12 April 2011

Time Spent in San Antonio

Sorry it's been awhile, I've been busy! Villa San Antonio is rather hot, but I've adjusted. I never thought I would want to put on long pants in the upper 70s, but that feels rather chilly now.

The health group is getting settled here. Comayagua is only a 25 minute bus ride away, and we've taken to going there on the weekends to have some change of scenery. Last saturday a group of us took the 1000 bus (at 1030) and spent the better part of the day in Comayagua. We ran into another group of aspirantes and some of us went to La Colonia, which is a decently stocked American style grocery store, got some lunch and had a picnic in the parque central in Comayagua. I had a baguette and ham and grape juice, and it was delicious. We sat in the shade watching the world go by with the occasional creeper walking to about 10 feet away, stare at us for a few minutes, then shuffle on. Not that different from any major city around the world, life goes on.

Sunday, I went on a trip with my family to a river in Otoro de Jesus in the department of Intibuca. It was about an hour by car. We left just before 8am and drove first to Siguatepeque where my host uncle and his family lives. (Siguatepeque is notable as the halfway point between Teguz and San Pedro Sula, a major transit route in Honduras, and most of the buses stop there for a break.) I met the whole family. They have two boys that are 9 and 11, I think. We played a bit of basketball in their yard, which was a nice break from soccer all the time. After a bit we all piled into two cars and drove to the river.

The river was gorgeous. Clear water, shade trees alongside it, a picnic area, it was delightful. They had built a wall in the river out of large river stones and used a bit of concrete across the top to make a walking path as well has help them stay in place. The water was able to flow through the rocks under the concrete, but it was enough of a dam to make a deeper pool than was there before. Beside the river amoung the trees was a picnic site. Concrete slab with cover, wooden bench and grill. We did carne asada on the grill, and had rice, beans, chismol and tortillas. Nomnomnom.
Unfortunately, the sun is strong here in Honduras. I currently have shoulders that are lobster red and are hurt just by wearing a shirt. It sucks. A lot. I had a difficult time sleeping last night. It will get better! Eventually.

Training is continuing, at times very slowly. My Spanish continues to improve, poco a poco. I am now ranked at Intermediate Low, and need to reach Intermediate Mid to be able to swear in in May. I know I can make that, but my goal is Intermediate High. I know I can do it, I just need to spend time studying the past preterit and past indicative, or whatever the two past tenses are called. Today in training we covered the reporting tool that we will use to record and report our activities. It didn´t take nearly enough time, so we covered ¨games to play with kids without much equipment¨ It turned into our class playing soccer for an hour, which was fun. The rest of the week we are going to learn the Ya Te Diste Cuenta initiative, which is a teenage sex education class, and on Saturday I get to go back to Yuscaran to visit Sam again.

Busy busy busy! Updates should be more frequent when I am with Sam, as she has the computer.


06 April 2011

Volunteer Visit

Jeff and I were out of town this week visiting two awesome volunteers in the field.  We were lucky enough to go to the same place, where there are already a health and business volunteer so we can see what they do and what the typical pcv actually does.  We visited Sarah and Julian in Santa Maria de Real just outside of Catacamas, Olancho.  I have to admit I was a bit terrified of this volunteer visit.  It was 104 degrees F in Olancho last week, and I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't find common interest with Julian's work.

Lucky for us it rained like hell the night before we arrived and managed to only be about 98 degrees F during the hottest parts of the day.  I got extremely lucky and Julian ended up doing work on a recycling project which is super awesome.  He has one of the best counterparts in Peace Corps, and we spent several hours working on designing signs to put up at local pulperias for recycling collection.  A pulperia is like a convenience store, except they are everywhere.  There are tiny ones in people's houses, huge ones with their own buildings, everywhere.  And people go to them all the time.  It's not like you go there for an emergency stick of butter of something--people depend on the pulperia.

Anyway, we had a super time, and we got to meet a bunch of volunteers from Olancho, mostly in Catacamas.  We also got some new books and games and, get this, cloth napkins/pot holders from a volunteer who is COS-ing.  (close of service)  Anyway, Sarah and Julian were totally awesome, gave us a bed to sleep in, fed us, and showed us all around.  We loved Olancho and despite the safety situation there we felt safe with integrated volunteers.  I don't think I would mind being placed there (so long as no one expects me to do anything but nap between 11 and 2 when it is too hot to do anything.)


from last saturday:

I know I should be writing something about my Honduras experience, but today, instead, I am going to write about basketball.  I did not get to watch any of VCU's previous tournament games, but I watched today's game.  I couldn't be prouder of my school and of the whole community of VCU basketball.  We played strong and hard, and while there can always be improvements, I am full of joy for them to have gotten so far.  I'm sad that today's game meant one of the mid-major teams had to go home, and Monday I will root for Butler.  But today, I'm proud to be a ram.