Monday, May 19, 2008

Proj Cit

All last week I was at the Project Citizen workshop with the rest of my project group, outside of the capital. it took 9 hours to get there and 9 hours to get back, on the bus. The highlight of the trip was that I got a haircut from another volunteer. It´s pretty short, like a little above chin length, with lots of layers. I like it. I got back Saturday night.
Every town has a feria, like a town fair, which is the day of the patron saint of the town. We are San Pedro, so our saint is Saint Peter, who´s day is June 29th. So it's a month and a half away, but the feria has already started! In the central park, there are booths set up with food, and fussball tables, and people selling candy. When the feria really gets started, there will be a feris wheel and other rides. They also do bull riding and events like that. Some towns only have their feria for a few days or a couple weeks, it´s exciting we have a 2 month feria.
Wednesday I have to leave for another Peace Corps meeting about Safety and Security, which I´ll write about later. I have to go now because the library is closing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

so on wednesday, we went to the special ed school and talked to the teachers. it was great. there are about 15 kids, of a variety of ages, and two teachers. they are in the process of building a new school since the building they are in is being loaned. this woman, the director, has a boy with down´s syndrome, and she almost single-handedly fought to get this school running. they are still lacking a lot. it was so nice to see the students and talk to the teachers. we are setting up a meeting with a lawyer to see what their educational rights are under the law.

i held the meeting to form the environmental committee, and only 4 participants came. so we went ahead and talked about the purpose of the meeting and showed a video on the future of the world in 2070, which was pretty powerful, and then we rescheduled the meeting for next sunday.

on monday, i have to leave for Tegucigalpa to go to a Peace Corps workshop for Project Citizen. i´m not that excited about it, because it´s such a long trip and i´ll be gone for a week. i don´t like leaving for long periods of time. but it´s a good project to do in the schools, and it´ll also be nice to see people I haven´t seen for a long time. That´s about all for now.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I almost forgot, I went with the high school students a few weeks ago to sell thier bottles to recycle and they had about 1,500 pounds, and earned about $150, which will go toward building a water tank in the high school, since it has no water now. I´m worried though about when school is over, because I want this project to continue, not to end when they graduate.

exciting news

Yesterday Rachel, a nearby volunteer, and I were in Corquin (one of the towns next to mine), giving recycling talks at the school. Then we went to the post office and were talking to the husband and wife who run it, who are a really nice, young couple. And the husband told us about a special education school for children with Down´s Syndrome and other disabilities, that´s in Corquin. This was really exciting to hear! It was an issue I had been thinking about for a while, wondering if I could get involved with special education, and I had no idea this school was there.

I´m not sure if it´s true, but he told us this is one of only two special ed school in the country, and to think it´s right here! The normal schools do not have special ed programs. So we are having a meeting tommorrow morning to see what kind of support we can give the school, in the form of funding, book donations, programming, things like that. Right now it´s being run mostly with money from the families. Also, another nearby volunteer in youth development actually worked as a special ed teacher in the US, so she´s going to come tommorrow to talk to the teachers and see what they are doing and what support she can give. I´m really happy we found out about this. I think we could get some funding, expand the school and publicize it so that more students can attend. I´ll let you all know how the meeting goes.

In recycling news, things are going well. I have given about 20 talks about recycling, talking to hundreds of students, in 4 schools and 2 high schools. Last Saturday I went with the high school students to pick up bottles in the streets. People were congratulating them on their trash collection. It´s a really good group, I like hanging out with them. On Thursday we are having a meeting here in my town to form an environmental committee.

On Saturday I held a training session for 5 patronatos in my town. Patronatos are kind of like town councils or neighborhood committees. There is one in each little neighborhood of the town. We talked about democracy, citizen participation, transparency, avoiding corruption, and how to prioritize community needs. It went very well, about 14 people came. There was lots of conversation and discussion, and people had some really good things to say about community participation in the government. Honduras has one of the highest corruption rates in the world, so citizen action is really important. The group decided to have a meeting with the mayor today, since they aren´t really happy about the way projects proposals have been handled lately.

Next week we have a Peace Corps workshop in Tegucigalpa for Project Citizen, a project to do in the schools. We are supposed to bring a teacher or community member but I can´t find anyone who is able and willing to leave for a week, so I might have to go alone. It´s a good project, I´ll explain it more later.