I’ve had really good weekends lately. On Saturday, I spent the day in Santa Rosa, the biggest town near us, with another volunteer. We went shopping and I got a new pair of jeans, which is pretty exciting. All my clothes are in a sad state so it’s really exciting getting something new.
On Sunday I took a trip with this man from my community who is the president of the library board and the market board and works in the mayor’s office. We went to a town about 45 minutes away to visit his brothers and sisters and we decided to call the volunteers who live in the towns we were in so they could come along with us. So four of us drove around with Don Carvagal to meet all his family. We went to seven houses in one day and of course at each house they’d give us something to drink. At the first house we had coffee, tamales, and birthday cake (at 9:30 am), at the following houses we had: Coke, another Coke (which I managed to decline), horchata (a local drink made from corn and cinnamon), a big lunch and green mango juice, banana soda (it’s kind of disgusting), and coffee. Of course we appreciate people being so hospitable, but it’s really rude to refuse anything, and it gets hard to drink so much sugar. And then I got home at 5:30 and it was my neighbor’s birthday so I had more birthday cake and Coke! It was a really interesting day. I got to play with a cute dog, hold a really cute baby, and meet a lot of good people. One thing I really love about Honduras is how hospitable, friendly, and open people can be. Often, even though you’re meeting someone for the first time, they act like they’re your best friend and invite you to do things and give you food and just be really nice and make you feel comfortable. I love that.
Last week was pretty busy. Our library just lost its internet and a lot of financial and logistic support that it had from the foundation, so we are writing proposals/solicitudes for funding and researching organizations we can solicit from. I’m doing a cultural project with the library for 5th grade in the school. Once a week the librarian and I are going to visit the school and do an hour session with the 5th graders about the cultures of the world. The first half hour will be a talk about a continent, including how people dress, eat, live; religions; wildlife; some history; etc. We’ll show pictures, maps, music, and videos. The second half an hour will be an activity, like face painting, drawing, doing a craft, etc. If anyone has any good ideas for this, please let me know. It’s an 8 week activity and the final week, the students have to present in groups about something specific of their assigned region, such as food, sports, native tribes, animals, or whatever they want.
Another activity I’m doing to promote the library is story hour with the kindergarten. It’s the cutest thing. My first day of it was last Wednesday and I had 40 little kids in the library. I was surprised by how well behaved they were, which I attribute to their amazing teacher; she is so patient with them, and they listen to her. I read them four or five little books and asked them questions and we did some little activities and they loved it and I loved it. There are two kinder classes so I’m going to rotate weeks with them.
I’ve also been visiting the high school. I gave them a long explanation of Project Citizen, which is an excellent 3 month activity about civic education for the students. They select a problem in the community, research it, research the current policies, and create their own public policy for the problem. They conduct interviews and use internet, newspapers, books, and generally learn how to research and develop critical thought. At the end, they present their findings to a committee. The director really liked the idea, but after I presented it to the teachers, they decided it would be too much work. It’s too bad, because I really would like to do it; but it’s not going to happen without support and participation from the teachers. So I’m going to visit the high schools in the two towns next to me to present it. On the plus side, I did schedule talks to do with the students, one a month.
I’d like to get the recycling going again, but prices have dropped from 2 lempiras a pound to 1 lempira a pound, which wont even cover transportation, so I’m not sure how it’d work. I’m going to develop a proposal with a local NGO (non-governmental organization) to look for funding for a garbage project. There’s so much I want to do, but everything takes so long and it’s very difficult to find someone really willing to work. But things are going well. Ever since I got back from the US, I’ve been so happy here. I don’t think I’ve had any bad days. That’s all for now. I’ll try to update soon.