Monday, May 18, 2009

Goodbye training....hello service

Hey ya’ll,

Greetings again from Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras. I am here in my new site in the west of Honduras. It’s a big city with a lot going on. There’s a lot of “action” and a lot to be done. More on this later.

A quick note that my last blog has been ready for two weeks but due to technical problems and lack of time I am posting two blogs at once here. Check out the one below as well.

So a lot has happened since my last update. On May 11th all the training groups moved back to Zarabanda for our last week of training. It was again a week full of a lot of information and crammed days. Most days all the trainees spent time after class to hang out with each other. It was a fun week and then on Friday, May 15th, I SWORE IN AS A VOLUNTEER. That’s right, its official, I am a full blown volunteer now. I took the oath from the ambassador and it was final. It was a great feeling.

However, many were frustrated by the day. They combined our swear in day with counterpart day. This is where our counterparts from our sites came out to the training center and we got to know them better and developed plans for our work. In the past this day was a week before swear in and swear in was followed by a celebration and proper time to say goodbye to friends. Our group was the first to combine these days. The day was rushed and it was difficult to soak anything in as we were quickly rushed to the next event.

The worst part is we didn’t get proper time to say goodbye to the great friends we have made over the last three months. I know some of these volunteers will be friends for life. Unfortunately, at the end of the day we had to get home quick. Therefore I said bye to friends quickly and we all went to our respective host families. It was a weird goodbye for some but I got to do proper goodbyes to those who lived close to me. The Las Ca├▒adas crew had a little goodbye gathering at my host family’s house. It was a cool little gathering but tough to say farewell.

The next day I woke up at 3am to take the long trip to Santa Rosa. It was a 6 ½ hour drive in all. However, I got to ride with my compadra Shannon, whose counterparts took me to Gracias, a town about an hour from Santa Rosa in the west. It was cool to ride together and realize how close in distance we are to each other.

From Gracias a counterpart of mine picked me up and we rode out to Santa Rosa. Well, first we picked up some Russian backpackers. They were a couple from Moscow and the husband spoke almost perfect Spanish. Oh Spanish, how I wish you would come to me naturally. Still a problem is my Spanish but I am looking to get a tutor here to improve. I almost didn’t swear in because of my Spanish…but I digress. So there I was driving to my Santa Rosa via the Honduran back country with my Honduran counterpart, and two Spanish-speaking Russians in the back talking about Russian money and Honduran soccer. What experiences I am going through. It’s awesome.

Anyway, I arrived here in Santa Rosa on Sunday and here we go. I will be working with ADELSAR, a development organization here in Santa Rosa. They are well known and make moves around this beautiful town. I will be assisting them in their economic development office with promotions and other related things. This means I get to work with video, media and design. This is not what I expected to be doing but am happy to get the opportunity. The office reminds me of office life back in the states but only with everyone speaking Spanish. They are very modern and very development and business savvy. Oh, and I am working with some German development volunteers too in the office (great Spanish speakers as well…they know an average of 3 languages….and I am struggling with 1…but I digress again ). Nevertheless I will also create side projects and others as I go along. So my work won’t be only with this office. I am ready to be busy I guess.

Changes keep happening, obstacles ever present, my mood and motivation continue on a roller coaster, yet I feel so content to be here. Every moment grows on the other. I can’t say I feel comfortable, but why would I and why would I want to. Staying on my toes, not knowing what’s going to happen next is what keeps me driving forward…I think.

I miss everyone back home tremendously and hope all are well. And also, I have a new address to send stuff to…its below. Send me whatever, even just a card or pictures to say hello is good…here it is.

Bryan Lemos
Apartado Postal 1800
Santa Rosa de Copan, Copan

Training…check….Now…Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras for 2 years….here we go.

Until next time…

PS I posted a tour of my new room on my youtube channel that is not here on my blog. Check it out if you want. I may put more little treats on my channel in the future.

Going to Santa Copan

Hola mis amigos de los Estados Unidos,

Hey friends, fam, and interested folk. I sit and write this entry as the rain pours down like you wouldn’t believe here in Santa Ana. It’s May and that means rainy season in Honduras. When I say rain, I mean hard rain. It’s hard to even speak over the downpour that hits the tin roof of my host family’s house. I hear this will continue for the whole month and some time after. It’s wet, humid, and about to get sticky.

I have great news. I found out where my official site is for the next two years. On announcement day our training officers had us build a map, told us about all the sites, and then gave us our site information packets and had us stand on our sites on the map. My site is amazing. The town is called Santa Rosa in the department of Copan in western Honduras. This is an amazing site! I am very fortunate and very lucky to have this be my place of work. I couldn’t ask for anything better for the next two years. Google it and check it out. My good friend Shannon, who some of you may know, got placed only 45 minutes away in the town of Gracias. We are stoked.

The best part of my site is the work I will be doing. Each volunteer here has a counterpart. This is the person who I will work with closely here in Honduras on all my projects. The main p[project I will have is working with an organization called ADELSAR (Agencia de Desarrollo Estrat├ęgico Local de Santa Rosa de Copan). In English, more or less, it translates to Local Strategic Development Agency of Santa Rosa de Copan. Part of this work includes working with the Escuela Taller, a business incubation program. (Google business incubation if you haven’t heard it…which you probably haven’t).

Another major part of my work, the part I am most excited about, is helping this program create some good marketing and advertising with brochures and video. I get to be creative and spread the word about the work the organization is doing. This is great because I will get to use my specific creative skills. I will learn a lot more as I go. There is a lot of work, and a lot to get going. After this great news I am ready to get after it.

I sit here with one more week here in Ojojona/Santa Ana. On Saturday we will say our goodbyes to the families and cruise back to Zarabanda for our final week of training. May 15th we swear in and the next day we are all off to our sites for two years…for me, Santa Rosa de Copan…rock and roll! It will be nice to finally get down to business.

On another note, I want to give my best wishes to my buddy David (Daveed) “Beisbol” Bartels. David was part of our Business-training group. Due to some complications, he went home early from PC. He is a great guy and everyone here misses him. There aren’t many David “Beisbol”s around and this guy was great. David, you are the man and come visit soon.

That’s all for now. Check out the video blog too, this one is short but sweet.

Until next time…much love…