Life here in Ocotepeque is definitely picking up. Like I wrote in my last blog entry, I’m finally starting to figure things out. They say that the first year of your Peace Corps service you hardly get anything done and that all of your work gets done the second year. Just starting my second year in Honduras I can already see that this is going to be true. It takes a really long time to get people to trust you and to want to work with you but now that that is finally starting to happen, I’m starting to get some great results. One of the things that I’m really excited about right now is our pregnant women’s club I’m running with Julissa, one of the nurses, at the health center. She’s really excited about it and we work well together, which has made our meetings lately very well received. The meetings are once a month and are really fun. We talked about breast feeding and infant nutrition at the April meeting and will be throwing them a mother’s day party in May (along with giving them an educational component if I get my way). I’m so excited with how things are going and am also writing up all the lesson plans we have for the meetings so the nurses will have a rotating curriculum to continue the meetings after I leave.
I still see the girls in my Yo Merezco youth group fairly often. We have tutoring at my house once or twice a week in addition to continuing our monthly meetings. Next month we’ll be talking about study skills and test-taking strategies so they can do better in school. I’m also going to the house of one of the girls who failed the year tomorrow because her parents don’t let her leave the house and I’m going to try to get her permission to come to my house for school work and to the May meeting…we’ll see how it goes.
Honduras right now is in the national vaccination campaign, which is where the doctors and nurses go to each village covered by the health center to make sure all of the kids have received their vaccinations. I went this morning with two of the nurses to two different communities, La Comunidad and Los Estanquillos. The walk was beautiful on the way up to La Comunidad and we could see the entire valley. The rainy season hasn’t started yet so it’s extremely dry, but still beautiful. We gave a lot of the kids vitamin A because people generally don’t get enough in their diets here and caught other kids up on their vaccinations. Although I mostly went for fun and to talk to the people in the communities since I don’t vaccinate, I did give some kids vitamin A, which you can see in the first picture I’ve posted. In the second are Nolvia and Julissa, the two nurses I went with, checking to see if the kids who stopped by were in need of any vaccinations.
Although I don’t have much free time when I’m here in Ocotepeque, last month I was finally able to get out to one of the Bay Islands for vacation. I went with some friends to Utila and it was absolutely amazing. We went snorkeling with Whale sharks (they don’t eat people) and dolphins and I also tried scuba diving for the first time! Scuba diving was really fun and I would like to get my license at some point while I’m here. I’m trying to get to know Honduras while I’m here as well as work a lot in my town which means there isn’t as much free time as I was expecting before coming to Peace Corps, but this is exactly how I want it to be.