Archive for May, 2009

The earthquake that shook Honduras. . .

For those of you who were wondering, or not wondering, I am alive and well after that earthquake. No damage to my apartment as far as I can see. However, my water tank on my roof spilled over and flooded my bedroom. I woke up at 2:30ish to the room swaying and scrambled to put on my pants. . . and failed several times (2 legs in one pantleg).  Then ran outside and spent a lovely hour or so with my fellow neighbors that were trying to call their loved ones.  “Cuando Dios quiere” (when God wants) is all I have been hearing today. Let´s hope there isn´t an aftershock.

May 28, 2009 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

Bienvenida a Santa Rosa

Yes, I am still alive, despite the amoebas I had in my stomach this weekend. After 2 trips to the emergency room, I am finally able to eat again! Hooray! I think I took a wrong turn when I decided to eat repollo (cabbage) in an aldea last Thursday. It was out of courtesy that I ate it, because remember you can’t say no to food down here. Grave insult.

So the past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind. I left Pespire and the heat the 10th of May and returned back to my cool mountain town and humble family for one last week of administrative training. Everyone basically had a serious case of senioritis. The kids didn’t want to do anything and neither did the teachers. Lots of spanish movie watching was involved. It was a bitter sweet week because I was so happy to be back with my host family and see the rest of my friends, but also realized I was leaving soon to move to my permanent site.

Friday was pandemonium. We all piled into a yellow school bus and were shipped off to the US embassy to get sworn in as official volunteers! We were first dropped off at the PC office to meet our counterparts (working partners, if you will) for the next 2 years. A little overwhelming. We then were trucked off to the embassy for our official ceremony. It was pretty impressive. Got to meet the ambassador. I asked him to sign my forehead, but he declined (joke). I actually made it to the paper too, although I have yet to navigate the newspaper site. I’ll let you guys know. After the hooplah, we all returned back to the training site to have lunch and spend the day with our new counterparts. AWKWARD. Let’s just say my counterpart is a latino male engineer who is my age. You can guess what the first encounter was like. I have a battle ahead of me.

After a sad goodbye Friday night and Saturday morning, 6 of us (3 volunteers and 3 counterparts) piled into the cab of a pick up with all of our stuff in the back and headed out for our 7 hour journey to the west. The 2 other volunteers were heading further west than we were, so the were nice and decided to give us a jalon (ride) to Santa Rosa. I couldn’t imagine trying to carry all of my stuff on a  bus. I probably would have been robbed. So we got here safely, met my new family (the third!) and moved into my little room a-ok. My site is hands-down gorgeous. Green, cool, mountainous, cobblestone streets, I couldn’t have been assigned to a better place. I have 3 other PCVs living in site, as well as a ton in the surrounding towns and aldeas. Not to mention the coffee shops, pizza places, shows stores, the one movie theater. I feel like I am cheating! I should be barefoot with no running water, right? Santa Rosa I feel is like the Argentina of Honduras, a little more refined, a little more fresa than the rest of Honduras that I’ve seen. People go running at the track, everyone is dressed to the nines everyday. I’ll have to change my wardrobe. . .

So I am working with the Mancomunidad, which is comprised of of bunch of surrounding municipalites. They mostly work on small infrastructure projects such as schools, health centers, bridges, latrines, and water systems. I am currently working on my job descriptions an apparently nobody knows what that is. It is a difficult balance trying to remind people that I am working with them, not for them. Poco a poco. My first week was spent traveling over every hill and dale meeting the local jefes and mayors and getting to know the area a bit. The hillsides are inundated with coffee, bananas, pineapples, and smiling, hardworking people.  As well, my office is full of the kindest people you’ll ever meet, wanting to take me places, offering help, food, etc. I got calls all weekend when I was sick. I have to say I am pretty lucky. Now I sit and figure out what the hell I am supposed to be doing. I’ve been asking about potential projects/leads, but as usual, the details are sketchy and the rainy season just started. Not much gets done during the rainy season. Poco a poco everyone says. Vamos a ver.

In the meantime, I’ve managed to keep myself busy with my new site mates. I am helping coach a kid’s baseball team, ages 8 to 14, although the season is about to end. We practice twice a week and play tournaments with other PC league teams. The PC helps find local sponsors to help supports the teams and the equipment usually gets donated from the states. It’s a blast, but also a handful. I didn’t realize how unruly children with baseballs and bats can be. I hope I wasn’t like this on my softball teams.

And so I start week 2 of 2 years. Wish me luck. Oh, and I have a new address:

Kathryn Peters, PCV

Apartado Postal 1800

Santa Rosa de Copan, Copan

Honduras, Americal Central

May 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

Only 3 pics, my internet is slow

May 4, 2009 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

Fival Goes South, to Honduras

Almost all of the houses down here are pretty well opened/ventilates to the outside. For one, it is necessary because of the heat. The walls don’t quite meet the roofs, so there’s about 5 to 6 inches of open space. In addition, the windows and doors are almost always open, which allows anyone or anything to pass through with ease (street children, for example). Where am I going with this? One morning the past week, I reached into my ditry laundry bag only to find that my clothes where moving. Upon close inspection, I realized that a mouse had taken up residence in my dirty laundry. Great, I thought. I calmly took my bag outside to turn in upside down and beat the hell out of it, until the smart employee, Tonya, told me to give the bag to her. The valiant Tonya reached in the bag, fished out the mouse, and successfully got rid of it. Muchas gracias, tan amable! I said to her as she handed me back the bag. I proceeded to reach into my bag again for the piece of clothing I had wanted before, and to my surprise saw mouse #2 in my bag. A friggin family was living in my clothes! This time, I threw my bag straight into the air and had never run so fast in my life. Tonya was laughing so hard she was crying and I was crying so hard I was laughing. Loyally, she went in again for mouse #2. Then she teased me that there was in fact a third mouse in the bag, which I did not find funny. Why are mice so terrtifying? Of course, my host mom found out about the ordeal and called me a coward. Who knows, maybe these mice have weird Honduras diseases? Moral of the story, check your stuff for creepy crawlies at all times.

One of my good friends down here also had an epic silent battle against a big black hairy spider at 1 in the morning last week. It involved a broom and a shoe and lasted about an hour. However, a corpse was not produced so she couldn’t sleep anyways. Nonetheless, it was hilarious hearing her recount her trials and tribulations in Spanish the next day.

My friends and I also captured a tarantula and placed him in a 5 gallon purified water container. Then someone decided to let him free because he looked unhappy. We let him go, and then got the chills to see how fast he moved.

Then there was the scorpion that was about 6 inches for my face. I put my face close the front gate of my friend’s house to say hi, then saw something move in the shadows. Yes it was a scorpion. Fortunately, they aren’t poisonous here, but apparently their bite hurts.

And then there are the biting fish. This Friday, our boss let us have the day off. We had worked hard all week making water storage tanks for 3 families in the surrounding aldeas. We had to dig out the foundations, do makeshift compaction of the soil, tie rebar, screen sand and gravel, mix mortar, and build the whole thing. The concept is easy but the physical labor was pretty tough. Nonetheless, it was really satisfying. I digress. . . back to the day off. So all of us, including our teachers and out boss had the pleasure of going to a private swimming hole downstream of Pespire. It was gorgeous! The water was cool and refreshing and deep. There was also an abundance of rocks to jump off of (the reason why my back hurts today, but it was worth it). It was truly rejuvenating after week number 9 of training. We felt like little kids again and were all in the water for 5 hours. There were little coves carved out of the water where on could perfectly fit their rear into, like a little seat. It was then I discovered the annoyance of the biting fish. They are like tiny minnows and attack your legs and feet. It doesn’t really hurt; it’s just an unexpected pinch. We all had our lame attempts of trying to catch them, including watermelon bait and empty coke bottles, but to no avail. The only fishing method down here in use is nets. Sometimes they use pellet guns, which is something I would like to try out.

And then there were the toads when the rains came. Apparently, every May 3rd, plus or minus a day, the rainy season starts, or invierno, which literally means winter. I called BS when my mom said the day was that predictable, but she was right. Saturday, I took a trip to the capital with my family to see some sites and get away. I got to see the sacred image of “La Virgen de Suyapa”. The local lore goes that a local farmer was returning home to Suyapa and decided to rest for the night. He tried to sleep, but something kept poking him in the back. He tried to remove it several times, and then discovered it was a 6cm wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. Apparently, the statue cured many people of their illnesses and performed miracles, so a modest church was built for the relic. She is now the patron saint of Honduras and I think of all of Latin America. So, about the rains. It began to pour while we were at the church, a lastima because my host parents had to ride the whole way back to Pespire the back of a truck. I though the rain wasn’t going to reach Pespire, but sure enough, when we arrived, it was pouring! Oh happy day! It wasn’t 100 degrees! And then I saw that the streets were inundated with frogs and toads (I still don’t know the difference between the two). I thought we were living through a revelations chapter of the bible. And Hondurans HATE frogs. I don’t know why. I think they are cute. People were screaming, throwing rocks at them. At one point, the bolos (local drunks) were trying to punt them, but kept missing because they were so drunk.

So those are my animal stories. Pretty great huh?

Now for something not related, but exciting, my site assignment for 2 years. . .SANTA ROSA DE COPAN!! A cool mountain town, with coffee and cigars galore! I can’t wait. I now have to do my homework .  . .

May 4, 2009 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment


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