Archive | May, 2010

Adios, Honduras

28 May

Tela in the early morning

So pretty

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Vamos a la Playa

27 May

This morning we spent a few hours planning out our Alt Break trip proposal for March. I can’t wait to come back! We’re going to organize so many amazing panels and speakers. Best of all, we’ll be able to travel to Copan, the old Mayan ruins in the west of Honduras. I am so excited to see that!! I really hope our trip gets approved because I can’t wait to return. I’m so ready to get home and write out everything! After planning we headed over to the OYE offices to continue our discussion with Luis. Mostly we talked about the Golpe that occurred last year. Luis and Kat showed us the magazine OYE printed during the coup. They tried to be really objective about it, using only a timeline of facts and pictures from both sides of the protest, but people were still offended by the magazine. Kat said she even lost a few good friends because of it. One of the positive things to come from the coup was that it inspired people to fight for something, and it pointed out many of the problems in Honduras. Luis told us how the military tried to take away a radio announcer in Progreso and the whole town stood out in the streets to stop them. Finally the military threw him out of the car just so they could leave. It’s inspiring to see people come together like that during a time of so much uncertainty and so many atrocities.

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Service Project, Complete!

26 May

Group shot in front of the mural

Today we finished painting the mural. On the way there Kat’s car broke down and we had to finish the mural without her while she waited for a mechanic. The mechanic thinks someone took the bolts from the bottom of the car – the ones that connected the axle to the wheels.

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Painting, painting and more painting

25 May

Students watching us paint

Making progress on our mural

We spent the whole day today painting the mural at the school, and it’s almost finished! The kids are still really excited about it, and came out to watch us on their breaks from class. We could tell they were excited when we first arrived. As soon as our car pulled in they all ran out to bring our supplies out of the classroom (we stored everything in the classroom so we wouldn’t have to lug it back and forth). We painted the faces and colors onto the mural. We also painted “Juan Ramon Morales” on the front of the building. We touched up the trim on the front so it all looked nice. Some of the kids asked us if we would be painting the whole school, and I wish I could have said yes. I wish we could stick around for long enough to paint the other buildings. We ate lunch at Leo’s friend’s house nearby. Just like the other Honduran families who cooked for us, they were very nice and welcoming. They offered to have us over simply because they knew we were painting the nearby school.

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Starting our service project

24 May

Today we went up to the school in the mountains and started painting the mural. We painted the whole side of the school building in a teal color, and all the kids were really excited that we were there. They all came out to watch us paint when they had a break from class. Some of them also came out during their class to watch us. They wandered around outside during class, and watched us through the window instead of doing their work. I was surprised by how little control the teacher had over the class, but when it’s so overcrowded it must be next to impossible.

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Exploring Los Campos

23 May

Palm trees

This morning we were invited to eat lunch with an OYE student (Iris) and her family. We had to take a public bus to get there because she lives out in the countryside. The buses, public buses, in Honduras are all old yellow school buses. The drive out was beautiful! The roads were lined with palm trees and palm tree plantations. The long drive was surprising because Iris has to take the bus into Progreso every day for school and OYE. There are no middle or high schools out in the area where she lives. The houses were very open. The floors were made of cement and the roof was made of tin but the walls were made of boards with large gaps in between. Their property was surrounded by a short wooden fence, very different from all the walls, gates and security in Progreso.

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Los Estudiantes!

22 May

Today we spent the whole day with the OYE students! In the morning we sat in on their monthly youth group meeting. We started out with a large group discussion, then split off into smaller groups, then got back together in the large group. It was difficult to understand the conversaton in the small group meetings, but in the large group we had Kat to translate for us. The session was called “Honduran Reality” – a forum for the OYE students to discuss problems in their community and country. When the students first came to OYE they hadn’t thought critically about any of these problems because people here have accepted their situation as hopeless. Many don’t have the education to question what’s really happening in their country, especially since the schools don’t teach critical thinking. This is one flaw that the Honduran and American school systems have in common. One of the students told the group how she used to teach at a school and was fired when she refused to go on strike. Change never happens in Honduras because it takes more than one person, and typically it’s only an individual or a small group who is willing to point out problems. Luis is quite the inspirational speaker – he explained to the students that they can be the ones to change things in their neighborhoods. During the group discussions the students talked about what they liked and didn’t like about their schools and neighborhoods. Much of what they said made me feel incredibly guilty about how much better-off my life has been financially because of where I was born. Many of the problems they experience are things I never even had to think about. Some of the complaints were that their communities didn’t have paved roads, street lamps, or sidewalks. When they talked about their schools, they said classrooms are overcrowded, some teachers don’t let them participate in class, and their schools don’t have enough materials. The students attending university complained that the professors were corrupt and could be bribed for good grades. They also gave out better grades to the children of their friends.

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Introducion de Las Escuelas

21 May

View from the balcony of the OYE apartment

This morning we went to a Nutrition Center in Progreso. They take in undernourished infants and nurse them back to health. The pictures we saw of the kids when they first come to the center were so disturbing and sad. They were so skinny and bony…practically skeletons. Some of the parents didn’t know how to take care of their child or couldn’t afford to do so, but others were just straight up neglecting their child. Terrible. The center feeds the children, provides them with the necessary medication, and teaches the parents about proper nutrition. In cases of abuse and neglect, the child is sent to an orphanage (or adopted, in a few cases) once he or she is nursed back to health.

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La Realidad de Honduras

20 May

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to the sound of roosters crowing, birds chirping, and people singing in a nearby church. It took me a while to fall back asleep. The sun rises much earlier here than it does at home. Kat took us on a walking tour of Progreso in the morning. It gave me a real feel for Honduran culture. All the shops are small, and completely open at the front. Tables and stands spill out onto the sidewalk, and you have to weave your way through them.

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Bienvenidos a Honduras!

19 May

Welcome sign outside the San Pedro Sula Airport

We arrived at the airport and I could feel the heat wave as soon as I got off the plane. We met up with Kat, who is going to be our guide for the next ten days. She drove us from the airport in San Pedro Sula to El Progreso. The drive was eye-opening…run down huts lined the side of the road, vehicles were broken down, and the curbs and sidewalks were in a state of disrepair. It was like nothing I had ever seen before in the U.S.

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