Thursday, September 29, 2005
On to amazing purchase number 2. For the entirety of the rainy season (since about May) I have been sweeping out gallon after gallon of water out of out church classrooms due to leaky roofing and the fact that the roof of the classrooms and the roof of the church building don't quite meet over the hallway in between. Thanks to a valient effort from one Mark Thurman, we have semblance of a gutter between the two but unfortunately any wind just blows the rain completely over the gutter and into the building anyway. The gutter is greatly appreciated but ideas for a replacement are in the works (sorry mark :) ). Anyway, add to this water sweeping, wet cement sweeping that goes along with stuccoing the walls and you have some serious sweeping going on. Up until yesterday this was occuring with two 300 year old kitchen brooms. Not the most effective of tools is an understatement. So yesterday along with my discovery of the amazing mop I also discovered industrial size push brooms. Yay!!! Today the sweeping took about half the time and effort. I am rather pleased with my purchases and I'm sure you will all get a kick out of the fact that I spent the last 15 minutes of my life writing about a mop and broom and then you will realize that you spent the last 10 minutes of your life reading about a mop and broom. Isn't life intriguing? lol Love you guys. I thought we could use a bit of a break from the heavy blog entries but I have another heavy one in mind soon I promise.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
1. Today all four of my boys showed up but we decided we really just didn’t feel like working. I had brought along some supplies to give to them in the afternoon. Saturday is always a long day because there is church at 6 in the evening and I stay all day. Today we decided to start an English class. The boys have been wanting me to teach English for a while and while I work it into the day a lot this was the first formal setting. I have to say I enjoyed it and the boys were absolutely enthralled. I look for that to dissipate a little but they are really excited about this opportunity, which makes me excited about teaching them.
2. I learned that the movie I took Fernando to last week was the first/only movie he had ever been to. I’m always shocked by discoveries like that but it makes me so excited about taking them again.
3. My favorite memory of the day: First a bit of background. In the group of kids that follow me around a lot is a family of 5 ranging in age from 3-8. The 8-year-old is a girl and she doesn’t really hang out much but the others are boys and they know I’m in town before I know I’m in town. I think they have some kind of Amber radar. Other people in town have come up to me as I’m pulling into town and said “how do they know you’re here.” I just laugh and say I have no idea they just do. In this family is a set of 4-year-old twins, David and Isaac. I love these boys sooo much. They are so rambunctious and will be running around like crazy and then land in my lap and stay snuggled there for the next half hour. I love it. Today 4-year-old David was doing just that thing and we were sitting watching the older boys play soccer. All the sudden he looked up at me, kissed me on the cheek, and said “I love you.” I smiled, kissed him on the head, and told him I loved him too, but when he turned back around I wiped a tear from my eye. These kids are so sweet. I’m taken back by their love so often. If imperfect me can love these kids so much, how much must God love us.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Things I’ve learned to love since moving to Honduras:
1. Grapefruit – Oh my goodness, I don’t think it gets any better than a skinned grapefruit with a little bit of sugar on the top
2. Fresh Pineapple – If you would have offered me either of these fruits before I moved here I would have wrinkled up my nose and given my patented “I’m a really picky eater” speech.
3. Driving a stick shift – It’s like playing a video game J
4. No traffic laws – scary at first but lots of fun once you figure it out
5. Cold showers – okay, maybe not love, but definitely appreciate. Hot showers are so draining.
6. Lack of TV – This has been a recent and hard lesson but I’m loving the peace of not having the TV going the whole time I’m at home.
7. Meeting new people – Shy little Amber was killed by Honduras mission groups.
8. Blogging – journaling has never been my forte and this helps me keep up with my own goings on
9. Honking - It gives new meaning to expressing yourself.
Things I still need to learn to love…
3. Plain tortillas
Friday, September 16, 2005
I got really sick last week, I think it was broncitis and that was no fun. I ended up spending about a day and a half just sleeping. Luckily one of the doctors from this summer left me a bunch of antibiotics and treatment instructions that cleared me right up. I’m right as rain now.
Last Sunday we had Dia del Nino (children’s day) which is a celebration almost as big as Christmas here. This included 4 pinatas, 50 bags of candy, toys, and other prizes, lots of chicken and rice, and over 80 kids. It was really a lot of fun.
WE FINISHED STUCCOING THE CLASSROOMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I count this among one of my great life achievements J actually we just finished the first stage but oh I was so excited. I think, I think, that the first part was the hardest but we shall see. We now have to go back over all the rough cement with wet cement and smooth it all out. This will be more time consuming but less physically demanding. We finished yesterday around the middle of the day so I took the boys out to lunch to celebrate. I kind of had that in mind as the day started so I kept telling them they had to finish but noon, but not why. They looked at me like I was crazy and said no way but they did it, it was actually closer to 1 but it works. When I asked them if they wanted to go to lunch at first they just kind of nonchalantly agreed (I always buy lunch for them but it is usually fried chicken from the neighborhood pulperia) At this point we’re all laying around on the church benches exhausted and chatting. Then they figure out I’m talking about going down the mountain into town for lunch and they get all excited. They decide they need to shower before going so they all runoff home to change. I don’t know where they found the clothes and shoes they put on but they were immaculate when they showed up at the meeting place. They were so excited. I love seeing them like that. So we all hop into the truck and head into town. After about 15 minutes of discussion they decide that Darwin doesn’t like pizza so that’s out, and we eat fried chicken all the time so that leaves hamburgers. Evidently Burger King is the place to eat a hamburger because that is what they all shouted when we decided on hamburgers. So off we went and we had a wonderful time. The boys tried to talk their way into the play area but didn’t have much luck since they are all around 14 years old. Oh I almost forgot sometime during that morning I became the official town ear cleaner. That was fairly disgusting but a needed chore. I cleaned out the ears of 6 children who had never ever had their ears cleaned before and were growing small farms inside them. The kids thought this was hilarious. Especially when I put peroxide in their ears and it tickled for about the next hour.
Now I’m back at Baxter with about 700 teenagers who are visiting for a weekend youth rally type thing. I’m supposed to have a couple of adult ladies staying with me but they have yet to appear so I will keep you all posted on that. Life here is wonderful. I hope that where ever you are it is the same. I love you all.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Once again we finished a room in one day!! It makes me so happy. I've had several things on my heart that I have been wanting to blog about lately so this is probably going to be a conglomeration of several ideas. First a touching occurance:
At the end of every day that the boys work I try and pay them something. Usually 50L - 100L. For those of you not up on your Lempira exchange rates that's about $2.75-$5.50 for a hard's day work. For me it is more of a token of appreciation than anything else, but for many of the poor people in honduras that is a good day's wage. So anyway, today at the end of the day I handed each of the boys 100L. All three of the boys said that I didn't need to pay them, but Fernando almost made me cry. He kept saying how thankful he was for all that I had done for him and that he would work for me everyday for free. It was so sweet. All I did was buy the kid some shoes and be his friend. Anyway after much arguing he said that this would be the last time he would take money from me for work. Such a little bit of love goes such a long ways here. In the morning all three of the boys are coming back to work and I'm excited about taking them donuts for breakfast, lol sometimes I really am a geek. Anyways, onto more serious matters. Please if you read this leave a comment with your opinion on at least one of the following subjects. I would really like some input:
1) How do you feel about giving money to beggars, either children or adults? I waver between not giving anything because most of it goes to by products that harm both the body and mind and feeling guilty because I have so much and they want so little. God calls us to give and I want to do that but at the same time I feel like I'm condoning bad behavior if I give money to the numerous people I encounter each day begging in the streets. Thus far my policy has been never to give money to kids because they use it to buy glue that they huff, but a few times I have taken kids to eat dinner instead of giving them money. Please let me know how you feel.
2) I encounter child abuse on a weekly basis here. Abuse of children I love by parents that many times I respect. I am at a loss as to what I can do to stop this or at least help the kids enduring it. Most people here believe that if you discipline your child and it doesn't leave a mark then it didn't do any good. I've even heard a doctor say this. I feel helpless to do anything for these kids that are obviously hurting, especially the adolescents. If you have any advice on what might be helpful please let me know.
I love and respect each of you so much. Your support and encouragement makes what I do here possibly and some days bearable. Today was highly bearable, it was a wonderful day, but sometimes I get bogged down by the problems of poverty that I face each day. Love you guys!!
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Phase I: At 10 o'clock my new favorite teenager Fernando arrived and sat outside my door for who knows how long because he assumed that because there were no lights on in the living room (I was laying in my room reading) that I must still be asleep. He probably would have sat out there for a good hour if I hadn't heard him tell someone outside that he was waiting on me because I was still asleep. Anyway, so I go outside and we head off on an outing to find new shoes. Poor Fernando had been running around in a pair of 300 year old flip flops until they fell apart the other day. The flip flops were back up shoes to his tennis shoes that have huge holes in the soles. I finally decided yesterday after seeing him running around in his mother's 3 sizes too small flip flops that the boy needed some new shoes. So off we go. We arrive at Payless, yes I said Payless. My mom was shocked to learn that there was a Payless here, actually there are lots of them. It's a very popular place. So we pick out a new pair of tennis shoes and take them to the counter. The salesman does a very good job of convincing me that the "Buy One, Get One Half Off" Sale is a must have so we go back for more shoes. We finally decide on a pair of sandals that will be good for running around Mogote in and hop back into the truck. I'm sure he has never had two new pairs of shoes at the same time in his life. I love this part of my job. It is so nice to give to these kids that have so little and are so appreciative. So I ask Fernando if he wants to go see a movie and at first he just looks at me like I'm insane and then he smiles and says okay. So we drive around the block to the mall and check out movie times. Unfortunately it is 11 o'clock and the next movie doesn't start until 1 o'clock. We decide to wander around and maybe wait maybe not whatever way the wind blows us. We walk through the middle of the mall (the mall is a circle with everything coming out of this big open hub in the middle) and to our surprise find ourselves in the middle of a ping pong tournament, a what? that's right a ping pong tournament in the middle of the mall. Fernando had never even heard of ping pong. I've never heard of Honduran ping pong. Probably the most random site I've seen in a very long while. So we hang out and watch that until lunch time, pizza of course, then we head up to watch the Fantastic 4. I actually enjoyed it and Fernando got a huge kick out of it so that made it worth it even if I hadn't have liked it. End of Phase I.
Phase II: We arrive in El Mogote where I drop Fernando off at his house so as to avoid him walking around carrying two pairs of shoes and a death warrant through town. At this point several children pile into the back of my truck for the ride to the church building. I then stand around for the next hour waiting for church to start and keeping my little horde of hooligans from killing each other in the back of my truck. I love my bunch of kids but there are a couple of the older ones that I have to try not to strangle sometimes. Anyway so church members finally start arriving at about 5:15 (church officially starts at 5) and we sit down and do the before church chatting thing. Eventually we get around to Dia del Nino (kid's day) which is this saturday. We had talked earlier about taking up a collection and making lunch for all the kids. I was very supportive of this and had planned on making little goody bags for all the kids from left over summer group stuff. By the end of the conversation I'm doing the shopping with another lady and most of the cooking by myself for the 50+ kids we plan to have on Sunday for church. Not that I mind this new responsibility but it is going to be interesting getting it all done. There is talk in the works of a pinata which I'm against (blindfolded children swinging large sticks make me nervous) but will be fun either way. So then we proceeded with church, which was great. Guillermo couldn't get there because of traffic (which I will get into later) so one of the men from church did the lesson and did a surprisingly wonderful job. All of the members are very shy about leadership roles so I'm always impressed when they step up to the plate. End Phase II.
Phase III: So after church a lady asks me to give her a ride to Cony and Guillermo's house and I say sure. We leave amidst rumors of traffic problems but nothing solid and the assurance that we can always come back and stay with someone in Mogote. Little did I know as I was laughing off the suggestion what I was headed into. Evidently somewhere between 3:30 when I arrived in El Mogote and 4:15 when Guillermo headed out for church every taxi and bus in the city decided to join together and have a strike in one of the main thoroughfares of the city, specifically the one between my house and El Mogote. We are driving along and all of the sudden people are driving over the median. I am very confused and ask what in the world is going on (I had already forgotten the traffic comments at church, everyone walks, how would they know). I'm not sure what the strike was about but it stopped traffic for a very very long time making my trip home take over an hour as opposed to the normal 20 minutes. By the end of it Guillermo was calling me to make sure I wasn't stuck on the road somewhere or lost. But we made it. I arrived home at 7:15 starving, thirsting to death, and very very glad to be off of the highway. Unfortunately I had to let poor Panchita, my driving companion, walk the last 4 blocks of her journey home because I wasn't sure I would be able to get back through all the traffic. I felt a little mean but she completely understood. She is a very nice lady. End Phase III.
And now I'm sitting here in my nightly 8-10 internet session writing about my crazy day to all of you, as well as chatting with my dear friends Meredith and Ann. I am so blessed. Sorry about the epic but it was fun to write. Love You!!
Monday, September 05, 2005
hanging out in Roatan
Oh My Goodness I didn't think I was ever going to get a picture posted into my profile. All you guys that do fancy stuff on your blog have my respect. I am very excited however about getting this picture onto the profile. Evidently I have to make a whole blog section out of it to do that but it works for me. Luckily posting pictures to a regular blog is much easier so I plan on doing that a lot more often. I love you guys!
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Today I didn't have anything planned to do so I decided to take some of the assorted toy cars, balls, and crayons up to El Mogote with me and just hang out with the kids. I've acquired a group of about 15 kids, from 2-8, that just kind of follow me around whenever I go up there and today was no exception. I don't think I will ever get over the joy I get from seeing 5 year old Selvin tearing down the road and jumping into my arms with a big hug. I'm working on getting some pictures onto the blog so you guys can share in some of these joys with me. I was a bit apprehensive about opening up my little bag of tricks today. This is a poverty stricken area where the rule is generally take as much as you can as fast as you can because tomorrow it probably won't be there. I wondered if all of my toys would be gone by the end of the day and had basically resigned myself to that before even leaving. I was pleasantly surprised however. Other than a few normal and minor skirmishes over the sharing of whatever toy was coveted at the moment I had no problems getting the kids to share and everything came home with me today. It was very encouraging. None of the kids that hang out with me go to school so I try to work as much "learning" into whatever activity we're doing as possible. Today we did a lot of work on colors and numbers. These kids are so bright. They just don't have anyone in their lives that has the time or patience to work with them. I'm hoping to get most of my little clan into school next year through heavy encouragement on the parents' side but that isn't until February so hopefully some learning can be done before then. Pictures coming soon.