Honduras Day 2: 17 June 2014

Today, we got up at 7:30 and ate breakfast.  It was a little bit disgusting and one of the foods just looked like vomit so I just ate a banana and watermelon.  Can you tell I’m a picky eater?  I don’t really trust the water here so I went into the hotel shop and bought a huge gatorade for a dollar.  Totally worth it.

After breakfast, we went to Fray Lozaro, the community where we’re volunteering.  They gave us a presentation on basic hygiene and the typical hygienic issues that the Hondurans have, and we toured the area a bit.

The school

The school

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An example of the stoves we'd be making

An example of the stoves we’d be making

There were chickens somewhere in these people's back yards, though I can't see any now.

There were chickens somewhere in these people’s back yards, though I can’t see any now.

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Then we toured the three houses that we’ll be working in.  There were dogs running around everywhere.  It was hard to tell if most of them were pets or strays; they were allowed in the houses but were obviously starving and mistreated.  One family had a parrot named Rosita, but she was better cared for.  It was a little awkward just walking into their homes, but they all really wanted us there, so that helped.  They will all need a concrete floor, a shower, a toilet, a septic system, and a water storage system. We’ll be building those over the next three days.

The view from House #2

The view from House #2

Hammocks served as beds in some houses.

Hammocks served as beds in some houses.

A metal barrel holding the family's water supply

A metal barrel holding the family’s water supply

Rosita the Parrot

Rosita the Parrot

Building materials for House #1's sanitary station

Building materials for House #1’s sanitary station

The hole for House #1's septic system

The hole for House #1’s septic system

After meeting the families, we toured the Water Brigade’s site.  It was a long way up the trail, so about five other people and I jumped in the back of the pickup truck carrying our water supply. Then there was an even smaller trail that the truck couldn’t fit up that we had to hike.  Water Brigade was basically digging a trench to put in a pipe that will bring water down the hill to six or seven families, out of about 130 in the community. The community must be really spread out because I didn’t see anywhere near that many homes.  They had a well at the top of the hill where we ate lunch.  A family came up to get water while we were there.  The two little boys were SO cute.

The walk up to the Water Brigades' site

The walk up to the Water Brigades’ site

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The community well

The community well

A family coming to get water

A family coming to get water

A cutie who we'd be seeing throughout the week

A cutie who we’d be seeing throughout the week

We saw a herd of cows on the way back to the bus

We saw a herd of cows on the way back to the bus

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And we saw more chickens!

And we saw more chickens!

Then we walked back down to the bus and left to go to a nearby town.  We had a standard bathroom-in-an-underdeveloped-country experience: just a tiny toilet bowl, not flushing, no toilet paper, no sink.  I won’t go into detail, but it had a lot of the girl squirming.  I’m glad I read up about Honduras ahead of time, and I brought a bunch of tissues and hand sanitizer.  This was behind a little shop with a TV and a bunch of local men watching the World Cup.  We all got ice cream and stayed there for a while.  There was nowhere left to sit by the time I came back from the bathroom, and I’m not much for soccer, so I went across the street to sit in the park with a few other girls.  We were supposed to go to a market and a museum, but apparently the museum was closed.  I don’t know what ever happened to the market though.  Then we went to the church across the street, as planned.  Our program coordinator’s parents were married there, and one of the girls from Fray Lozaro was baptized there.  We looked around for about ten minutes, and then came back to the compound in San Lorenzo.

Sitting in the park

Sitting in the park

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The church

The church

I still don’t trust the water here, so I used a no-rinse shampoo shower cap, rinsed in the shower real quick, then used no-rinse bathing wipes.  The rest of the night was pretty low-key.  We had a quick meeting discussing all the projects we’ll be building throughout the week.  After that, I played cards with a couple of the other girls and Facebook messaged my mom and my boyfriend, then went to bed early.

Also, sorry some of these pictures are small; for some reason I can’t make them any bigger!

-C&C

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Honduras Day 1: 16 June 2014

I spent all morning flying.  My flight from LAX left at around midnight.  My mom was still in California from helping me move out of my dorm, so she took my first flight with me to Houston, so it wasn’t so bad.  Then from Houston, she went back home, and I went to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.  (NOTE: After my week long trip to Honduras, I still have no idea how to pronounce that.  All I know is it’s said FAST!)  I had to make sure she got on her connection alright because she had never flown by herself before; funny, because I’ve been flying by myself pretty regularly since I was 17.  It was good to spend some final time with her before I left.

The actual flying wasn’t too bad.  I slept for basically the entirety of both flights.  When I woke up landing in Honduras, I realized I had slept through the flight attendants handing out the customs and immigration forms.  The person sitting next to me was nice enough to grab me one and put it in my seat-back pocket, but I had no pen to fill it out with, and we were already landing before I could ask.

The landing in Honduras is supposed to be pretty scary.  When I got to my program, one of the locals said it was considered the most dangerous airport in the world due to rough landings.  He asked if I landed okay because most Americans say that it was really rough and that they were terrified, but I didn’t think it was too bad, just a bit bumpy, but nothing extraordinary.  I’m not afraid of flying though.

After I landed, I searched desperately for a counter where I could fill out my forms.  I remembered seeing some in the past when I flew into Jamaica and a couple European countries.  Of course, now that I was flying alone internationally for the first time, there were no counters to be found.  Eventually I found these tiny table with a complaint book on it, so I stole the pen from there and filled out my forms really quick.  A lot of people came off the plane behind me and got in line ahead of me, but I still made it through immigration relatively quickly.  Customs was kind of a joke compared to the United States, but most other countries are more lax than the US.

I got out to the entrance where people were waiting for their loved ones to get off the plane and all, but I didn’t see anyone in a Global Brigades shirt like I was told I would.  Luckily, after I did a few laps around the room, I found someone.  He wasn’t the leader of my group, but he took me where I needed to be.

When I got there, there was only one other brigader there already.  We had to stand around and wait for a couple hours for other people to get in.  When the last people, the people from the UC Santa Cruz group, finally got there, I realized they were all on my flight.  They were in the back of the plane, sure, but I still have no idea how immigration and customs took them two hours longer than it took me.

After that, the program coordinator finally took us upstairs to get lunch.  We were still waiting for even more people so we still couldn’t leave the airport, but they were getting in so much later that they decided we needed to eat without them.  They didn’t have us buy any food.  Instead, they went across the street and got us four small-ish Little Ceasar’s pizzas to split among about 20 people.  Of course, since I had slept through both my flights, I had not eaten since the night before, and it was around 1 or 2 PM by this point, so I was STARVING.  After my first tiny slice, I was just sneaking more slices when no one was looking, so no one thought I was eating their share, even though I probably was.  I didn’t care; I was so tired and hungry that I was beginning to regret my decision to come (obviously that didn’t last; I was just cranky).

After we ate, we still had a couple hours to kill, so we walked around to a couple of the souvenir shops.  I bought a canvas painting and a little wooden box that said “HONDURAS” and had chickens on the front.  I didn’t want to have much to lug around for the rest of the trip.  Then we settled in at a bar, where I ordered my first legal beer!  Yeah, I took three sips and didn’t finish the rest; I’m not much for beer.  Bleh.  But the bar had wifi, so I was able to let everyone know I landed safely.

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Finally, the last of the brigaders arrived and we could head out to the compound.  They took us outside where we had to walk aways past the airport parking lot to get to our bus.  Of course, tired hungry and cranky, I was less than thrilled to see we’d be spending the week in a school bus.  I tend to get really carsick (I’ve thrown up in school buses before) so I just took the empty seat closest to the front and prepared for the worst.  It actually wasn’t bad though.  I didn’t get carsick at all, and instead of regular school bus seats, the bus had more like coach bus seats, some of which reclined.  It was relatively comfy, and everyone was exhausted, so I think we were all asleep by the time we got the the compound, two hours away.  I stayed awake for the first hour looking out the window at everything.  It reminded me a lot of Jamaica, though slightly less tropical and with a lot less Rastafarians.  The driving was pretty similar as well: absolutely insane.  It reminded me of the Whose Line Is It Anyway? slogan… the rules were made up and the painted lines on the road didn’t matter.  Somehow, the driver got the school bus through two hours of rough terrain, steep mountains, and sharp corners.

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After we got back to the hotel, not much happened.  We ate like horses, then came back to our rooms.  I checked in with everyone back home again, then went to bed.

-C&C