Sunday, March 29, 2009

Site change...Here we are in Ojojona

Hola amigos,

Todo cheque aqúi en Honduras. (Everything is great in Honduras). I have been in Honduras for over a month now and the time has flown. Last Sunday the Business Advising crew parted ways with the others and 18 of us are now training in the town of Ojojona in the southeast of Honduras. This part of training is called FBT or field based training. We usually do half a day of language and the other half is for specific business training. We are learning about business co-operatives, business incubation techniques, and ways to effectively assess needs in any given community. It’s very specific and very analytical. As usual I find it fascinating.

My first couple of days here were a little rough. Of the 18 of us in business 7 of us got placed in a small town, Santa Ana, outside of where we are training in Ojojona. What can I say? I got dealt a terrible hand with the placement during this training. To keep it simple I was not pleased with my living situation. Some other minor things piled up and my mood was less than stellar. It took some getting use to but now its all good. Talking to current and past volunteers, and now with my new experience, I learn that lots of things happen that I will not like and not agree with. However, such is life. You gotta play with the hand you are dealt. You take it with a grain of salt and roll with it. That’s what I am doing…Rock and Roll baby.

Two weeks ago I also went on a volunteer visit to get a taste of what current volunteers in the town are doing. I visited two towns and two volunteers. It was definitely a good experience and I learned a lot. It made me excited about the work I can do in the field. There is a lot to be done. The challenges are vast. Things run slow here and I am learning a big part of the change is changing behavior. It seems to be the most difficult but most essential part of what I will do in Honduras.

Before coming to Ojojona it was time to say goodbye to my first host family. I will have had 3 by the time I am living alone in site. My last night, my family took me to the big mall in the capitol city of Tegucigalpa. We had Chinese food. The mall has every regular fast food joint from the states. I thought I´d be losing weight here but am eating less than healthy. What do ya do? This mall in Teguz (as we call it) is something else. The town screams of poverty, bad sanitation, crime and bad development. Then here is this huge mall. It is a carbon copy of the nice malls back in the states. I don’t feel as though I am in Honduras when I walk in there. It’s a crazy feeling.

The next day the business crew then boarded a bus for Ojojona. We took the hour and a half ride to the town. Once we were dropped off we had to haul our luggage. Let me tell you that this was not an easy task. I even left stuff back in Zarabanda and still I was struggling. Three of us had to walk for about 20 minutes to find our new houses. I had my hiking backpack with about fifty pounds of goods in there, my other duffle with a good forty pounds in it, and my regular daypack with about 15 pounds of books and my computer. So I hauled about one hundred pounds of gear down the back country of Honduras. Not only did we all look foolish but by the time I got to my new house I had a full workout and was sweating like a dog.

All in all things are going well. We are in a new town and learning a lot fast. It’s really hard to explain being in a different culture. This is not a vacation or a quick trip through a foreign place. We are immersed here. It’s a different world. I have not even begun to feel in place. The language barrier is still an issue. Just experiencing it is amazing though. I learn something new everyday and feel more alive every day. Check out the video blog below as well.

Until next time…

P.S. I got a new phone so feel free to call or text me anytime. Of course it’s international so check your rates with your phone company. I am also posting the address below of where you can send packages. This will change but it’s what I have for now. Gracias.

Bryan Lemos
Voluntatrio de Cuerpo De Paz
Avda. Republica de Chile
Casa #401
Colonia Palmira
PO Box 3158
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Phone # (dial this exactly…from the US) 011-504-9962-3181

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