Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Times and More...

Greetings again from Honduras. I guess I can say a late Merry Christmas. I did spend it here in Honduras. It was the first time I was away from the family for the Holidays and it felt different. Nonetheless, I had a great time with friends.

Christmas Eve here is really the big day to celebrate. Families go to mass and then come home to a feast and a fiesta. Then, at about 11 o’clock, the madness that is the fireworks starts. No kidding, all kinds and all sizes of fireworks blasted until 1 in the morning…two hours straight. It was pretty impressive.

On actual Christmas day the streets were quiet as most people rest from an eventful night before. Us gringos made it our big day though. My good friends Mo and Rachel visited along with Rachel’s dad and sister. Other volunteers came into town as well. In the morning I took the guys on a walk and mini hike to the back country of my town, then at night we feasted on a fantastic Christmas meal. The night was topped off with some dancing at a local bar with live Honduran music.

For the last week and a half I have taken off work to just relax and enjoy the holiday break. For new years a group of 7 of us are going to the North part of the country to a small Hotel in the Jungle. We will spend New Years Eve there then river raft and hike for 3 days. Another out of the ordinary holiday celebration but I am looking forward to it.

In Honduran news, all is pretty tranquilo (calm) as we say here. Everyone has pretty much accepted that the elections are over, the new president will come into power, and former president Zelaya is all but without options.

I also read a very interesting article on the coup and the effect on business here in Honduras. You can read it (here). It talks about how since the coup nearly 180,000 jobs have been lost (in a country of only 7.5 million) and during the times when nightly curfews were imposed the country lost nearly $50 million a day (with a GDP of only $14 Billion). In a country that is already the second most poor in all of Latin America, the argument of the effectiveness of the coup continues.

I also want to remind people of the Podcast for Peace Corps here in Honduras. You can find it on iTunes by searching Peace Corps, then clicking on “see all” in the podcast section. Its called “La Vida Hondureña.” You can also click here (you will need to open iTunes and be connected to the internet). We explain a little bit of what life is like as Peace Corps volunteers in Honduras. There are 3 episodes up. But for some reason iTunes only shows 2. If you click the subscribe button on the iTunes page however, the latest episode does show up. Subscribing is better because the updates come faster. I am also going to paste the latest podcast below.

So just wanted to say Happy Holidays, even though it’s a little late. I know there will be some crazy New Years parties back home so have a great time. Right now I am just loving things down here…living for the moment and soaking up what I can. Tough times come and I think just accepting that they will is the best thing I can do for those times. Its all a great journey…learning, loving, living.

…Until next time.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Times are good...

Greetings again from Honduras. A lot has happened since my return and even since my last blog. Here we go.

In Honduran news, elections for the new president are over and “Pepe” Lobo of the nationalista party is victorious. He will be sworn in on January 27th. This doesn’t mean the political crisis is over however. Some countries are recognizing him, some not. The US has an agreement to recognize the winner after congress votes, upon agreement, on the reinstatement of Mel Zelaya for the remainder of his term.

They voted and he won’t be reinstated, and more so, the supreme court still says if he steps foot out of the Brazilian embassy he will be arrested to face trial. Zelaya doesn’t recognize the vote. Mexico then tried to get him safely out of the country, only for Honduras to say he could only go under political asylum. This would mean Zelaya giving up all chances to be back as president. Click here (CNN) for more information.

The other day here in Santa Rosa I had a most memorable day. It was a Tuesday, World AIDS day, and in the morning I had planned to go out to the Aldea (outer lying small town) to work with the kids (check out the video below). In the afternoon I would return to my office at ADELSAR to go back to work for the first time since my return.

The work with the kids was great. It was my first day back with them and very fulfilling. It’s simple work, educational for the kids, and fun. I posted a video about it below.

Then, I took the bus back to town where I went to the Super Market for a bit. When I walked out, on the back of this SUV was a sticker. It was an AIDS awareness sticker, and I had designed it. I saw it on other cars too. It was all so unexpected. People were in the park all day wearing shirts and passing out stickers all with the logo I had created. People put the stickers on their cars and taxis that morning.

I will never forget this day as it really hit me that my work really meant something. I smiled on the outside, and more importantly, on the inside too. That sticker is now all over town…on taxis, cars, and other places creating awareness. I am reminded every day, when a car passes with the sticker on it, that I’ve made some small impact in this town.
My other work is going great too. I am just about finished with a promotions manual for my NGO. I am helping with logos and promotions for an artisan group NGO and will start working with another NGO to help more rural families with business and promotions practices soon.

Also, I started a Podcast for Peace Corps here in Honduras. You can find it on iTunes by searching Peace Corps. Its called “La Vida Hondureña.” You can also click here (you will need to open iTunes and be connectedto the internet). We explain a little bit of what life is like as Peace Corps volunteers in Honduras.

And, unfortunately, we are losing a great volunteer here in Honduras and a great friend of mine. My dear amiga Shannon has decided her time in Honduras is up. She wrote a great farewell blog here that explains it all. Its really hard to see her go as our story is a most rare one. She is a great person, volunteer, and friend. She will be missed.

Its really been a complete 180 here. I do believe all things happen for a reason. And what has brought me to this point has made me all the better. I can honestly say I am feeling good! I have high hopes for the future and am excited about what’s to come. It’s a nice breath of fresh air.

…Until next time