Monday, June 11, 2007

Lauren's 5th 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 fifth 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 5th Letter from Honduras--

Hi everyone!

Well I have now been in my new home for almost a month. Things so far have been really great! I really love it here.....everything...the people, the town, my work. I have been spending the last few weeks meeting all my counterparts, learning Spanish, and getting to know my way around the community.

Another volunteer who is in the Protected Areas Management project, Molly, got a site change to my city last week. She has been here for almost a year now. She is great and we have become really good friends! We are going to live together in a month when I move out of my host family's house. She is going to work in promoting ecotourism with Celeque National Park, but she wants to go to Med School when she gets home so we are excited to do some health projects together.

Last week Kate (married, business volunteer living here) and I did our first AIDS workshop together at a colegio (highschool) with 38 students. It went really great! The thing with charlas here are they have to be super dynamic to keep the students attention and keep it interesting. Powerpoint presentations just don't fly here. So I spent a few days making poster boards and a bunch of activities for the kids to do during the workshop. We did skits, condom demonstrations (using a plantain, because I forgot my wooden penis), games to resist peer-pressure to have sex etc. It went over really well and they really learned alot!

This week I helped my counterpart from World Vision run a two-day workshop educating religious leaders from Gracias about HIV/AIDS so they can educate the members of their church....pastors, fathers, nuns, etc. Also, we are fighting to overcome the discrimination and stigmatization people living with HIV/AIDS here often face. It was such a cool workshop. We took 26 of these leaders to San Pedro Sula on Tuesday where we went to visit AIDS patients at a major hospital there. Also, we had a conference with this well-known family here who all are HIV positive (the husband, wife, and 12 year-old daughter).

The father had unprotected sex once when he was 18 and a few years later got married and infected his wife without knowing he had HIV. They later had a daughter and only found out about the disease when the daughter was 6 months old, after it had already been transmited to her. But this family started a foundation called Llaves where they travel around Honduras, the States, and Latin America providing HIV education and fighting for the rights of HIV infected people. Also, we went to a home for orphaned kids who are all HIV positive. That just broke my heart... but they were all so beautiful and sweet and it was so cool to see how happy and hopeful they are. I spent time with a 14 year-old who had just gotten back from the hospital with Tuberculosis, who I could tell was depressed and struggling, but she let me into her heart and it was great getting to see her smile. Wednesday we were able to participate in an AIDS support group and then go to a Maquila (factory) started by a group of people living with HIV. So overall it was a really great experience and I feel really lucky that I was a part of it!

So that's all for now. I am just doing a lot of work with HIV/AIDS right now. I have a meeting tomorrow with the director of the nursing school here to plan what my work will be with them so I am looking forward to that!




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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