July 22, 2009

Well, here I am, sitting at my kitchen table (plastic), in my chair (also plastic), listening to my music (Ani DiFranco), eating a dinner cooked by…you got it…me (burnt grilled cheese with a chopped tomato and green beans). I gotta say that I’m pretty proud of myself for making it to this point without any major stumbles. It’s been quite trek these past three weeks. Seriously, it has been such a friggin month…in every sense of that word (I think it’s originally from Austin Powers if my memory serves me)…and we still have another week left…damn.

Unfortunately, the internal stability and mental well-being of Hondu and its citizens continue to be in flux. This has and continues to cause me much anxiety and frustration. There have definitely been moments where I thought about returning home because I was depressed at the fact that I couldn’t get rid of scabies because I couldn’t move out, stressed out and disappointed at work because the Escuela was forced to send their students home due to lack of funding and thus not focused on progression with the Vivero kids, and scared at the thought of being trapped in a civil war. Then there have been other moments where I think that I will be completely pissed off if I am forced to leave (like now) because I finally am settled into my own apartment, have started interviewing the kids in the Vivero which will then lead to training sessions on business administration, met with a promoter for PRAF (a group that trains and support women’s microenterprises) to start assisting some of the groups with commercialization, and am looking forward to a workshop focused on income generation for persons living with HIV/AIDS, a visit from my brother (HOPEFULLY!), and a training to become a VOS (Volunteer Offering Support) member for the Honduras Peace Corps community. (After the training, I will be available to offer peer support confidentially in any aspect to any volunteer in the country. As a member, I am the only other person that can visit someone in the hospital besides their spouse. That’s pretty dope!) So ya, as you can tell, I’m a bit uneasy at the moment, especially since these next two days are supposed to dictate the future of this country and my service here. (Ha, I think I said that in my last blog about three weeks ago. Can you believe this much time has passed without stability?)

Other activities that I have engaged in (this sounds like a business report) besides the aforementioned and since our last encounter include a trip to Santa Rosa with my host mother where I purchased the big items for the apartment to transport in her truck (including a double bed because it was actually cheaper than a single!), a trip to Teguc to see the dermo for several issues (including scabies, which I still apparently have, big surprise), and an absolutely fabulous visit from seven other PCVs to celebrate Independence Day (both for the US and for our training group) this past weekend. (Unfortunately, the feria was canceled this weekend, so I couldn’t show the crew the “best of” Gracias.) We played cards and chatted it up on Friday, made pancakes and mimosas Saturday morning, had a bonfire and roasted hot dogs Saturday night, and slept in (a rarity!) on Sunday. It was glorious!!

First round of visitors: Harrison, Moses, Rachel, Bert, and Kalin

Arguing over “Asshole” rules: Me and Anna

And I love her: Kalin and Me

Atop Fort Saint Christopher: Moses and Rachel

Enjoying the view: Kathryn

The infamous Honduran belly rub: Ryan, Kyle, Moses, and Harrison

Some lovely ladies of the west: Hannah, Rachel, Kathryn, and Me

Bonfire booyah (“bulla”): Courtney, Vanessa, Rachel, and Hannah

Where does that leave me? Well, on the downside, I’m close to broke after buying almost everything for the apartment, still itching away my skin on various parts of my body, exhausted after the weekend, and worried that I will not get to see my brother in August. (I really pray that I get to see you, Chris!) On the upside, I’m so happy to be in my apartment and without pressure to live on someone else’s clock, stoked that I have the ability to travel out of my site to visit my friends in other sites, comfortable with cooking my own Honduran food, and so thankful that I have such a supportive and loving family that is helping to make this journey possible. Although my situation is probably easier to live with than in other PCV sites around the world, it’s not necessarily easy for me. I miss my family terribly and sometimes worry about my safety as a foreigner here but am trying to continue on with the thought that this is what I chosen for myself, right now, to make myself a better person for others in the future. I hope (and pray) that it’s doing just that.

Kitchen #1, camera 1

Kitchen #1, camera 2

Living room #1, camera 1

Living room #1, camera 2

Room #4, camera 1

Room #4, camera 2

Bed #4

Bathroom #2, camera 1

Bathroom #2, camera 2


July 2, 2009

So…ya…a few things have changed since my last offic blog…I think that two most noteworthy would be the government and the President of Honduras, (ya, you heard me right!) although this should hopefully be old news to you by now. Forget bed bugs! Civil unrest seems to be a little more worrisome.

On that, I wanted to happily and thankfully report that the bites have died down. I changed my sheets again and am currently spending my nights bundled up in sweats, a hoodie, and socks on top of a blanket on top of my bed. (It seems to be doing the trick although it’s probably comical to watch me turn over and try to avoid touching the blanket with my skin like its lava or something.) The PC Medical Office responded to my case by offering to bring me to the PC dermatologist in Teguc to have me officially diagnosed so that they could then potentially accept my request to move early, but I decided that rather than risking a solo trip to the dangerous capital city and causing drama with the host fam, I would be patient and wait out the half month. (We aren’t even allowed to go to Teguc right now, anyway, so this is pretty much a moot point. Just wanted to catch you up.)

A quick recap of the rest of my activities since my last blog is as follows: I did not end up house sitting as the missionary family decided not to travel because of the controversial election that was supposed to take place on Sunday. (Good call on their part.) I was bummed but still able to have a fabulous Saturday. (Sunday was a different story.) I Skyped it with fam in the morning and spent the afternoon walking around town with Bert, Kalin, and another PCV from an outlying aldea, Courtney, searching for cheddar cheese and broccoli (both of which we found to be rarities here) while chatting about what the following day would bring. Although we struck out with the greens, we were able to find some cheddar cheese slices to do the trick for Kalin’s home-style mac and cheese that night. (You work with what you got.) Saturday night we prepped and feasted on some carne asada, chismole, baked m&c, and Ghirardelli brownies c/o Kalin’s mom (thank you, Kalin’s mom!) all the while enjoying the laughs of Mall Cop on Bert’s computer. Ah, the life and joys of a PCV in Hondu…

Frozen beer! Who woulda thunk it?

Sunday…ha…well I awoke to find the power out, the cable cut, and my mom rambling about the “Golpe de Estado” that had occurred earlier that morning. Needless to say, I spent the most of the day talking to family back home about the sitch and to get the news as well as staying in my room as much as possible so as to avoid any sort of trouble in town. This was pretty much the same story for Monday and Tuesday, as well. Instead of my standard morning runs, I stuck to jump roping and yoga at home, ran as few errands as possible, and packed up most of my belongings in case the situation escalates and evacuation becomes eminent. (This may be a totally premature move, but I really don’t mind as I am going to have to move all my ish mid-month anyway.) Yesterday, I came back into work for half the day to get some cuidadano insight from my coworkers and counterparts about everything, had lunch with a bunch of PCVs to get some PC insight, and spent the rest of the day doing an inventory of all my personal and PC ish. Today I am back at work listening to the many possibilities of what is to come on Saturday…

How do I feel about all this? Good question. I ask myself that about every 30 minutes, the same amount of time that my certainty level of staying in Honduras changes. Let’s just say I feel helpless, but not in a sad, pathetic sort of way. I feel helpless in the sense that these events are completely out of my control and that my two year stint as a PCV could be deemed obsolete in two days. I don’t know if that’s true…I don’t think it is. It’s weird thinking about that possibility. I def want to stay and finish out my work here. I have so many things coming up in the near future that excite me: a new apartment, a puppy, a visit from my brother, progress in ETC, potential volunteer opps in other sectors, workshops, a diving trip, Halloween, and maybe a feria. (So sad that it’s a maybe! The mayors from the Mancomunidad are meeting tomorrow afternoon in Gracias to discuss whether or not they are going to cancel it because of swine flu. Ah, I probably forgot to mention that in all the other the excitement. Gracias has reported cases of swine flu. Cool.) On the other hand, this country has some things that it needs to figure out (most of which the higher powers seem to want to accomplish through the use of firearms from what I have heard in the news) that I may be better off staying away from. At this point, I will say that I am thankful to be in Gracias (everyone keeps reassuring me of how lucky we are to be here because “Todo es tranquilo acá.”), have heard nothing more from the PC after being taken off Standfast (actually Phase 2, not 1), and am counting down the hours until Saturday when Zelaya is supposed to return with company. Other than that, I have nothing to say. It’s better that I don’t.