April 17, 2009

Holy crap, it’s already mid-April!! “What happened? I blacked out…” (Will Ferrell, Old School…doy) That basically means that in less than one month (yes, one!) from now we will be sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. Now, I know we have all been waiting for and looking forward to this day, but check it. We started off in Hondu with a group of about fifty people. That number dropped to about twenty people when we moved to Field Based Training. In a month, that number will significantly drop again (actually, it will be nonexistent). Basically, we will be ON OUR OWN in about thirty days. “Can you deal with that?!” (Ben Stiller, Meet the Parents…yayer) I don’t know about you, but that’s kind of a big deal. (You know this one.)

Enough of the serious. How did your Easter week finish out? (I swear I sometimes hear my computer responding to my nonsensical dialogue.) Mine was def interesante. I did, in fact, go to the talent show on Thursday night but was in no way prepared for the night (/am not yet accustomed to the Honduran lifestyle). After starting an hour late, listening to band play for an hour and a half, and eating dinner at 9:30pm, I was a little lost in translation as to when the night was actually going to begin. Well, as I soon learned, the night of talents does not actually begin until about 10pm and lasts until past midnight. Unfortunately, I could not hang and thus, with the permission of my family and with all due respect, turned in early. (I am still getting ish for my “gringa” ways that night from my extended family. I would like to make a point here that “grino/gringa” is a very common term for a North American here and, although it comes from Spanish wartime translation of “Green Go,” it normally does not hold harsh sentiment in daily practice. I would prefer that the nickname fade, but unfortunately, behavior change is challenging. Again, I recommend Google or Wiki for further clarification on the term.)

Talent night…ya, I missed it

Thursday was another day of learning. (I think that could pretty much could be said about everyday here.) On Friday, several of us joined another PCT and his host family for a picnic. (That sounds harmless enough, right?) Well, after hiking for about half an hour in jeans in the hot sun carrying heavy food/drinks/condiments, we reached a barbed wire fence that was the entrance to our picnic spot (a.k.a. the slope of branch-filled and ant-infested hill with nowhere to comfortably sit) and a soccer field (a.k.a. barren land in the shape of a rectangle, pretty standard here). We remained in this spot (sweating, confused, and a bit perturbed as we clearly did not know what a picnic here entailed) until we were finally forced to hike to the other side of the field and climb through the barbed wire fence. Upon reaching our designated area and consuming a plethora of catrachas (fried corn tortillas with ground beans, shredded cheese, and pico de gallo or chísmol), we were then requested to play a game of soccer against some locals before coming back to eat the second half of lunch (¿cómo?): hotdogs. Needless to say, all of the men that attended were gentlemen and partook in the activities as well as second lunch. The rest of us ladies instead posted up sideline, talked only about how much we were looking forward to the cold bucket shower that awaited us at home (who saw that coming?), and politely consumed a single hotdog before saying our goodbyes. When I finally made it back home, I was down for the count as I felt the dog chase all those cats in my stomach for the rest of the night. (Kinda like the ninjas, right JoBo?)

Honduran BBQ site

The boys being gents and partaking

The girls sweatin it out on the sidelines

Saturday was stellar (how can it not be, it’s Saturday!). I spent the first hour of the early morning running in circles (literally…I lapped the soccer field almost twenty times) because I didn’t have a partner to rock the run to Santa Ana with that early in the morning. (I know I’m still crazy for waking up with the sun.) The afternoon was spent rooftop at the house of a Honduran born/American educated gentleman who works for the Foundation of Ojojona and offers his home as a relaxing spot for PCTs in town. This experience was quite refreshing as we were able to have intelligent dialogues about the world, politics, religion, etc. which we have not yet had the time to do throughout the many hours spent in training and with families. After enjoying some enchiladas (which are tostadas in American terms) and tacos (which are taquitos in American terms) for dinner at a local comedor, we ended the night with a movie at the training center to celebrate another PCT’s birthday.

Sunday was probably the most relaxing/uneventful day that I have had in Ojojona thus far. I relaxed in house for most of the day and really only left once to attend culto (mass for Evangelicals) with my family to celebrate Easter. The event lasted about an hour and a half and was filled with singing and clapping, professions of faith from the pulpit and the crowd, and readings and reflections from the Bible by the pastor. Unfortunately, I did not get to see my host father in action as there was another pastor leading the ceremony, but I was welcomed as a guest and invited to come back anytime. I don’t think that I will be attending again but am thankful to have had shared the experience with my host family.

Monday was money! We had language classes during the morning and then hit the road for the beach (holler!) in the afternoon. On the way, we stopped at Restaurante Ocotal (the restaurant/zoo that we visited a couple weeks ago) and then at La Guayaba Dorada, located on the beach at our camping site, to interview the owners. Once the interviews were up, the tents were up, and the fire was blazing, we had the pleasure of consuming hot dogs and tuna sandwiches (I don’t know who picked that combination), roasting marshmallows (sadly we lacked all the ingredients of s’mores), and playing Mafia (oh the good old days of recess at St. Rose!) in the moonlight. We slept (/laid down and sweated) four to a tent that night but were ever so happy to be at the beach.

Holla to Amapala

Just another day at the office

This is how we do it

Rockin the fire pit: Tony and Sarah

Breakin Hondu custom by sporting bikinis: Liz, Katie, and Me

Professionals: José, David, Harrison, JP, Bryan, and Brent

Tuesday was tubular! We ate plato típico at La Guayaba Dorada, packed up and headed to Amapala, and then hopped a boat to Isla Exposición. The island was absolutely beautiful, and the water was fabulous to bathe in. Most of the PCTs took mineral mud baths as the sand is some of best with such close proximity to a volcano. Afterwards we hit the third and final restaurant, Restaurante Veleros, to interview the business owner and lunch. We were treated to a variety of and the best local fare yet– including cheviche, pescado frito, pollo frito, camarones en ajo, and paella – while sitting beachside and drinking homemade lemonade. We made it back to Ojojona with bronzed skin, full bellies, and a greater appreciation of our director who made this whole trip possible. ¡Gracias a Jesús! (That is the name of our director. Classic.)

The maestros setting a good example with their life vests

Ama (clap clap) pala

Working on some tourism initiatives…

The rest of this week has been enjoyable and informative although I am still a bit worn out from the trip to the beach. We had the opportunity to interview some local artisans in Ojojona on Thursday and presented another business plan for each of the restaurants that we visited today. Tonight’s dinner was a treat – leftover Chinese food from Tegucigalpa (hey, I will take what I can get) – and tonight’s rest is sure to be one for the books. I hope your dreams are as sweet as your realities. Duerma bien.

**To clarify: After another review of my language interview, the language director determined that I did not reach Advanced Low proficiency but instead Intermediate High + proficiency. Regardless, I did change classes and as expected am kicking my butt daily to keep up with the others.


  1. Wow I can't believe you are already 1 month away! That's insane. Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself! I'm up to my ears in school work...but I'm done in August!

  2. Yo yo yo my homie Shannon! Thank you for taking the time to dRoP soMe pHaT pArAgraPhs and let us know whats going on with you out in HonDu, lol... but seriously, I totally enjoyed reading your last post and keeping up with your others. It sounds like you are having some very interesting experiences. You are the coolest, no doubT.
    PS. I love the word play, "Tuesday is tubular" "Monday is money", I definitely noticed that :)