Happy Earth Day!

April 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

Finally, after a grueling week, semana santa is over. It ended last Sunday with Easter. I had built up excitement (if you want to call it that) and anticipation over the climax of Easter week. On Friday, teenage kids designed a beautiful alfombra (carpet) of painted sawdust right outside the church. It’s a tradition over Easter week in all of Honduras. The alfombra stays outside the church until a procession destroys it on Sunday. So, after a long, hard day at the beach on Saturday, I was naturally looking forward to my Sunday mass. Whilst eating breakfast Sunday morning, anxiously awaiting my cue to leave with my family, all hell broke loose. More family came over, some people wanted to go to the beach, some wanted to stay, someone didn’t want pancakes for breakfast. Alas, an hour later, we were late for church and my mom decided not to go. The holiest day of the year, after all she put me through that preceding week?!!! Well, in all honesty, I didn’t lose much sleep over it.

This week was the environmental week (and dirty week) in training and has probably been my favorite week so far. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we visited the local school and gave the little kiddies charlas (talks) on the recylcling, trash, and the environment. What a blast! We played games, made posters to hang around town, and got them excited about trash. All my fear went out the window. Trash here is a monumental problem. It’s in the streets, it’s in the river where they swim, it’s everywhere. And if they don’t throw it on the ground, they burn it. Love the smell. Needless to say, our charlas were awesome! Friday, we took the same children out into the streets of Pespire and collected trash and plastic bottles to recycle (recycling here is almost impossible due to the expense). I was surprised to see how much fun they were having. My class made it into a game to see who could gather the most trash. It was really rewarding and it is a great feeling when the kids scream your name on the streets and hang all over you.

I played with poop this week. Groups of us worked on making fogones, adobe open fire stoves, for 4 poor families in the neighborhood. Some families had been using traditional open fire stoves, while others were using the “u” shaped stoves. The old stoves function properly, but due to their thermal inefficiency, they require a lot of firewood. Thus, families have to spend more on wood, instead of food. In addition, these stoves do not have a proper chimney or no chimney at all. With an inadequate chimnet, all of the smoke enters the house, thus causing a serious health hazard. Mi abuela back in Zarabanda has a chronic heinous cough and is always getting respiratory infections. So, the stove we built are new AND improved! They have chimnies and an easily accessible ash chamber to clean. They are also thermal efficient and require less firewood and stay hot for longer periods of time. There is also an “oven” underneath the fire to make bread or cookies. I was so happy to get my hands dirty, and yes it literally was poop. All you need is clay, cow or horse poop, water, bricks, a tin can, a metal sheet for the comal (cooking surface), the chimney, 8 hours, and a little lovin’. Very satisfying.

Other fun things this week included mapping a microcuenca (watershed) on our GPS, then using mapping software to create maps (of course). We also learned how to start a nursery, which is actually more complicated that it sounds. When to plant, what to plant, plant grafting. . . pretty interesting stuff.

Another hit down here has been karaoke. Yes, karaoke. Some volunteers down here live with a family that owns a restaurant with a karaoke machine. Holy hell I’ve never been so thrilled. Fortunately, everyone down here shares my affinity for 80’s music and singing loudly. What do you do on a hot evening in Pespire? Naturally, you sing karaoke while drinking cantelope juice. Yes the singing was done SANS alcohol. Imagine that. This is how we entertain ourselves down here. We have already been back twice. I have demanded that everyone buy banana clips and/or scrunchies because apparently they never went out of style down here.

This week will be more computer activities (boo!) but will be useful. My mom’s throwing a birthday party for me with arroz con pollo, sodas, and cake for all. But the real party will be next Saturday. We will officially become residents of Honduras on Saturday when we take a trip to the capital! Saturday is also the Mango festival town, a yearly party Pespire has to honor the town’s trademarked mangoes. Mangoes, music, dancing, and beer (that is if my family does not go). Regardless, it will be fun times had by all.

Only 3 more weeks in Pespire and 1 more in Zarabanda, then I will be official! Plan your trips to visit!

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Cows and Cultural Day Pics Corresponding to the Prev Blog. . . Enjoy!

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