An artist must create…and when someone wants to buy your art, well so much the better. But one has to find the artist first. We left Omega Tours after our whitewater rafting adventure and headed down the road. We were told that a woodworker lived alongside the road and we should stop and see him. That’s the best part of traveling and being open to new things…you never know what you will find along the way.
Now you should know that this “road” is a rutted and rough, dirt road that winds alongside the Congregal (Crab) River. This is a rushing river between mountains with HUGE house-size boulders and it had just retreated into its banks again after a big rainstorm. There were areas of the road that were washed away and under repair. We had come up this same road in the dark the night before and I was glad that I didn’t see the drop off and the condition of the road then. Ignorance can be bliss at times. So we were slowly tooling down the mountain looking for the woodworker’s house.
I wish I had taken pictures of the inside, but I felt like I was intruding in their home. Just to the right of the entrance, we were shown a narrow area with boards as shelves to display his carvings. I love useable art! There were wooden platters shaped like fish and when we turned them over we found he had carved eyes and gills on the bottom where you would normally not see them…such detail! One of my companions spotted an interesting find and although I didn’t know exactly what it was, I wanted it. Too late! He had claimed this unique item that looked like a combination of a butter churn and a mortar and pestle made of wood.
It was about 3 feet high and was carved out of a log of wood. Little did I know it would find its way into my home as a surprise!
There were small wooden crosses and a carved and painted “cat face” along with wooden ladels and spoons. He had quite an interesting mixture of things…but not a lot of inventory.
I felt bad, but we almost cleaned him out. Perhaps I shouldn’t feel bad, because we left him quite a few American dollars behind. Artists have to eat too.
We had a hard time choosing what we wanted…heck I didn’t, I bought a lot! After all, I had an empty duffel bag to fill for the flight home. We had brought women’s clothing with us to give to women who live up in the mountains and have so little. So now I had an empty bag. Never give a shopping woman empty luggage…she WILL fill it.
When my eyes adjusted to the darker interior of the house, I saw a little girl and a small skinny puppy. The mother, a sweet black dog was lying outside. There was also a little mangy kitten. Seems like the animals here are left to fend for themselves and they are heartbreakingly thin.
The little girl smiled at us and we smiled back…the universal sign of friendship when you don’t speak each other’s language. I muddled through a simple conversation based on some really old high school Spanish…who knows where the words hide in your brain over the years. She told me the name of the kitten, but I don’t remember.
I just thought about my kitty, Lily, back home and wondered if she realized how lucky she was. She was a rescue animal too. I bought the “cat head” carving!
We admired his work and even ordered a large dugout canoe to display in the Resort Hotel area we have planned at Marea in Trujillo. The artist posed in front of his work area across the road from his house. I think he was telling me that he really didn’t work there much now because of the rainy season, but I was in awe of the rustic setup and rough tools he was using. He has an inexhaustible supply of logs, driftwood and trees that wash down the river and provide him with materials and inspiration.
So we loaded our treasures into the truck and drove on down the mountain to continue our adventure to Trujillo and to spend some time near the ocean, snorkeling and enjoying the beautiful blue water there. I love it that you can be in the mountains and then in an hour you can be standing on a sandy beach looking out at the mountains you just left. Honduras is a beautiful country with abundant natural beauty and we wanted to see all of it.