Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thank you!

This is just a HUGE thank you to those of you reading who are so kind as to send me things from the wish list I posted! Honestly, it makes me day when I pass by the Post Office and Patty (the woman who runs the small 6x6 room PO here) yells at me I have mail. I've gotten CDs and DVDs from the father of another PC volunteer in the Health project from the East Coast and another case full of CDs from an old Army buddy of my dad's, whom I don't think I've seen in years. I'm sure more will come in the future and I just thank you all very much. I do, truly, appreciate it!

And while posessions are nice and I love the goodies, the best thing yet came in the mail today. It was one of those greeting cards that plays music and you can also record your own personal message. My sister and two nephews recorded a note and hearing their little voices broke my heart! As I teared up and got a little misty eyed, Patty had no clue what was going on. I told her how much I miss my two little men and then she understood. So, thanks Vera, Cade and Reed! I love you all so much and miss you too!

Oh and one last update on the computer. It actually arrived to my mom and stepdad. However, they said it did get a little external damage, so we're mot sure if Costco will take it back. Also, still trying to save my files off it. We'll see...

Hasta la proxima vez...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Proud to be an American!!!

Happy 4th of July to all you back in the US!!! I hope you celebrate my favorite holiday right and also take time to remember the true power and meaning of the holiday. Take it from me, as someone who has lived in two other countries, the US truly is an amazing country and we take so much for granted. I wish I was back home poolside, with the grill sizzling, sun shining, kids screaming, ice cream melting and radio blasting ''I'm proud to be an American...'' But, I have to remember that what I'm here for, is the hopes that someday the rest of the world will be able to be as stable as the US. Talk of the American Dream won't be necessary because people will have the same opportunities in their own homeland and won't have to leave family behind to work a minimum wage (or less) job in the US. Here's hoping...

Anyway, my laptop arrived home! Can you believe it? My mom said the box was pretty beat up, but the computer is ok...minus the condition I sent it in. Still hoping my info can be saved and I will have a new laptop (or the same one) back soon!

So, the main point of this is to share about my trip to the North coast. I traveled with about 55 high school ''seniors'' (the Honduran equivalent to seniors) and all of 2 teachers from the high school. I don't know that I counted as a chaperone... Tuesday, there was a parent meeting, which I went to. All of 2 days before the trip. The two teachers were there and the school principal. The teachers said they hadn't made the hotel reservations yet. When one father asked if any male chaperones were going, I wanted to slap him, but that's not the point. The principal explained that the two (female) teachers going were the two with the most expereince in thew hole school and then somehow got off on a tangent about politics in Honduras. (I already dread meetings with Hondurans. It seems there is a competition of who can get the most off topic for the longest time. It drives me insane!)

Thursday we were supposed to leave at 5AM. I think we actually left by 5:30, which isn't too bad. Before we even made it to Teguz, 90 min away, we already had our first pit stop, in which nearly every girl had to use the bathroom...with one toilet. Of the 55 students I think it's about 80% girls...so yah, that took forever! Traveling on Honduran highways is an experience in itself. The highways are derserving of a 3rd world country...in great need of repair, more potholes than decent paved lanes. That takes forever to traverse, then throw in the random department of transportation roadblocks, which are just scams, I believe, your trip takes FOREVER. So roadblocks: Supposedly these guys are department of transportation of the police, but as far as I can tell they're part of the corruption issue down here. Most big rig trucks and buses get pulled over. The guys act like they're doing something important, but they just want a bribe so they can make a little extra money along the way. They make up some lie, about the papers don't have the right info, or some garbage and they can call the police or the driver can slip them 100 lempiras. Obviously, most people will slip them the L. 100. It's ridiculous and I wanted to yell at every guy who did this 'Look retard, you're part of the problem with this country.'

I remember that when we traveled on buses during school trips, we had to keep the noise down, stay seated and respect others. Not on Honduran school trips. It seems as if the kids are encouraged to make noise. They yell, play their annoying reggeton music on their cell phones w/o headphones, walk up and down the aisle, stand on the stairs by the door of the bus, sit on the dashboard and talk to the driver. Safety...what's that?!

Oh and the driver...I think he may have been seriously mentally handicapped. We get to San Pedro Sula, the other big city besides Tegucigalpa, where there are a few interchanges and he goes, 'I've never been to Puerto Cortes.' He basically says, he doesn't know how to get there and admits he didn't bother to find out before hand. Hello dummy...that's your job! So, they bring up one of the kids who used to live in that area and together with one teacher, they read road signs to the bus driver and tell him which roads to take, since he apprently can't read (which is a possibility, but I would think a licensed driver should be able to read). You think that the way home would be easy right? Just backtrack. No, we pass right under a sign that says Tegucigalpa with an arrow to the right and the dummy goes straight. The teacher yells at him, ''Joel, pay attention!'' As he does a 3 point turn in the middle of the road. Ridiculous!

Anyway transportation differences aside, I had an amazing time. The high school kids are pretty fun to hang out with. Our hotel was right on the beach and there was a pool. (Yet agagin, the amazement factor of me being able to swim came up.) I only had to share a room with one of the teachers because the other had taken her husband and son. I enjoyed a nice double bed and AC for two nights. Livin' the high life! We visited a fort in a town called Omoa, which was built by the Spanish. Brought back all the good times of Spain. The port visit wasn't all that interesting, but it's very important for the country. On some list, it's the 3rd. I don't know if it's biggest, most traffic or what. I'm going to try and research it. We also passed by Lake Yojoa on the way up north. We stopped for lunch along a strip of nearly 2 dozen restaurants and ALL offer fried fish and tajadas (fried plantain chips). Product differentiation is seriously lacking here. Welcome to my world as a business advisor! Anyway, for 30L we took a little troll on the lake and it was nice. At the beach in Omoa there were 2 fishing boats towing what they called 'The Banana'. It was basically a banana shaped raft with two smaller tubes on the sides to stabalize it. Along the top are straps to hold on. You basically straddle the middle raft, kinda like riding a horse, hang on to the strap in front of you and hold on, until you get thrown off when the boat makes a sharp turn. It was so much fun! The kids all paid 20L a ride, but the weird Honduran dude rockin' his jerry curl, let me ride for free, since I was 'the teacher'. I told him, I will most likely be back with my gringo friends, because it was a sweet beach and I saw a backpackers hostel just up the road from the beach.

So, that was the trip. A good chance to get away and refresh. In a couple weeks, July 15, will be my two month mark in site. At that point we are allowed to use what they call Whereabouts time. With that we are allowed 2 nights and 3 days out of site, without having to use our annual vacation leave. That first weekend I plan on returning to visit my first host family (who are still my favorite, after all 3). Then a few weeks after that in the beginning of August, I will head back North again to visit some other PC friends. Got enough travel to keep myself grounded. No matter how much I love my site, I'm the type who has to be on the go! Anyway crew, take care back home!

Hasta la proxima vez...