As you can tell from my last posting, Monday was a sad day. The previous night seemed to suddenly uncover the realization that I am not going home for two years. (That seems like a long time now but really isn’t in the perspective of life. I try to keep that in mind often.) The emotions that I had built up from my first week in site seemed to linger through my workdays, morning jump rope workouts, time on the Internet, lunch of fried tilapia at Villa de Ada, yoga, and apartment searching through Wednesday night. I spoke to my mother that night and tried my best not to break down while expressing my disappointment with: not locating a solid Internet connection to use Skype, not securing a running partner, not finding clothes or shoes that fit a visitor twice the size of a normal citizen, and not discovering an apartment to live in as soon as allowed. (Yes, I know these are all complaints. I try not to express them often, but when I do, they are short lived. Attitude is everything.)
Tilapia fishing pond
A water slide what!
Wednesday night I went to bed with tears in my eyes wishing for a change – a change in my decision, a change in my placement, or best, a change in my attitude. Well, a change did come… with force…at about 2am the next day. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about…I hope you do.) I was fast asleep enjoying dreams of floating on the ocean when I awoke to the realization that I was not, in fact, on the ocean but instead in my bed in Honduras rolling with the movements of the earth. It was, without a doubt, a very weird feeling but one that did not really affect me until the following day as I was absolutely exhausted from the previous night’s emotions. The vibrations felt like they lasted about a solid 30 seconds (I believe it was a 40 second quake, right?) before stopping. When they did cease, I was stoked not for a loss of fear but for the sheer fact that I could go back to sleep. Well, wouldn’t you know it that Hondurans are not accustomed to earthquakes. I learned this quick when my mother began banging on my door telling me that we needed to get out of the house immediately. Still in my state of disarray, I reluctantly retreated to the street (with the rest of Gracias, Lempira) to talk about the craziness that just occurred. I tried to explain to my mother that earthquakes were common where I was from and was thus not scared. She explained to me that they were not common in Honduras and thus something to worry about. Needless to say, I was too tired to argue/care and was very appreciative when we were finally able to go back inside and back to sleep. (We apparently received another tremor at about 5am the same day, but I would not be the person to ask about that.)
I awoke Thursday morning actually kind of pissed off. I thought that corruption and crime would be the two greatest dangers that I would have to worry about while in Honduras, not earthquakes! (That was not included in our safety and security training!) After my anger came contentment. I went running for the first time with Jen (the yoga instructor), cleaned my room righteously, and studied some Spanish. (The power was out so I had some time to myself.) The power returned in the late morning, and I made my way back into the office for the rest of the day. I had an awesome meeting with my boss about the Vivero and learned what I had been preparing myself for: the kids in the Escuela Taller have not received much training on business administration and, in reality, may have little desire to start their own companies. My boss believes that a lot of kids are in the program because they know that they are almost guaranteed work. (I call this meeting awesome because I appreciate the honesty and respect that my boss is affording me.) In order to salvage what is left of this year (the Vivero was established at the end of last year and began with its first group of students this year; they are to finish at the end of the year), I told my boss that I thought it best to interview each student in the program (with their respective teacher present as I am sure they will have pena talking to the new gringa in town) to discover their motivations and aspirations for the remaining six months of their program. From there, we are hoping to develop a shortened version of the business training curriculum that we plan to fully and successfully implement in the coming year. (I have been working on the finance and accounting section thus far but will soon focus my efforts on the entire training curriculum.)
Friday I awoke with a better understanding of my work objectives, my personal goals, and my overall situation. (It felt good. I will elaborate more on these as they develop. For now, just take my word on it.) I went running again with Jen and discovered a weekly running partner (SO STOKED!! It is a gentleman that works in OCH. He runs Monday through Saturday mornings at 5:45am. Um, can you say PUUURFECT!?), had a solid workday refining the business curriculum, found a couple internet connections that will support Skype, discovered more vacant apartments, and felt solid knowing that I have clothes and shoes that fit and don’t cost a fortune being sent to me c/o Mom and Dad (thanks guys!). I finished the day picking Dan’s (the PCV who is leaving in 2 weeks) brain for contacts, potential programs, and the best spots of Gracias. It was SOLID. I learned a lot.
Saturday was simply beautiful. I went running with my new running partner, Alex (who will also serve as my daily tutor as he only speaks Spanish!), cleaned some clothes in the pila (waiting and looking forward to a week from now when the washer/dryer will be reconnected as it has been unplugged with the current construction on the expansion of the backyard), and headed out to Santa Rosa de Copan with Dan. We met up with the many other PCVs out there, grubbed on some good ol’ fashion pizza, and had some drinks rooftop while enjoying the view of the city. It was a very uneventful and totally enjoyable day. I made it back to Gracias Saturday evening to attend a Kindergarten beauty pageant. (My mom invited me and really wanted me to go. Ya…it was weird.) Basically the program consisted of three to five year olds walking back and forth on a catwalk dressed in gowns and/or suits as well as dressed up as turtles, seahorses, mermaids, butterflies, fishes, and sailors. (If you can’t tell, it was an ocean themed event.) There were seven young girls selected as the final contestants and one selected as the “queen” of the Kindergartens (there are two in town) for the year. Throughout the parading of small children completely lost and somewhat scared, I tried to figure out how they were to select the winner. Speaking to a friend about it, I soon learned that the winner is the child who receives the most votes before the actual event. Votes come in the form of money, so the child who can successfully solicit the most amount of funding wins. Now…I know I am treading on thin ice here…but does this resemble a somewhat skewed system?? All I can say is that I was completely surprised and shocked to learn about these activities occurring with Kindergarteners. (No further comment is necessary.)
Circled sky on the way to Santa Rosa
View of Santa Rosa from Hotel Elvir
Thankful for my bud: Me and Bryan
Today was fab. I Skyped it up, lunched on some delish rollitos (probably equivalent to two small toasted burritos), and searched out some more apartments. There seems to be a lot opening up now as most of the bilingual school teachers are leaving. (I knew the Irish luck would kick in soon enough!) Tonight has been spent elaborating my week to you, so I hope you enjoy it. These blogs do take a lot of time to write, edit, and finalize. I try my best to make them to make them thoughtful, truthful, and most important of all, enjoyable. I appreciate you taking the time to read them and also leaving your comments or sending email. You are the reasons that they keep on coming, so thank you. They keep me sane while your love keeps me alive.