It seems like there are as many hungry dogs in Isopo as there are people. I got to be involved with interviewing some of the people in Isopo about the village, their needs and their problems. Poverty was an immediate response, but there is also a huge alcohol problem. One of the women we spoke to told us about how there are children as young as twelve who are alcoholics. Grandparents, parents and children, all in the same family have passed away because they were alcoholics. She told us that when the gringos are there, the drunks don't come out as much, but we did see a couple young boys who were drunk. It was really sad. On top of that, the community can't drink the water that should be drinkable because the wells are contaminated from pesticides and other waste. They really need new wells, but there isn't money for new ones. The children in the schools can't really learn computer skills because there isn't electricity, which really hurts them a lot, and most of them don't attend school after the sixth grade. There was a man in Isopo who left his girlfriend, and stole the roof to her house because it was "his." Pretty crazy. There is a lot of pain there, but a lot of hope too.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Some people wonder why we spend thousands of dollars sending a mission team to a foreign country like Honduras when we could just send the thousands of dollars. The people in Honduras are capable of doing to work we do, and we could build 10 times as many homes. Only people who haven't experienced this ask those questions. There were so many cool things that happened in Isopo, but this one was one of the coolest. North Central Church of Christ in Indianapolis, IN has been working in Isopo for four years, building relationships. One of their ladies classes started a knitting project specifically for the mission trip to Honduras. The women knitted scarfs, shawls, hats, blankets and shirts to present to the women in the church at Isopo. All the women in Isopo were so excited to be personally handed an item! They would put on their hat, or their shawl and turn to each other and just laugh! This is what foreign mission work is about: building relationships, and encouraging one another in love! We have family all over the world! Who doesn't visit their family?! The woman in the red in this photo was one of the women who got so excited about her new clothes. She and many of the other women and children came back the rest of the week wearing all the knitted treasures! I think I'll take up my knitting needles again! This woman was baptized the next day, along with six other people! The Lord is working in this mountain community, and all over the world!! WOW!
This was a rare treat we experienced while working on one of the homes. This guy just walked up to where we were with his horse and he started making it kneel. We had no clue what was going on, but when he finally got it to cooperate and lay down, he just sat on it proudly. He just wanted to sit down! It was pretty amusing, and we were all cracking up, the cowboy included. Don't see that everyday in the states. This is such a charming place, it's like stepping back in history. Everything is done the old fashioned way, and the old fashion way still gets the job done, sometimes better! I don't know that many farmers in the states could do what the farmers here do. They work on MOUNTAINS! Fields of corn are planted on mountain sides that look too steep to climb, but somehow, they are cultivated. It is amazing!
Aguacatal was a very interesting community, but it has nothing on Isopo. Isopo isn't a place you would just happen upon, but you can see the city of Tegucigalpa over two mountain ridges. Isopo is the kind of place where everyone is a farmer, and most people probably haven't been to the city. The kids don't know what a shower is, and TV would blow their minds. Right now, there isn't electricity, but there may be next year. Everyone rides a horse or walks to get where they are going. It is 30 miles driving from the capital, but it takes an hour and a half to two hours to get there. Driving to Isopo, you make three turns, and each turn off presents a progressively worse terrain to drive on. The main road is paved, enjoy it while it lasts. The second road is mostly small gravel with a few bad spots, still enjoying the ride. The third road is mostly dirt, with some washed out spots and big holes, it's getting rougher. Brace yourself, because the last road is a doosy. It is about as wide as the school bus we were traveling in, but it is almost entirely big rocks, and washed out channels. There are a few sharp turns, and when there are people waiting to greet you on either side of the bus the turns and bumps are a little harder to take. This photo is a good part of the road that ran in front of one of our construction sites. Everyone hangs their laundry on the barbed wire fences! It's surprising they aren't all torn.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The students at Baxter are awesome!! They work really hard, and study a ton, but when they aren't studying, I love hanging out with them; sometimes I hang out with them even when they are studying! I feel like I have been friends with some of these guys forever...it took about one day to feel like I was a part of this place! That's one of the reasons it is so wonderful!! :)
On Tuesday and Friday nights all the students play soccer, and if there are gringos here they are allowed to play with them any other night of the week. The gringos always get smashed because the students are so stinkin' awesome at soccer!! :) There have been a few gringo teams who actually got pretty upset that they lost so much, which is really funny because the students don't play to win, they just love to play. I love them!!
This is my friend Siney! He's from Tegucigalpa, and just started at Baxter this year. We were goofing off last night, if you can't tell...it's loads of fun here!!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I had my ears pierced! I figured after almost 20 years, it was about time to poke a couple holes in my ears. I got my haircut on Wednesday, my ears pierced on Thursday, and I am working up the courage for a tattoo of the Honduran flag! Just kidding, Mama! I think I will get the Honduran soccer team's logo instead! ;) The nurse at the clinic, Yadira, pierced my ears, and it was relatively painless, except for the numbing shots they gave me before hand. I did lay down the whole time, because I am a big wimp and I was scared I would pass out! My left ear is still bruised from the shot, but it's nothing compared to my knee! I love my life!! :)
Today has been an interesting day! I began my day like any other day. Wake up and six, breakfast with the students at seven...yada yada. About 7:45 I opened a disheartening e-mail from my mother. My cat, Sunnybaby, has diabetes, and I have to choose a treatment: put him on a diet that will help for a little while, put him on insulin for the rest of his life (which will only be a year or two now), or put him down. Needless to say, I can't put him down while I am in Honduras. So, I called the vet from Honduras. He has been in the office since Friday, and I had to make a decision today. I opted for the diet (because he is not suffering), and when I get home, I will probably put him on insulin, which means I have to give him a shot everyday for the rest of his life. My poor cat! :( But I'm glad he is not going to die soon! Se amo muchisimo!!
Anyway, that was the sad news, which I think will turn out okay. The most eventful happening was during my outing to the airport. Carlos and I went to pick up a mission group from Nashville, that will be working with the clinic. When I was carrying one of their bags to the dump truck (that's where we put all the luggage), I tripped over another bag that someone had put on the sidewalk. I landed on my knees really hard...and it was kind of embarrassing, but I really didn't care that much. Before we left the airport, I could tell that my knee was swelling pretty bad...but I didn't know how bad until Carlos and I got back in the truck and I pulled up my jeans. This picture is my knee a couple hours after my spill. The purple knot is not actually my knee, but the huge bruise growing on it!! AHH! It doesn't really hurt though...ibuprofen will be my best friend for the next few days!! I am glad I work in a medical clinic! Everybody there takes good care of me, from piercing my ears to wrapping my knee!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
There was one baby boy at the orphanage, but once he gets older, he will be sent to a boys' home. His sister is in the orphanage too, and his mother worked there, but she doesn't want to be a mom. She left her daughter there, and came back again pregnant, and now she has abandoned her son. I want to adopt them all.
Our group visited a girls' home while we were in El Salvador. The woman who runs it is from Spain and is caring for 20 or so young girls with only a few teenage girls to help her. Someone told me that she made a comment that the more girls she had the more money she got. It was a disturbing statement, and makes me scared that the girls will not be taken care of properly. They were all very sweet, and lively around us, but they are starved for attention and love. I don't know what would be worse, to be starving for food and know love, or to be healthy and starving for love. One of the girls asked a member of out team if she would be her mother. Ahh! Talk about wanting to take a child home!
On my way to El Salvador, my bus ascended to what I can only image are some of the highest parts of Honduras! I took this photo between 6 & 7 a.m. It was an early morning for me, but the views where worth it! This is a beautiful land!! :)
Monday, June 25, 2007
I love the Pacific! It is way better than the Atlantic, because there are always waves, and it’s not as cold, at least on the El Salvador coast. The only downfall is all the salt…it is much saltier than the Atlantic, I could see all the salt particles floating in one big layer. For those at home wondering, this is me and my friend David (pronounced the Spanish way, long a, short i). He is a student at Baxter, but he is originally from the part of El Salvador where we were working. He got to come home for the weekend and go to the beach with us. We had the whole beach to ourselves…it was a private deal with the hotel we were staying at. We took two bus loads of people, and when I say two bus loads, I mean Central America bus loads, which means on the school bus, people sat three to a seat. All the people were from the churches we had been working with all week! There were a ton of people, and it was a BLAST!
I never know what I will experience when I load into a car, truck, van or bus in Central America! The uncertainty of what could happen is kind of thrilling! On my trip to El Salvador, I sat in the very front, on the second level of a double-decker bus. This picture is my bus in the left lane of a no passing zone trying to pass, and there, in the not so far distance, is a big yellow school bus! We lived.
There is an unusually large population of ants living at Baxter. They are truly fascinating creatures, but they are viscous. I would rather cross paths with a wild iguana (which I did!) than be close to a colony of ants. I could make a list of all the different types as long as Bubba’s ways to cook shrimp in Forrest Gump: big red ants, small red ants, big black ants, small black ants (believe it or not, these are the worst), pincher ants, un-proportionally large-headed ants, spider ants, mac daddy king ants with wings (these ants come out and colonize in large puddles of water after the rain, and they are huge!), the list goes on. There are two steps I often travel that are covered with small black ants. Back in my younger, dumber days, earlier in the summer, I stopped to watch them work…it was cool…for about a minute. Then I felt a ton of pinches on my feet, like shots, and I look down to see tons of little ants covering my feet and my flip flops. Needless to say, I don’t stop on those stairs anymore, in fact, I do my best to kill a few of those ants when I pass by. If you have never experienced an ant attack, allow me to give you the virtual experience. First, you feel pinches, which seem like nothing. You look down and see tiny black specks swarming your feet, and then, the bites start to sting. If you are smart, you run away, and then brush off the ants that are on your feet. If you are stupid, you try to brush them off where you are standing. Don’t ever do that, you just wind up with more ants. After you successfully flee the massacre, and the stinging pain is gone, the bites itch. Sunday, on my way to church, I walked across the basketball court and saw a dead snake COILED under one of the goals. The ants were already going to work. When I crossed the court again, going back to my apartment two hours later, the ants had uncoiled the snake, as seen in the photo. I wish I could have taken a closer picture, but I wasn’t going to subject myself to more ant bites. So the real reason I am ranting about ants, is to explain why we haven’t had internet at Baxter for the past five days. There was an ant nest near the amplifier where the signal comes from, and the ants ate through the cables and shorted it out! I bet that never happens in the States! ANTS BITE!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
When our bus pulled down the drive of Jovenes, there was a collective, "YEAH!!" from all the boys! There are 85 or so living there now, and a lot of them rushed the bus, and even jumped on it to greet us before we had a chance to get off! This is me and Denis, my buddy from Jovenes! We've been friends since my first visit there in 2005! :) He's 13 now, and as sweet as ever! Last year we walked all around the grounds together, and he showed me this really cool leafy, plant thing that closes up when you touch it. I think the name had something to do with sleeping, but that doesn't really matter because it was so cool! I can't wait to go back and visit all the boys again this summer!
Shortly after arriving in Aguacatal, the leader of the Anderson group asked us if we wanted to go to a cave! Of course! Some people who had been before said that it was a rough hike, but I wasn't expecting what we went through. First of all, it was almost entirely uphill, on a trail not more than two feet wide, and almost the entire upward trail was rocks. And a lot of the rocks were loose, or slippery! When we weren't walking up rocks, we were walking through a sloshy, muddy trail with the biggest horse pies I've seen. I don't really know how horses got to where we were, but they did! We had to climb through a barbed wire fence and at one point, less than a foot to the left would send you in a free fall off a cliff. That also happened to be a place where the rocks were slippery from a small stream! Ha! The hike was totally worth it though! The cave was cool, but the view from the cave was the best part! It was incredible, and the picture doesn't really do it justice, but I tried!
I worked with a group from Anderson, Indiana, and we went to a community about two hours outside of Tegucigalpa. The last electrical pole was on a chicken farm about 45 minutes to an hour away from our final destination! At one point on the journey we had to get out of the bus and walk up a hill because the bus couldn't make it up with all of us in it! The road was pretty rough, to say the least. We took the worst switchback curve I have ever seen, and thankfully, we didn't have to get out, and Marco only had to back the bus up one time! On the way make we made the same curve, and barely missed the rock wall! If you are reading this Mama, don't worry, it was fun, and it's all part of the Honduras experience! When we got to Aguacatal, there were already a ton of people waiting for us outside of the school where we were working. They were all outside the fence, and barely made enough room for us to get through them so we could set everything up. We had an armed guard with us, just in case things got out of control, but everything was fine. The top of the fence was barbed wire, and I saw a woman lifting her baby over it like she was going to drop him on the other side in order to get in quicker. I almost went and grabbed the baby so she wouldn't drop him, or cut him on the barbed wire, but she pulled him back over. I can't imagine wanting, or needing rather, to see a doctor that badly. We are such a blessed people!