March 14, 2009

Jello. So the trip to Teguc was enjoyable (and luckily uneventful). We checked out one of the smaller markets in town, and it's pretty much like the auction (shout out to Denios!) back in the states. Because we had some extra time, we also made it to one of the local malls which, again, are much like those in the states. (Oh, and by the by, I found a Payless! Holler!! I wonder what size I am in Hondu...probablemente muy grande.) We also checked out the PC office...which happens to be in a shady part of town. (That's fun.) Before heading back to the training center, we made a stop off at Burger King (I personally would chosen Wendy's for a frosty and some fries. Oh how I miss those late nights at Mel's!). I have never seen such excited PCTs; everyone definitely had their share of some type of fried delight that day.

The biz group also made a trip out to Valle to interview some of the small business owners this week. My group interviewed an owner of an internet café and, including the information gleaned from the reports of the other groups, it seems that the critical functions missing from the businesses are accounting, marketing, and management control. The businesses are run in a very simple fashion, including making expenditures and collecting revenue without a register, and normally owned/operated by family members. There is little to no marketing because funds are not superfluous, and having internet access around here is a privilege. It was def rad to have this experience as it showed us where some of our experiences and skills can be put to use.

Friday the 13th...well I learned a few things about the gangs that day (such as that they like to take some people down on that day) that I thought would be interesting to pass along. Here is a quick run-down on the gang sitch here. There are two Mara Salvatrucha gangs that sport the numbers 13 and 18; these are thought to be the dates when the gangs were actually started. Anyway, I learned from my teacher that many of these gang members are Hondurans that went to the U.S. illegally to find work to support their families. When they are in the states, they join these same gangs as their forces in America seem to be comparable to those in Honduras (without the police intervention, of course, as that is not existent here). So when these Hondurans are deported, they join back with the gangs to continue to earn (/steal) money to support themselves and their families. The heads of these gangs are actually living in the U.S., and the regional leaders (kinda like the VPs) are running the show in Hondu. It was pretty interesting to learn about these peeps because they capture a great deal of attention both locally and abroad. (I actually just finished and gave a report on the crime sitch here. I will share it with you in a bit as it requires thoughtful explanation which I don't really have right now. You will find out why soon.)

Today was both and upper and downer. We had a great day at training learning about the various support groups available to PCVs and also a bit about each other. Afterwards, a group of about 15 of us hit the soccer field to battle some locals. I guess I can't really call it a battle (as they definitely whopped our asses) but instead a friendly interaction that involved a round object and lasted about an hour and a half. The guys that we played were absolutely amazing and showed us (truly) how it is done. (I can finally say I played fĂștbol in one of the homelands.) After the game, I made it back to my house and finally had "one of those days." Yep, this was the first time that I found myself in my room with nothing pressing to do and tears in my eyes. I am not sad to be here but had a bit of homesickness overwhelm me for the evening. Luckily, I was able to talk to my dad and mom to sort out some of the feelings. They both knew how to make this girl feel loved. (Thanks, guys.) Now, I am taking a break from the emotional side of me and working on recovering my chi (pronounced "chee", hey LMU VB).

Tomorrow I will be heading to Orocuina with another PCT to visit a current business PCV. We are gonna check out her life as a PCV and apparently (word on the street) hit the beach with other PCVs and PCTs. I am stoked! Let the games (/real life) begin.

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