I wrote this yesterday and was able to bring it on my flash drive to an internet cafe...how nice.
We finally arrived in Tegucigalpa Wednesday afternoon after a long delay in Miami, The Peace Corps staff meet us at the airport to take us to Santa Lucía. Driving through Tegucigalpa took quite a while since we ended up getting there during rush hour but after we left the city it was quite a nice drive up into the mountains toward Santa Lucía. Our families were waiting for us at the training center, which is a very nice building with a lot of friendly staff members, so we had a brief welcome to Honduras and then went to our homes. I live very close to the training center, about a five minute walk, with an incredible family. My host mother’s name is Erica and her husband is Hector. They have three children, Hector who is 13, Andrea who is 10, and Daniela who is 7 and Erica’s mother also lives with them. They even have a dog named Jumpy (but imagine it in a Spanish accent)! The kids are so great and since we didn’t have much time to do much on Wednesday they took me around town after class on Thursday. They showed me all around the town which is absolutely beautiful. It’s really fun playing with them and yesterday we even had races in the park for which they had spent all day making prizes (since it’s summer at the moment school actually starts on Monday).
So far I like what we’ve been doing at the training center. Even though the days have been long, from 7:30 to 4:30, we have been receiving interesting information. We’ve even had Spanish classes already but just two that we were placed in according to how much Spanish we’ve had. Most people had their language proficiency interviews on Friday although I had mine yesterday and we will find out what level we’re in on Monday or Tuesday. Then on Tuesday we start small language classes with other people in our level. We’ll also receive a lot of technical training in the coming weeks. I believe we will be here in Santa Lucía for only two or three more weeks and then will be moving to FBT (field based training) with our groups. The health group is going to La Paz which I believe is a community about an hour to the northwest and the Business and Water and Sanitation groups will be heading south of Tegucigalpa. We’ll actually be giving talks (charlas) to various groups about better health practices.
Yesterday we had a cultural fiesta at the training center with our families which was a lot of fun. Representatives of almost all the ethnic groups of Honduras were there and we moved from table to table every ten minutes learning about their cultures and sampling some of their traditional foods. After going to all the tables the Garífuna (an ethnic group living on the north coast of Honduras) danced and brought up several volunteers to dance with them. It was really fun to watch. After the dancing there was a ton of typical Honduran food which was delicious. It was a great afternoon and wonderful learning opportunity for the volunteers and Hondurans. I am really enjoying being here getting to know more about Honduran culture and this town as well as getting to know the other volunteers better.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I'm in Washington, D.C. for the staging event until early Wednesday. I left California on Sunday morning after spending the weekend at Stanford to watch Heather's water polo tournament. After getting in on Sunday night I was able to meet up with my childhood friend Alyssa who now lives in D.C. which was an awesome introduction to my few days in the city. We started staging events Monday afternoon so I was able to see some of the monuments and memorials around the Capitol in the morning. Staging so far has been interesting with broad and basic information and meeting other volunteers. Everyone seems really prepared and excited with a lot of previous international experience. Volunteers in this group are divided up into three groups: HIV/AIDS and child survival, water and sanitation, and business.
We leave for Honduras Wednesday morning quite early. As soon as we get there we will head for the training center in Santa Lucía for an orientation and introduction to our host families. We move in that afternoon and get to spend the rest of the day getting to know the family which I'm really excited for because as of right now I know nothing about them. Then for the first few days in country we have several orientation activities, cultural activities, vaccinations, and a language proficiency interview. Training is going to be very busy with activities, classes, and discussions during the week from 7:30 to 4:30 and on some Saturdays. I'm really looking forward to meeting the Honduran people and learning more about their culture.