Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tacos, burritos, are coming out of my Speedo

A lull in action combined with a lack of sleep, sprinkle that lightly with diarrhea and you have a recipe for apathy.  I don’t know if it is travel sickness or sun sickness or both, but I tried to let an SBD slide the other day and I can’t be certain, but I think I soiled myself.  The first one of many I guess. 

The reality of living so far removed from American society sinks in when you need to buy food.  There are open air markets here and small stores to buy the bare essentials, but to go to an American style market it is a 45 minute drive on bumpy roads.  Luckily, Jose Ricardo’s 20 year old son goes frequently to Juticalpa for school so we can hitch a ride with him—at 6 am.  So, we arrived at the grocery store at 7 to do some shopping, knowing that we wouldn’t be picked up until Luis got done with class two hours later.  We took our sweet time picking out tortillas, salsa, and pollo.  We paid for the groceries and waited in the subtropical sun for 20 minutes for Luis to arrive jeopardizing our freshly bought perishables. 

I did laundry for the first time since I have been here the other day.  We do laundry the old fashion way here, by hand.  We don’t have a drier either, just a clothes line.  Laundry is something that is accomplished in an afternoon of scrubbing, not the simple setting of a dial and forget about it.  It was a fun first experience but I imagine it will get pretty old.    

The days run together when there isn’t much work to be done.  Most of us assume that we will need to improvise with the students and go with what works.  In this environment, lesson plans only seem to measure a lack of progress.  There are so many unanswered questions that maybe it is better to take inventory after we start to capture what worked and what didn’t so that we can learn from our mistakes.  So, in other words, we are going to wing it.

I have gotten to know Mario who is a neighbor of ours.  Mario is about my age and an extremely nice guy.  He works as a handyman in the town.  He is recently married, and apparently his wife is like 15 years old.  I suppose that is normal here, I don’t know.  What isn’t normal is why he is basically an orphan.  There was a dispute between his father and his uncle over money.  I think his uncle owed his father money.  Mario’s father killed his own brother in cold blood with a pistol.  His grandfather was angered by this, so he grabbed his gun, shot Mario’s father in the chest and then stuck the pistol in his mouth and fired for good measure to make sure he was dead.  The Evangelical Christian couple that we share our duplex with adopted Mario.  Mario’s last name is Zelaya, which is the same last name of the recently exiled Mel Zelaya in a staged coup in 2009.  Mel Zelaya is from this general area, so I asked Mario whether he was related and he says that he is Mel Zelaya’s nephew of some sort.  I imagine the Zelaya family is very large, but I thought it was interesting.

We had a barbeque on Friday as a welcome to the foreign teachers.  This meant that the kids did not have classes.  I was under the impression that we would be starting to teach Monday, but low and behold, we have another party on Monday and classes will be suspended.  Apparently, this happens quite a bit.  There are not nearly as many days in the school year as in the United States.  If the curriculum in the United States needs updated (especially the curriculum at Pleasant High School in Marion, OH), then the curriculum here is absolutely nonexistent.  In fact, part of my job here will be to document everything I do with the kids so that I can pass my material along to the next volunteer.  This should fit well with all my curriculum writing experience…

We had a party for Oscar’s 31st birthday Saturday.  We got a cake from Juticalpa and two candles, one candle was a 3 and the other a 1 for his 31st.  Oscar went around town and asked some younger people if they wanted to come to his birthday party.  Everyone dances in Latin America whether you like it or not.  I am not a huge dancing in public type of guy so this is pretty embarrassing for me.  It is just another way to take me out of my comfort zone.  Before the party Oscar saw the cake and the candles and made us switch the three and the one to make thirteen instead of 31, as if that wasn’t transparent.  Initially when we asked Oscar how old he was he said, “I’m going to be 30, bro.”  Two days later he said, “I need to tell you something, bro. I lie to you.  I’m not going to be 30.  I am going to be 31, I’m sorry bro.”  Oscar has an interesting personality—everything Oscar says in English has ‘bro’ attached, and if Oscar ever lies, he usually tells you the truth within the next couple days because he feels bad.  Delayed honesty, what an interesting personality trait...

Goals for the next week
  • Figure out how to jog in the town without drawing too much attention to myself and putting a target on my back.
  • Weekly hundred dollar challenge… My friend Cass gave me 100 U.S. dollars to see what it was worth here in Honduras.  I am going to post a different weekly product.
  • Post activities and stories about my students

With one hundred dollars you can buy 630 gallons of purified water in Honduras.


  1. Interesting, I have had the poop's for three days here in America. Apparently, the food standards of Latin American and of the Marion, Ohio Red Lobster are similar in that they both produce the same results.

  2. Enjoyed that post a lot. Interesting what kind of life people lead there. Indeed a world away. Be careful running. Good luck this week with the students. I know they are going to love you and you them.

  3. Hahaha. Love the $100 challenge. Genius idea. Looking forward to more of those.