Monday, January 28, 2008

Medical Brigade

Last week I went to help translate for the medical brigade in Lempira, a neighboring department. The people in the brigade were really nice. There were 3 doctors, 2 nurses, 2 woman working in the farmacy, 2 women working with the kids, and 3 men doing construction projects. Most of them were from Arkansas and they had very strong accents. In addition to me, there were 6 other volunteers there to translate. So we had a really fun group and it was great spending time together and showing off our knowledge of Honduras to the people from Arkansas. Some of them had come many previous years, but for some it was their first time here.

We stayed at sort of a compound, a center for training groups and retreats. There were a bunch of buildings. We slept there and ate there and the patients came there to be seen. They fed us so much. We had breakfast, a snack, lunch, another snack, and dinner. And there was so much food and it was really good. I felt like I was on a cruise, with the amount I was eating.

The first day we had a little over 100 patients. There were less the next days, and in the afternoons, we didn`t really have anything to do. They were hoping for more people to come. The first two days I translated for the nurses, so I was just asking people what was wrong, for how long they had had the conditions, and asked them to step on the scale. It was pretty easy.

The 3rd day in the morning I translated for one of the doctors. That was very interesting. Our first patient was a pregnant woman, and we got to listen to the baby`s heartbeat! There was another woman with extremely high blood pressure. They would have rushed her to the hospital in the US, she was really on the verge of having a stroke. They couldn`t do much, though, just give her lots of medicine. There was an old woman who they thought probably had throat cancer, and told her to go to a specialist, but she probably won`t be able to. There was another woman who probably had schitsophrenia. It was an interesting week.

I also helped with the farmacy, explaining medicine dosages to people, and fitting people with eyeglasses. Mothers would come in with thier 3 children, and they would be getting all different medicines, and in many cases the mother would be illiterate. So then I would have to carefully explain which medicine was for what and when to take it. It made me nervous, because it would be hard for her to keep straight all the medicines.

In the mornings I went running with one of the other volunteers. It was a really pretty area. We would go on walks in the evenings. One afternoon me and one of the other volunteers went to help the old man fish in their tilapia ponds. That was fun. At the end of the week, the nurses prepared goodie bags for us, with vitamins, coloring books, and lots of other good stuff. They were a great group.

This week I am puppy sitting my friends` golden retriever puppy. He is so cute but a lot of work. I will post pictures soon.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It`s really nice living in town. It`s more of what I pictured my Peace Corps experience to be. I like being able to walk around and talk to people and go to the mayor`s office when I feel like it and be able to go to nearby towns. This morning I had a meeting with the director of the Environmental Office of the munincipality next to mine, and the woman was really nice and they are doing a lot of interesting projects that I can help with. When school starts I`m going to start a big garbage education program. My neighbors are really nice and keep giving me things, like eggs, platanos, oranges, tortillas. The last few nights I`ve been playing soccer with the kids in the neighborhood. My landlady`s little boys have a Sega, but they only have the Sonic the Hedgehog game. And my other neighbor`s little boy has a PS2, but mostly just car games. Their fathers are in the US working and they sent the game systems here for the boys. Pretty much everyone in my town has either lived in the US, has a family member living in the US, and/or wants to go to the US to work (mostly illegaly). People have been asking my to teach English classes, but I think a lot of them just want it so they can go to the US, and I don`t want to endorse that. Itell them all it`s better to stay here and take advantage of the opportunities in their own country than to risk going to the US. Every day planes full of deported Hondurans land here. It`s a really hard situation.
Next week I am going to help with a medical brigade. Doctors from the US are coming and they need translators. There will be 6 doctors and 6 volunteers to translate. Meals and housing is provided for us. The brigade ends Thursday or Friday and then I`m going to my friend`s site to help with events for National Women`s Day. She works with a big coalition of women and they have lots of activities planned. So it will be an exciting week. Then I need to come back here and try to meet with the principals of all the nearby highschools.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

pictures of my house

my pila in the backyard where i wash clothes and dishes

my small bathroom, which i painted orange

the town park

the front of my house

the main room of my house, looking at the back door. that is the table i had built to use as a kitchen, with my electric stove on top. the red curtain is a traditional blanket with a dog pattern that i made into a curtain. and my pretty green walls. the other wall i am going to paint light brown sometime this week. i have been painting almost every night, it´s kind of addictive.

Monday, January 14, 2008

first week in my new house

12 jan

I´ve had a good and eventful week. Monday and Tuesday I spent buying things for my house and setting things up, and I painted my bathroom orange. I´ve been getting to know my neighbors. On Tuesday I went to the library for story hour. About 12 little kids came to listen. The librarian is a great story teller, she read Curious George, or Jorge el Curioso. After the story, she showed the kids different species of monkeys on the computer and then they drew and colored monkeys. They were all really cute. I love the library, there are so many good books in Spanish, and I can use the computers for free.

On Wednesday I went to a nearby town for a meeting with an organization that is building a garbage dump and beginning an environmental education program. I´m really interested in doing a similar project in my area. I was with two other volunteers having lunch before the meeting and my project manager, Jorge, called me to say he was on his way to visit me for my site visit. We all get site visits in the first few months in site so they can see how we are doing and what we´re working on. Jorge apparently sent me an email, but I don´t check email every day, so I had no idea he was coming. So then I was kind of flustered, because I had a meeting, but I had to meet with him, too.
But Jorge said no problem, he could come to where I was and meet with me there Jorge did our training, so we were with him for 3 months. He´s a great person and I get along really well with him. He got there a little before 2, and the meeting was at 2, so he came with to the meeting. It was a very interesting and beneficial meeting. We talked about the landfill, garbage collection, recycling possibilities, and environmental education. After the meeting, I met with Jorge and talked about everything I had been doing and my experiences. Then he came back the next day, Thursday, to meet with my counterpart. Jorge had some good advice and he said that he thinks I will do great things in my site. He probably says that to everyone, but it was nice to hear. Also, he brought me a bike that another volunteer had left. So now I have a bike, and I´m going to try to ride it to the aldeas in the mountains. He also came to see my house and he said it´s very nice and it´s secure.

I really like my house. It has one main room, which is the kitchen livingroom, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. I painted my bathroom orange one night, like the color of a ripe orange, and yesterday I painted two walls of the main room kind of a forest green color. It´s really pretty. I´m going to paint a third wall a light brown and the other wall I might leave white, because it´s a really high wall. My bedroom I´m going to paint blue and purple. I bought some traditional type blankets, made in Guatemala, to use as curtains. I have my bed, a shelf set for clothes, a plastic table, and a plastic chair. The carpenter is building me a large, tall table for my kitchen, since there aren´t any counters. It´s almost done, he just has to put some shelves in the bottom. I bought a 2 burner elctric table-top stove on Thursday. I don´t have a fridge, but some volunteers are leaving in April, so I´m going to wait and get one of their fridges, because I don´t want to have to buy one. Before I bought the stove, I was toasting bread over a candle flame. It felt very Peace Corps. I have a nice little backyard with banana trees, coffee plants, a white poinsetta, and some other flowers. And I have my own new pila to wash clothes and dishes, and it´s tall, which is nice, since I´m tall. There´s no sink in the house, so I use the pila for everything.

In the next couple weeks I need to meet with the school principal and the highschool principal to plan some things, and I need to meet with the environmental offices of all the nearby towns to discuss the garbage situation. I don´t have much time before school starts. The week of the 20th, I will be in a small nearby town to help a medical brigade. Doctors from the US are coming for a few days and they need translators. I think it will be interesting to see them at work and to learn some medical terms in Spanish. And the first week of February I need to go to a Peace Corps meeting. Everyone from my project, Munincipal Development, is going to this meeting to share our work and listen to some talks. It will be nice to see people I haven´t seen and hear about what they are doing. So I have a lot to organize and not that much time.
I´m really happy living in town. I love being able to walk around and say hi to people and go to the park and the library and it´s much easy to work and organize things. It was a good experience living in the mountains, but harder to get anything done. I´m looking forward to the next couple months and the projects I think we can start.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New House!

I moved into my new house on Sunday! It was pretty easy and fast to move, since the only furniture I have is a bed and a plastic chair. My host dad moved it all down with his truck. Sunday I spent unpacking, doing laundry, and getting to know my neighbors. My neighbors on my right are my landladies, they own my house. They are sisters, one is a nurse and one is a teacher, and the nurse has two little boys. The grandparents also live with them. They`re really nice. Today I have been going all over to buy stuff for the house. Like curtains, and paint. It`s so exciting having my own house! This afternoon and tommorrow I`m going to the library and to the mayor`s office to do some planning on how I can help them. Wednesday I have a meeting with a group that is building a landfill for some nearby towns. I`m really interested in seeing if it would be possible to build one for the munincipalities around here. Now that I`m living in town, I have a lot to do. Lots of people to meet and projects to start. This is the first time I`ve lived all alone, but it`s nice. I have a lot more independence. And it`s safe, my house is very secure, my neighbors are nearby, and it`s a safe neighborhood. I`m a few blocks from the central park where the mayor`s office is. It`s really pretty. I`ve taken some pictures, I just need to post them. My computer is still broken, so I`m trying to figure out where I can upload the pictures.

I`ve been in Honduras for almost 6 months now. I`ve experienced every month in a Central American country, because I was in Costa Rica January-June and in Honduras July-December.
I`m definately getting used to living here. I like it. That`s all for now.