24 October 2011

Busy with Trips

Things have been pretty busy down here these last couple of weeks. As Jeff already wrote, we went around town to the various schools for World Handwashing Day, and even though most of the plan fell through, we capacitar-ed a couple hundred kids in how to wash their hands! We've also been traveling a little bit for fun (mostly), and are about to be traveling a bit for work. A few weeks ago we headed down to Salamá and Campamento for the Olancho Pueblo Crawl, one of the first officially approved gatherings of more than 10 volunteers. We want to give a shout out to our country director Emily for letting that continue. Those of us still here in Olancho after the removal of volunteers from the Catacamas area wanted to put Olancho back on the map, and show everyone that we can be visited (safely, and within the rules), and nothing bad will happen to them. And guess what? Nothing bad DID happen, people were responsible, and we had a ton of fun!

Last Thursday one of the Honduran league teams, Motagua, played against the LA Galaxy (you know, that team David Beckham and Landon Donovan are on?) in Teguz. Jeff and I decided that attending would be great fun, since one of Jeff's favourite pasttimes is belligerently yelling obnoxious things at fútbolistas. One of our almost-neighbors, Emily from Guaimaca, coordinated an official trip, complete with a busito to transport us and Juan Carlos, our S&S coordinator to escort us. A great time was had by all. Unfortunately, Jeff got robbed.


Well, technically, I didn't get robbed, but I did have an official security incident. More on that later. We had an uneventful trip to Teguz, and got some business done at the office, then met up with the 30ish other Volunteers going to the game and took a busito there. We had nice seats, but I never used one, of course. Tickets here are for a section, not for a seat, and our section was behind the benches. I spent the game hanging out with some new Honduran friends on the fence 10 meters from the Galaxy bench. I wore my DC United shirt and got some double takes from the Galaxy players when they looked over at my English, and then snapping their head back at the United jersey and additional provocative English. The game was a fun one to watch, even with only one goal, but it was a delightful strike from distance. I enjoyed yelling at Bruce Arena a lot, and I know he heard me.

Found a ESPN article about the Honduran love of Beckham and coverage of the game. While not identified by name, it quotes me without quoting. My 15 seconds of fame are most of the way through the article. Read the article here: http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/soccer/post/_/id/11698/galaxy-adoring-hondurans-stun-l-a
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After the game, the bus dropped a few people off at the hotel and picked up a few more and headed to a club for dancing. It was awesome to be able to dance. Unfortunately, I ran into a pickpocket there. She danced with me a bit, then when she left I noticed that my front pockets were empty! Good thing I'm a compulsive pocket checker. My phone, my cash, and my ID and bank card were gone. I quickly snagged her, as she wasn't far away, and asked her where my phone was. She said she didn't have it. I didn't believe, grabbed her pockets and took my cash out of one of them. She went into the bathroom, and I asked two Honduran guys waiting to not let her leave because she robbed me. I went and got a PCV that is a native Spanish speaker to help, and then a bouncer. She came out, the bouncer took her outside, and other staff found my cards in the trash can, but no phone. She continued to deny having my phone, so the police were called. They sat her in the back of their pickup truck and questioned her, she denied everything. They told me they couldn't search her because they were all male, and there wasn't much they could do. At this point, half of my phone was found between the cab and the bed of the truck. I had a slider phone, and the screen half magically showed up! Still didn't find the other half, but after that the police took her and put her in jail for 24 hours. Juan Carlos talked with the police in the morning after and they found the other half in the truck after searching in daylight, so I'll get that back, with my memory card and game photos, eventually. So all in all, not a terrible encounter with a pickpocket.

I feel that this could have happened to me anywhere, not just here in Honduras, and the outcome was good because I wasn't fall down drunk and have good awareness habits. I didn't have more than I needed which reduced the amount of stuff I could have lost, even though everything was recovered, albeit in more pieces than it was taken, and that was only because she was angry and spiteful. Technically, I was only the victim of theft, as a robbery is taking with the use or threat of force while theft covers pickpocketing and taking laptops left on tables.

In a bit, I have another trip to Teguz for a medical appointment and then I'm headed further west from there to do a bit of work and visiting with friends. In between, I've got classes to give at the high school and elementary school to keep me busy.

After a month of not much, the past three weeks have been chock-a-block with stuff, and it's been awesome!

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