March 12, 2007

We made it safely to the northwest corner of Honduras over the weekend and back to Santa Lucia. It’s actually not that far away, just takes a long time to get there due to all the bus and taxi transfers. We left Cuyamel (the site of the current volunteers we visited) at 7 am and made it back to SL at 4 pm.

On Thursday we got to San Pedro Sula around 1ish and the volunteers met us there. They took Luke and I to get cell phones and something to eat. Luke also bought some swim trunks and a pair of flip flops (both things he forgot to bring). We then headed to Puerto Cortes (on the coast) then transferred to another bus to get to Cuyamel.

Cuyamel is a small town (about 7,000) about an hour walking distance south from the beach. The roads in their town are all sand roads and there isn’t much to do in their town so they usually go to Puerto Cortes or to San Pedro if they need lots of groceries or want to see a movie. They have a really nice house which made me excited to get our house someday (not until July will we move into our own house). They have 2 bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, livingroom, 1 bathroom, 2 patios and a nice yard (with a banana, papaya, and avocado tree!).

We ate Thursday night at their house and spent Friday during the day checking out what they do for work. I went with the female volunteer who works in health around town to the nutrition center, the maternal and child center, and the health center. Every volunteer gets what they call a counterpart who is generally an NGO (non-governmental organization). The counterpart is usually the one who requested a volunteer to begin with and who the volunteers “works for” during their service. I’ve heard that some people are lucky and get really good counterparts who they work closely with during their entire service and others who only see them occasionally. The health volunteer that I visited worked with a Spanish NGO from the Basque country although all but one of their employees are Honduran. Counterparts are good for orienting you to your site, helping you find work, giving you transportation (in most cases they have a vehicle), etc.

Friday night we went out for seafood in a Garífuna community on the coast about 15 minutes from Cuyamel. I don’t know a lot about the Garífunas except that they were Africans who were taken as salves and brought to/shipwrecked on a Caribbean island until the English kicked them out. They ended up settling on the north shore of Honduras in the late 1700s/early 1800s and there are still very large communities of Garífuna there. Anyway, Luke had shrimp soup (made with a coconut broth) and I had garlic shrimp – both very tasty.

Saturday we made it to the beach. The north west shores of Honduras are not very developed so a tourist looking for a Caribbean beach vacation might be disappointed. This is probably why most beach tourists to Honduras go to the Bay islands just north of Honduras to do snorkeling, diving, etc. Needless to say, it was great to get a day at the beach. The water was a nice temp and the sun was pretty hot. We didn’t take a lot of pics but we’ll hopefully get a few posted soon. Saturday evening we returned to Cuyamel, ate dinner and went to bed so we could get up at 6 am on Sunday to get traveling back to Santa Lucia.

One more week here in SL then the three tech groups split up and we all head to our respective Field-Based Training sites for 5 ½ weeks. During this training we have lots of tech training and more language training (the Peace Corps staff travels with us) and we do a lot of hands on training in the community. For each PC Honduras group, the Filed Based Training is in a different location so that the trainees can practice their skills where needed in the community. The health group is going to a bigger pueblo and Luke’s Wat/San group is going to a really small pueblo so on weekends, he’ll travel to my site and PC pays for us to stay in a hotel since our tech groups are split up. Shouldn’t be too bad. It will be nice to get some time away from our hosts families on the weekends.

Hola, as you could probably tell the above was written by Annie, but now this is Luke, i am at the cafe posting what annie wrote last night and maybe adding a little.

so the visit was good, long journey, but a good thing to do. so i visited a fuente (spring) that is being developed into a water source. It appeared to be a clean reliable source of water, a good thing for the community. everybody needs clean water.

The volunteer i visited was working with the community on some issues that need to be resolved. mostly he was going to try and convince the community that they needed to charge more than 4 lempiras (20 cents) per month for a connection to the water system ¨(the town gets to vote on the tarrif). They had previously had a water system that doesn´t work because noone was taking proper care of it and charging 4 lemps a month does not pay to fix a water system, but now there system is broken and someone (foreignors/aid agency/church group/envirnonmental group....someone) has payed to build them a completely new one, and the volunteer was pointing out that he is going to have a hell of a time convincing the town they need to pay a higher tax for there new water system, they only payed 4 lemps prior and now they have a new one.

anyhow, I am learning that development work is a lot more complicated than I anticipated....... I would blog more about it, but I am afraid I would want to retract some statements in the future, as my opinions of what we do are changing.

Hope all is well in the North.... todo esta bien aqui

Cheque Leque,


sally said...

Can't wait to see pictures of the ocean! Also, if you could get a house like the one you are at... that would be fabulous because I have my summers off :) and we wanted to visit. They don't mind extended visits do they? All is well here. It is beautiful! 70's this week. It feel like spring!

Love you, miss you! Sally

Jason H said...

I would like to agree with my wife, but first I have to ask. How is the traffic? Do you need a traffic planner? If you answered yes to any of the questions above be prepared to have some visitors. Glad everything is going well.


dlcurren said...

Thanks for posting. I enjoy reading your messages. So Luke, you are involved in the water system in your town? Or maybe in all the facilities there?

dlcurren said...

Thanks for posting. I enjoy reading your messages. So Luke, you are involved in the water system in your town? Or maybe in all the facilities there?