March 2, 2009

Holler! or ¡Buenas!

Well, the last time we were together I was expectant of some crazy dreams. Unfortunately, I have nothing to report on that end, but I have been busy the past two days during my conscious hours. Allow me to elaborate.

My first Saturday here was fabulous. I spent the first part of the morning doing team building activities with a portion of my training group. I know that sounds corny on paper, but trust me, these activities are much needed as these are the people that we will be relying on for support (for oh, I don't know, maybe the next two years or so). After the good times, I went to Tegucigalpa (Teguc) with my host fam for the first time. (We are not allowed to go there without our fams as it is a dangerous place because of the violent gang activity. Basically, tattoos are bad news bears here.) The city was much like I expected: very overcrowded with traffic and jaywalkers, extremely dirty with people carelessly throwing trash out of their bus or car windows, and noticeably divided into class systems. Although I mention the negative aspects of the city, it is where all of the commerce is handled for the country and is thus vital to the survival of the country. While there, I enjoyed a coffee with my mother, my sister, and what I guess would be my cousin (mother's niece). We talked about the city and also got into deep discussion about some family members that seem to be battling with mental health issues. I mentioned my work on the crisis hotline and inquired if it would be a useful tool for Honduras. My host mother loved the idea, so hopefully I can follow up with my project managers on it once we start Field Based Training in a couple weeks. After the coffee, we hit what was probably the biggest supermarket in the city. It is exactly like those in the states which surprised me a lot. To end the evening fabulously, we retuned home and all the families in my specific training area threw the trainees a welcome party that included tradish American and Honduran food (pizza and tortillas), standard sodas, and a bit of Spanish dance. (Trust me, I am dying to practice my Latin dance moves I picked up from Spain as soon as possible!)

Running mates/Zarabanda neighbors and host families at the welcome party: Kevin and Xiah

Sunday was another pleasant day and learning experience. I learned how to do my laundry a.k.a. to use the pila. It is a pretty simple process but does a number on your clothes and on your hands. (Basically, the process is as follows. You soak clothes in water with detergent, and then remove them piece by piece to wash them. To wash, you rub a bar of special soap onto the item, and then work the soap into the item by rubbing your hands on the item that is lying on a serrated cement block. You use a bucket and running water to repeat the process for the inner and outer parts of the item. After you have finished getting the soap out of the item with water, you hang to dry. I already scrubbed away part of my skin on my right hand.) This was useful to learn as I will need to do it on my own for the next two years. I was also able to start to try to gain some brownie points with the dog as he watched me talk to the family and work in the backyard. (We will be BFFs when all this is over. I just know it.) After that, I caught the bus to Valle de los Angeles, a standard tourist town, with some other trainees that live in my same city. (I am so hardcore about traveling in pairs here. I think I may have already annoyed some trainees with my overzealous insistence on traveling in groups, but OH WELL. Safety never takes a day off, right Roseville!) We hopped on the net for a bit, tasted some standard fare pupusas (SO YUM! Google 'em.), and hiked to a local park. We didn't actually go into the park as we were told by our families that the not-so-stellar folk from Teguc hang there during the weekends. That night I returned home for a fabulous night with my girls. We watched Toy Story in Spanish while my sister did my hair and my cousin gave me a manicure. These girls are so cute and hilarious. They keep telling me I look like Nicki Hilton. No thanks! Anyway, they want to do my makeup this coming weekend. I think we are just going to have a full-on fashion show. (I will say, though, I am enjoying the younger sister/cousin good times -- ahem, Christa! -- and not having a man in the house. No offense guys, but it is one less thing I need to think about while I am at home.)

¡Oye for Valle!

Enjoying the comida and the company (left to right): Katherine, Mauné, Jill, Liz, and José

This ish is bananas

Welcome…you should really go now

Relaxin roadside: Ashley and her little host ones

Honorable mention: I will be getting a cell phone this coming Wednesday and am able to receive calls for no cost! If anyone has a phone card that they are just tired of carrying around, have a joke they are itchin to tell, or think calling collect is cool, you just let me know. ;)

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