Friday, September 25, 2009

Dia de Independencia

September 15 was Dia de Independencia- Independence Day, so there was a big celebration at the the school where I teach and where all the kids from Guadalupe and the mother's project attended school. This one involved a lot of traditional dances, poems about Honduras, and songs. One thing I have noticed is that they really celebrate every holiday (and they seem to have a lot of holidays). The kids learn so much about why they have the holiday and they all put a lot of work in to making the celebration meaningful and well-done. It has made me realize how often we don’t do that in the US. How many holidays come and go without us ever even thinking about why we have them (President's Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, etc.) except for having a day off school or work? Maybe we need to take some lessons from this school on how to celebrate national holidays. Anyways, enjoy the pictures. 

Students getting ready to do a traditional dance. The two in the front are only in third grade. Aren't they so cute?

Some of the fifth graders after their performances. All of the dresses were hand-made by the teachers, the girls, and the moms with random fabric we had at the house.

First graders memorized information about different Central American countries. I spent lots of time helping them practice. They all knew their part as of that morning. Too bad when they got up there, they got stage fright and forgot most of it. They are still precious.
Please keep us and the country of Honduras in your prayers. We especially need prayers this weekend as we have 88 Hondurans, most of them students, using our house for a Confirmation retreat next weekend!!! We’ll see how it goes. I am a little worried about it, but hopefully it will work out well. Using our house as a retreat center is a good service to provide to the Hondurans while we wait for US groups to come back. However, 88 is a lot of people for a house that only has 89 beds. 
Peace and Blessings,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We are OK

Hi friends,
WE ARE OK!!! We have had some changes in the political situation in this county. Monday, Zelaya (who was the president and then was forced out of the country) snuck into the country through the Guatemalan border and ended up in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. Obviously, Michelleti (who took over as president when Zelaya was removed) is not happy about this. The kids keep saying “we have two presidents,” which pretty much sums it up. Neither one is backing down. This means that in Tegucigalpa their have been many demonstrations and marches. Michelleti has issued “taque de quedas” from 5pm-6am every day since. Tuesday, it lasted all day. This basically means that you are supposed to stay at your house and the only people on the streets are emergency personnel and the police. It is meant to keep the protests and such down and to not allow people to travel to Tegucigalpa. We are not being affected here except that we couldn’t go to Comayagua to buy food or use the internet on Tuesday. But everything is still calm here. I feel completely safe. I don’t even know how much of this is on US news, if any of it. But I wanted to let you all know that we are fine. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hola Amigos!
Wow! What a week it’s been since I last wrote. I have definitely settled into my routine of life down here. The kids had their end-of-quarter exams this week, so I spent most of my nights helping them study. 

On Wednesday, I watched the Honduras vs. Mexico soccer game with the girls from Guadalupe. They were so funny. It is really hard to describe how important these soccer games are to them. Half the girls don’t even like to play soccer, but they still watched it with intensity and hung on every shot. Sadly, Honduras lost 1-0 so they are not guaranteed a spot in the World Cup yet. Last Saturday, I watched a game that they won 4-1 with some of the kids from the mother’s project. I had to explain parts of the game to them because they were younger, but they just kept saying “our country is winning” and got so excited every time they scored a goal.

Thursday was Dia del Nino, a Honduran holiday, which means “Day of the Child.” It is a very special day for the kids. I spent Wednesday afternoon and evening making Jello and cakes with Miguel and his wife to take to the school. We also bought piñatas and lots of candy. There was a program at the school which involved some of the kids singing and dancing and putting on short plays. Then the teachers had planned some different games. They had potato sack races, relay races, spaghetti eating contest, and many other games. The kids were just ecstatic and had so much fun (screaming, laughing, jumping up and down). Each grade got a piñata or two to break open. I learned that hitting a piñata is a dangerous activity. I was terrified someone was going to get hurt, but the kids loved it and no one was injured. They also catered in a special lunch for the kids. It is so special to them to get something different since they eat the same food every week. They had so much food and candy that by the afternoon they were all complaining that their stomachs hurt. I think that this day is so good for the kids. They don’t get many opportunities to be completely care-free and to have their only worry be about having fun. It was a joy to see them just being kids. They were silly and crazy and somewhat out of control, but I loved watching them play and smile like they were the happiest kids in the world, which they very well might have been. Here are some pictures from the event: 

Spaghetti-eating contest. He won.

Pinata. This is one of the teacher's sons trying to hit it. The kids were very good about taking turns and letting even the ones who aren't in school yet try.

So happy (and overloaded on sugar):)

Friday, I taught my first English classes since I've been back. I am teaching English Tuesdays and Fridays and computers on Thursdays. I teach from 8:00-12:30 (six classes) straight, which makes for a long day. The first day of English went well. The kids were very well behaved because they are so excited to have someone different teaching them. 1st grade is learning animals, 2nd grade is learning how to say “I am happy, sad, tired, etc.” The 3rd and 4th grade are learning family members. 5th and 6th grade is learning “I like/don’t like (to run, to sing, to study).” Most of them like English class, but they always tell me that my language is very strange and sounds funny.

Saturday, the students from the university in Tegucigalpa came to celebrate Día del Nino with the kids. They did some songs and games with the kids (including more piñatas) and had a special lunch. This was another fun activity for both the kids and the university students. A few of the girls that came actually went to school at Guadalupe so it was like a homecoming for them. It was beautiful to think of these girls having started where the little girls now and seeing how grown up they were. They were very cognizant of the fact that they are where they are in large part because of what they received at Guadalupe. I also loved telling the girls that one day they can be university students and come back for Día del Nino. They all thought that was pretty cool. 

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hola Amigos!
I made it! I am back in Honduras safe and sound. For those of you who don't know me, I was a long-term volunteer here from January until May of this year. I am now back to serve as the house director for the volunteer center. I got here on Thursday afternoon. Hector, our driver, and Miguel, the Honduran that was in charge of the mission while no one else was here, picked me up at the airport. It was so good to see them. I don´t know who was more excited, me or Hector. As we were driving back to the mission, I had to remind myself that it had been three and a half months since I left. It felt like I had been gone a week. As you may know, the political situation in Honduras is a little tricky right now. However, as of today, I still haven’t seen anything other than some graffiti on the side of the road (which is normal) that would make me think there is a problem here. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem, but it is not as bad as I imagined it.
When I got to my house, it was easy to see that no one had lived there in two months. Things were left in disarray (ants in the refrigerator, stuff everywhere, etc.). That’s OK though. I will spend these first few weeks organizing and cleaning the house to get things ready for groups to come back. I like organizing, so it will be fun. I have to say that seeing the kids made me so happy that I came back. As soon as they saw me, they started running and were so excited. They haven’t even seen any “gringos” in months, so they were probably happy just to have someone new to play with and talk to. Seeing their faces and getting their hugs told me that I would be able to handle whatever tasks were put in front of me in the coming months. I wasn’t sure if I should come back to Honduras, but I know that I am where I am supposed to be right now.

Peace and Blessings,