Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth Day

I just want to write a quick entry about stuff I did on Earth Day. Wednesday mornings I take the kindergarteners to the library for story hour, so I did that and read them books about animals. We talked about why it's important to take care of the animals and the water and the Earth. Then the librarians had the kids color and cut out paper Earths and they hung them around their necks to take hope. And they learned an Earth Day song. It was really cute. Those kids are usually really well-behaved too.
In the afternoon the librarian and I went to the school to start our culture talks with the 5th graders. Every week we are going to cover a different continent. This first week was an introduction and we talked about why it's important to respect different cultures and people of different races. We played a country identification game, which they did ok on. It went well I think. And next week we are learning about Europe and Russia. I think I'm going to have to kids make little castles. In Honduras, they have an Environmental Day as well as an Earth Day, so I want to do more environmental activities for that.

Monday, April 20, 2009

i´m still here

I haven’t updated in over a month! Shame on me. I’ll make this a long entry to make up for the lull. As I type this, I’m sitting in my house, in my plastic chair at my plastic table, eating vegetable bean soup and listening to the cicadas outside. I made the soup yesterday, and it’s good, but this is the third time I’ve eaten it since last night and I still have a lot left. Honduras has really taught me to love beans. I crave them when I don’t eat them for a while. Here red beans are more common, but in Costa Rica and I think in El Salvador, black beans are more popular. I like both.

A note on the cicadas: they are HUGE, they three inches long. And, unlike cicadas at home that are considerate enough to only come out every seven years, these guys come out every year and make tons of noise for like two months before they disappear again. Sometimes they sneak their way into my house at night and fly around banging into the ceiling. They’re so gross.

So, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been doing. Right after my last entry, I had to go to Tegucigalpa to the Peace Corps office to see the doctors and get some tests for the brucela, my raw dairy disease. Everything turned out ok. I’m now done with the antibiotics and I think I might have to get another test to make sure they worked. The weekend after that, I went to visit my host family who I hadn’t seen in a while. They are all doing well and were in the process of building a very large swimming pool when I was there. I hear that the pool is now complete, is very nice, and has many visitors. I’m not sure if they’re charging admission or what the deal is. I’ll probably go see them this week. They are so high in the mountains that it’s usually too cool up there for me to swim. Here in town it’s considerably hotter. It’s in the 80s all day and it hasn’t rained in weeks. The sun is so strong is sometimes gives me really bad headaches. One week, I had a headache for three days straight. I think it’s because, not only are we near the equator, but we’re at a high altitude, so the sun is really strong. The rain will start in about a month.

I’m doing monthly talks at the high school with the 7th graders. (Here, grade school is 1st-6th and then high school starts at 7th). This month, in honor of Earth Day, I’m giving a talk on global warming on the 28th. I can’t do it closer to Earth Day because the students are in exams all that week. Last month, two other volunteers came to help me, and we did a talk on HIV/AIDS, which went pretty well. The problem was that we did it with 57 students at once, and it was just too hard to keep order. But it’s such a long charla that I didn’t want to have to do it twice. For all the other talks I do, I’m going to split the kids into two sections. The day after the AIDS talk, I went to the kindergarten to do story hour and one of the teachers hadn’t come, so the other teacher was stuck with all 58 kindergarteners. That’s a lot of little kids, but I have to say they were better behaved than the 7th graders. This week the librarian and I are beginning the culture charlas with the 5th graders, so that will be fun.

The library has all kinds of problems right now. We have very little participation from the town, and no funding. They are trying to reconnect internet, with a different, cheaper provider, but there are issues with the foundation. We’ve tried to get funding to pay for internet from various local organizations and companies and from embassies, without any luck. So we’re still looking for possible counterparts to help keep the library running. Fundraisers don’t work very well because they are a lot of work, and we don’t have to manpower to run them, plus people in town don’t really have the money to support them. We’re also exploring strategies to get more local interest in the library. It’s all very frustrating.

On a more positive note, we just had Semana Santa, or Holy Week, where pretty much everyone has the week off to spend with their families, and go to the river or the beach to cool off. I went to La Ceiba, on the north coast to stay with a volunteer there. A bunch of people came and it was a lot of fun. We swan in the pool, went to the beach, went to the mall, saw a movie, had some good food. It’s nice having a common week off where everyone is celebrating at the same time.

Sunday I spent a lot of time doing laundry and cleaning my house, which was getting really dusty. It was kind of gross. The longer what bugs and I go without cleaning, the more I dread cleaning I’m going to find in the process. Luckily, I didn’t find anything gross today, just lots and lots of dust. Last night there was a very large spider on my bedroom wall, which made me realize I could no longer put off cleaning. So now my house is nicer and cleaner. I also spent some time today reading in my hammock. My hammock is not as nice as it once was because it’s gotten really stretched out and hangs low and isn’t very comfortable, so I’m debating whether I should buy a new one. I’m reading a book by Jane Goodall about chimpanzees. I was really surprised my some of their behavior, such as killing each other, cannibalizing infant chimps, and having war among chimp clans. It’s an interesting book. I haven’t been reading as much lately because I’ve had a lot of other stuff going on. And I’m getting back into computer chess and spider solitaire, so sometimes I play one of those instead of read. Also, planning English lessons and charlas is pretty time-consuming. Well, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed all my random news and thoughts.