Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I'm more than halfway through my week in El Progreso, Honduras. It's hard to believe that the time has gone by this quickly. It feels like yesterday I was flying into the airport in San Pedro Sula.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Although I’ve only been here for about 36 hours, I’ve already learned a lot about Honduras. Well, at least about El Progreso, although the staff members from SHH tell me that things are similar throughout the country. Anyway, here is what I’ve learned throughout the day.
1.) If you wear contacts and/or glasses, put them on first thing when you wake up.
The reasoning behind this lesson follows in #2.
2.) Don’t be surprised to find wildlife in your bathroom.
After waking up at 5:50 this morning and stumbling into the bathroom to turn on the shower, and after turning on the shower, I was (un)pleasantly surprised to find a small frog leap out from the hot water knob. Without my contacts in (hence, #1) I thought it was a large spider. Needless to say, I was freaked out. I showered with the frog hanging out on the curtain, because I didn’t know what to do with him… so I let him be. Thankfully, we kept the bathroom door closed throughout the day while we were at Por Venir and Villa Soleada, and I was able to capture the frog with my hat after we got back to Hotel La Cascada. He’s now outdoors, where he’s probably much better off.
3.) Make sure your camera batteries are charged.
I speak on behalf of one of my roommates and myself when I say this. If you’re looking to take photos, charge your batteries the night before. Thankfully I have both my SLR Nikon D60 and my Point and Shoot Canon PowerShot SD600. I was able to use my Nikon throughout the day, even though my battery for my Canon was dead. Obviously, I’m charging both batteries tonight so that I’ll be prepared for whatever tomorrow brings.
4.) Just because you’re offered more food, does not mean you should eat it.
Yes, the people here take pride in being able to offer a guest food. However, most people don’t even have enough to be offering one serving, let alone more than one. So when a person offers food, eating one serving is showing gratitude, while having more than one is not exactly impolite, but it’s not exactly polite either.
5.) Not being able to speak a language does not mean communication is futile.
Communication is often done with language, but it’s certainly not the only way we can understand each other. Pictures, actions, and simply being in another’s presence can be enough communication, especially with children. However, having a translation dictionary and/or a phrasebook never hurts.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I arrived in Honduras this afternoon around 12:45pm. It was 1:45pm back home in Jersey once we got here. Our flight took off a little later than scheduled, but it still made good time to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Many of the passengers were Latino/a, and I heard Spanish all around me. As we landed the entire plane erupted in applause. I’ve never been on a plane that applauded at landing, but it was fun. It made me smile and finally get excited about being in Honduras. It was instantly muggy and warm once we stepped off the plane, but it was a welcome change in weather from the freezing temperatures back home in Jersey.
I can’t really explain well enough with words how I felt once I left the airport with the group from SHH (Students Helping Honduras). We boarded a big yellow school bus (they’re called Chicken Boxes down here…) and watching the landscape out the window pass by as we drove from San Pedro Sula to El Progreso was such a trip of nostalgia for me. I literally felt like I was back in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. There are advertisements on the sides of buildings for the Tigo phone company; there are advertisements everywhere for Pepsi, Wendy’s, and other large corporations. The traffic is not nearly as bad as Kiwawa Road or the other roads we traveled while in Dar, but there are more motorbikes here, and fewer cars.
There is one other guy from La Salle University here with me, although I did not know him previous to this trip besides a few e-mails back and forth. I met a few of the other people on the trip after we got off the train, and then had a good time talking to and getting to know a few others throughout the afternoon and night at lunch, dinner, a walk around Hotel La Cascada where we are staying, and hanging out with the other three girls I’m rooming with at the hotel. Two of the girls are from Towson University, and the other girl is from University of Maryland. I’m excited to get to know them throughout the week.
Otherwise we did an icebreaker, and were given a run down of the policies and “rules” for the week, involving “Do NOT flush toilet paper. Throw it in the waste bin. Honduran sewage systems cannot handle anything besides human waste,” and, “Wear sunscreen and bug spray at all times” (for obvious reasons). I’m taking Malarone for Malaria, but Dengue is still a huge risk with the mosquitos, and it’s been raining here for the past two days (including today) and will continue to do so, apparently, for the next two days. In other words, the mosquitoes are going to have a party by the end of the week.
At this point, I’m tired, but incredibly excited to get to Por Venir (pronounced “pour vi-neer”; the children’s camp we’re working at) tomorrow, and also to Villa Soleada (pronounced “vee-ya so-lee-a-da”; the village that was built throughout this last year). It’s only 9:30, but I’m exhausted from traveling and am heading to bed.
Updates to follow!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010