27 May 2011

Week 2

Well, it’s nearing the end of our second week here at site, and I still only know one of my official counterparts.  Unfortunately, it’s the most informal one that doesn’t actually have paid staff.  They have an office in someone’s house that is never opened.  So, still waiting for work.  I’ve been hanging out with Jeff a lot at the Centro de Salud and trying to help him get things started with his work there, but I don’t want to do that too much—I don’t want them to create expectations of having me around all the time. 
The woman who came to pick me up on counterpart day isn’t actually one of my counterparts.  She works for the ICF (institucion de Conservacion Forestal), which all of my counterpart agencies work with directly and indirectly.  She’s the one who introduced me to the counterpart I do know, and is working on the other in her spare time.  

Our host mom is the assistant principal at the Colegio (high school), and it looks like we'll be able to start doing work there pretty soon, but as many of you know teaching is NOT what I like to do.  Vamos a ver.

We are trying not to spend all day in our house, but since we don’t really have work it’s kind of hard.  We got some disheartening news this week—Peace Corps Honduras has decided to close the sites in eastern Olancho (that’s our department).  This means that six people will be relocated, several of them are friends of ours from the volunteer visit.  We are still waiting to hear what this means for us.  As much as we like this site, we’d rather move now than be relocated in 8 months.  Also, one of the things I liked most about this particular site was the network of volunteers that exists in Olancho, and now half of that is gone--including our friends from Santa Maria de Real.

21 May 2011

In Site

Day 3 in Site

So we are now in La Unión, Olancho, our home for the next two years. Today we met the staff at the colegio (high school), watched the school soccer team play against another school, and attended a fashion show/fiesta – all at the colegio. I had planned to meet people at the Centro de Salud but the jeffe Dr (boss man) wasn’t in today and my counterpart RN was way busy picking up the slack. I shall try again tomorrow. A big success we had today was meeting a local small business owner who studied in the States and volunteered his truck if we ever need it! Knowing people with vehicles seems to be an important thing here where we are a 3+ hour bus ride from the nearest full grocery store.
On the plan for tomorrow is to meet the mayor and the local police, and sometime this week travel the 3+ hours to Juticalpa to use an ATM, since the agente in La Unión left. I’m not sure exactly what was said about why they left, but I heard something about mismanagement and 100,000 lempiras, which is a huge chunk of change here!

We have a tiny room, the smallest room that Sam and I have ever shared, but the rest of the house is pretty big. It will be a challenge to keep our things organized in our room, especially since we have no place to store or hang our clothes. Suitcase living for two months, alright! Our host mom is really nice and helping to introduce us to people around town. She is well known and well respected as the Vice Principal at the colegio.

La Unión seems like a bigger town, it is definitely bigger than Villa San Antonio and Yuscarón, but much further from a big city. Our modem works here, but it only runs on GPRS. Gmail refuses to load on it, so I’m not quite sure how or if I will be able to use email here, but Facebook loads, albeit slowly. Send me messages through FB and I should be checking that daily. Still don’t have a very good feel for the town, having only been here since noon on Saturday, but I have seen three different cows being harassed by dogs in the street. Additionally, yesterday we were at a restaurant watching the Olimpia-Motagua soccer game, which happened to be the championship game of the season, when Motagua scored. A guy standing near the door stepped outside, pointed his pistola in the air, and emptied the clip. Olancho has a reputation as the “Wild West” of Honduras, and I am beginning to see why.

Vamos a ver que va a pasar.

Addition: It is now Saturday, a week after we arrived. Our Claro modem on GPRS refuses to load any google thing requiring a login, and I don’t know why. But we are now using a borrowed Tigo modem which gets EDGE here and lets me login to Blogger.