So, we made it to Zarabanda, Honduras. It is now 2100 on Friday night (25 Feb) as I write this. We don’t have internet yet, but think we are going to a café this weekend.
Staging in Atlanta (Wed 23 Feb) was a mostly reassuring things. Group work on things like what you’re your fears and aspirations, and hey look! Everyone one else shares them. We also did some paperwork and officially became PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees). We finished about 7pm, and went forth on our last night in America. Well, Jeff went out to Outback with 5 other PCTs for steak and beer while Sam ordered Indian and took a long hot bath.
We were up at 4am the next day to travel to Honduras. We left the hotel at 5, and all 53 PCTs had checked in and cleared security by 0630. It was a close thing, we cleared with only 3 hours 40 minutes to spare before boarding began on our flight. People slept, got food, played games (bringing Bananagrams was a great idea!), or played guitar. The flight was uneventful until landing, which was an exciting approach after circling for 30 minutes for “some weather to clear off the approach.” I’m pretty sure we flew by a tree that was higher than our wing while we were still well short of the runway.
Through the airport, and PC staff met us just after immigration. Gather our bags, through customs, and load luggage into PC vehicles, some more paperwork, and Dominos. Something I’d never seen before were little cardboard pizza plates, sized and shaped like a pizza slice. No wasting that part of the circle that the pizza slice doesn’t need. Then into an old school bus for the 40 minute ride to the training site in Zarabanda.
The training site is in the mountains, and was a good 10 or 15 degrees cooler than Tegus at the airport. It is a really pretty area. The staff welcomed us, talked at us a lot, but I was rather exhausted and really only remember thinking that they could stop selling us on the Peace Corps now and tell us something useful. We were dismissed to our families about 1630, and Sam and I live only about 7-10 minutes walk away. We have a pretty nice place. Indoor bathroom, electroducha, back patio with a great view and papaya trees overhanging. Our family is great, the food has been mostly good so far (nacatamaile? Yes please.) and I don’t understand what other people were complaining about mantequilla for, it is just crema.
Today was our first full training day, which meant up by 0600, breakfast at 0630, at school before 730 when the charlas, or presentation/talks, started. We had welcome, health, and a safety and security. The security guy defiantly did not pull any punches and is a long time pro. (20+ years National Police, deputy-chief INTERPOL in Honduras before joining PC 6 years ago) Some nasty statistics about the murder rate increasing 10-20% a year over the past 5. Really tried to help himself by presenting the stats in a scared straight kind of way. Looking at the numbers though, and I am not concerned much. Most of that is organized crime moving into major cities and setting up transit and as they are squeezed in Mexico and Colombia. More importantly, lunch was delicious! Rice, diced potatoes and carrots, and a bit of ground beef seasoned with cilantro. Que rico!
The afternoon was 4 hours of language class. I’m looking forward to taking my proficiency exam and being placed in an appropriate level. In my class of 9, several were pretty fluent, while one had almost no Spanish. I would get lost, and with not understanding would daydream a bit and have a hard time reengaging. Walked home with a few other PCTs that live near me, one lives directly across the street, and then to la pulperia for Coca-Cola and my first purchase in country. A pulperia is kind of like a small 7-11 or a gas station hut in what they sell.
It is now 2130 and Sam has turned off the light, and I know what that means. We have training Monday-Saturday, so we are up again before 0600 for more.
It is now Sunday afternoon, and we found an internet café in Valle de Angeles, which is a 10 minute bus ride from our house. Jeff bought a chip, (SIM card) so he has a phone now. The number is listed on Jeff´s facebook. If you can´t see it, you can email me. You can send us txts free through Tigo´s website here: http://www2.tigo.com.hn/templates/pop_msn.html
If you want instructions with pictures, read this blog post: http://27monthadventure.blogspot.com/2010/10/send-jill-free-texts-online.html