Friday, April 13, 2007

Lauren's Third Letter From Honduras

For those of you who are new to Positive Pelham, a friend of mine named Lauren has joined the Peace Corps and is going to be blogging about her experience in Honduras over the coming months. To find out more about Lauren, you can read all of her posts by clicking here. She's a special person doing a very good thing. Here is her third post. If you'd like to send her a message, you can use this comment form. Make it a great day!

Disclaimer -- "The following article does not reflect the opinions of the Peace Corps or the US government"

--Lauren's Third Letter from Honduras--

Hey all,

So earlier I didn't get a chance to send my email with my pictures. This last week in Honduras was Semana Santa. It is the one week during the year where everyone takes vacation from work and relaxes. We had classes up until Wednesday afternoon and then we had the rest of the week off. We weren't allowed to travel outside our site but just having the time to relax was much needed. Being in training and classes 8 hours a day really wears us out... so Semana Santa came at the perfect time during training!

My friend Raphael lives with an amazing family (its the house I had Spanish classes in the first 3 weeks, the mom who gives me eggplant, and I am good friends with the four sons)....well this family has an uncle who lives 10 minutes outside our site...he owns 80% of the land that the US military base is on here so he is doing pretty well..he has a beautiful house with a pool that he invited all of us volunteers to on Wednesday and we went again Sunday for swimming and a was so fun to just lay in hammocks, talk and relax! Thursday I went with my family to a big park a little outside of Tegucigalpa, called Parque Aurora. We brought hammocks and food and just relaxed again. They had a zoo, pool, lake, and playgrounds there for kids. I met my host mom's niece and nephew, Daniela (15) and Alfredo (19) who live in Tegucigalpa.

We became really good friends this week and I am excited because now I have a place to stay when I need to travel to Tegucigalpa..especially considering my $2.00 a day salary won't be able to pay for a hotel! They both speak English so it was good practice for me to be able to learn new words I don't know. On Good Friday in our site and in Comayagua they do this amazing thing called Alfombras (rugs in english)...they make these beautiful paintings of Jesus in the streets using sand, salt, and dyed sawdust...they start making them at 10pm and work all night until Friday morning...they are absolutely beautiful. Then on Friday there is a procession, where people carry Maryand Jesus and reenact the stages of carrying the cross and a crowd follows the the end they walk over the rugs and ruin them. In Comayagua, people from all over Honduras come, because there are dozens of rugs made all the way down the streets and the procession is should definitely look at my pictures of this because it is really amazing! Overa ll, it was a very tranquila (relaxing) week!

The week before we had a lot of activities...including learning how to make mud stoves/ovens and gardens. One of the leading causes of death for children in Honduras is pneumonia and resp. illnesses...primarily caused by people having really bad stoves in their houses with no/poor ventilation...the smoke builds up in the house and the children breath it in all alot of volunteers write grants at their sites to get funding to make stoves for the people in their villages. So we learned how to do that which was really interesting!

This week we are focusing on HIV/AIDS support groups and midwives. We have been learning how to lead support groups in our communities for people living with HIV/AIDS and then on Thursday and Friday we are going to be teaching a group of midwives from local aldeas (usually villages in the mountains that are hard to access and far away from hospitals) on how to deal with emergencies during births....we will be focusing on teaching them how to stop hemorrhaging, which is the leading cause of death here related to births. Saturday they are teaching us how to resuscitate newborns....

Tomorrow or Thursday I have my last interview about my site placement. They had us fill out a form with our preferences..whether we want another volunteer at our site, what we need at our site (internet, elect, etc etc), if we would prefer to work with the ministry of health or an our last interview is about what kind of things we want in our site...but to be honest with you, we find out our site in a week and half so I'm pretty sure they pretty much already have our sites picked out for us.

Helmith, our site placement director, pretty much already told me that I will be a first generation health volunteer at my site...which means their may be other volunteers there now (water & sanitation, business, muncipal dev., or youth dev.) but I will be the first health volunteer ever in this community....he wants me to represent Peace Corps well and make a good impression. So we are really anxious to find out our sites....but mostly I am excited...I am ready for training to be over but at the same time I have some of the best friends here I have ever had so I am going to really miss them. Well thats all for now...I'll let you know where I am going to live for 2 years when I find out!

I have posted many pictures on my website so you can look at them there!

Pura Vida



P.S. If you haven't signed up for the Positive Pelham newsletter yet, please send a blank email to with the words "Subscribe to the PositivePelham newsletter" in the subject line. I send out an email once a week with a recap of the week's posts. And, I take your privacy very seriously. I only use your email to send you the newsletter. No spam. I promise.

Thanks! - J. Anthony.

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