damn …. Becky (The “Vice First Lady”?) is unbelievably beautiful. She is downright stunning …. looks like a mid-twenty-something model … and yet she’s so much more …. she’s a mother of 4, been married 16 years, running the charitable foundation that she’s started from scratch. Okay, I had to get that out of the way. If you see Rob, ask him what he was thinking about during our meeting … you’ll get a good laugh. I can’t say it in public.

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