Because Everyone has Biases

imageThree biases:
I will now talk about 3 biases I faced when coming here to Nicaragua. Please understand that the point is NOT to say one of the cultural perspectives from which these biases came is better than the other.
1. Talking about weight almost always has bad connotations.
True, in the U.S. talking about weight is pretty off limits. We are extremely touchy with that subject, and almost every person thinks they need to lose or gain weight. Here, however, where someone might still make a hurtful stab about another person’s weight, the verbal context is what matters instead of simply the words “gordo” (Fat) or “Flaca” (skinny). The first time one of the staff members made some comment about one of his co-workers weight, I was completely shocked (Imagine big eyes, jaw dropping, quickly putting finger to lips to shush him, “WHAT, NO, NO, NO!”, type of shocked). Not that there aren’t eating disorders there or insecurities over weight, but those are not as distinctly attached to a certain body type, at least as far as I observed, and the ownership of more or less weight is not immediately seen as a moral discussion as it arguably appears to be in the U.S.

2. Time rules.
I believe this particular discussion holds true to more than simply Nicaraguan or Hispanic culture, but I was amazed by the relational vs time orientation in Nicaragua. When leaving to Nicaragua I assumed that people in Nicaragua and other Hispanic cultures were simply late to most appointments, like they just kind of set their clocks half an hour back and uniformly elected this new time to arrive at all functions. However, this mindset still grew out of my U.S. time orientation- still putting time as the ruling factor in the calculation. I discovered, however, that this culture actually views time as subordinate to relationships. Time is merely the chosen mode to order our relational interactions. For example, should one plan a meeting for 8:30, that number simply signifies the time around which the meeting will occur. Should you happen to receive a phone call, be in a conversation, or have a co-worker bring cake into the office, those interactions will almost surely take precedence over attending a meeting when a certain number is on the clock face.

3. Declaring your authority and enforcing hierarchy is negative:
This concept is still somewhat puzzling for me to explain, but I will do my best. I am studying social work and have thought extensively about the use of power structures and the fact that all men… and women, and children, and LGBTQ persons, and everyone, are created equal. I went to Nicaragua, therefore, and was somewhat disturbed at the flaunting of power and the distinctly hierarchical societal rules I could so easily perceive. I hated the fact that men viewed themselves generally as more important than women, and even more that many people took my word as gold and truth because I was from the United States. Power, authority, honor, and conversely shame and weakness were emphasized more highly than I had ever seen before. Another way to explain it is to say that if you had keys you jingled them, and the more you had, the more people could hear them jingling.
I was continually frustrated with this power structure until one day my boss looked at me in a meeting and said, “I do not have all the authority in this center. Each of us has our own kinds of authority and should try to use it well.” I then realized that whether we realize it or not, whether we want it or not, and however hard we try to get rid of it, all of us have certain types of authority. I can do many things with the authority I have. I can abuse those under my authority, I can neglect those under my authority because I am in denial of that authority or do not take it seriously, I can discover that that authority has been given to me unrightfully and seek to restore it to its proper owner, and I can continue to use that authority I have for good. Some of these decisions are inherently immoral and some of these are situationally dependent, but whether or not I like it, I will always have some sort of authority. I believe that this perspective is sobering and empowering, and one I had not thought about distinctly before. I am not trying to say that I understand this perspective as a whole now, but I am more able to understand certain aspects of it and willing to try to look for ways in which I can deconstruct harmful perceptions while still respecting cultural values.

Finalmente

imageAlright, this is fairly unacceptable. I should probably update this blog more often! I’m going to try just posting little stories instead of giant updates because that will be less daunting, I think. Not that you all don’t deserve a rather giant update, but…
Right now the kids are on holy week break. During Semana Santa here, many people spend their free week going to the beach, relaxing, and partying. I am mostly just breathing and having fun remembering that I am not just the work I do here and watching Netflix, and eating mangos. Basically being super introverted and absolutely loving it. Not that I don’t kind of really miss all my little compañeros, and I will be more than ready to see them again when they get back.
Daily schedules and activities shift from week-to-week, but I usually get up early enough to see the kids off to school at 6:30 every morning, eat my oatmeal in various stages of dazed philosophicalness, and get ready for my English class which I have every morning but Wednesday at 8:30 . Teaching middle schoolers English is everything but peaceful and predictable, but we’ll get into those adventures at a later date.
So, yes, English class finishes and I do…? The next part of my schedule until lunch is probably the most varying part of my schedule and has involved everything from home visits and leading a meeting with community leaders to making tortillas with my middle school students. 12:00 is lunch, and I usually spend the next hour or so going through emails, filling out the endless skeins of paperwork which a social work practicum entails, or translating some document or another into Spanish for the purpose of good communication with my director. 2:00 p.m. brings my daily guitar class with Jesus, and at 3:00 I lead a relaxation therapy class with different groups of the younger kids which is an interesting test in engagement skills and personal creativity levels. The last hour of my day after 4:00 p.m. is always my favorite. The kids get out of tutoring at that point, and so we spend the next hour or so waiting for their parents to arrive and playing soccer, hop scotch, and guitar. Most of my favorite one-on-one conversations and interactions have occurred within this hour as the daily stresses of school and work are shoved into backpacks and set aside for a little while.
One other thing I have started doing is volunteering at the special needs school for a couple hours 3 days a week to teach non-visual skills, and mainly cane technique, to the blind students there. I really, truly love this opportunity to bust up a few low societal expectations and to watch my students start navigating their school more and more independently.
So now you all get an exciting accomplishment story and a funny/ gross foreign country story.
Cool accomplishment:
This past week the educational psychologist, Guadalupe, came to me on Wednesday to talk to me about a meeting with the local community leaders which the HCN would be leading on Thursday. The HCN has plans to bring in new children/ families into their program and wanted to engage the local community leaders in this process. We had already discussed this as an event, but on Wednesday, Guadalupe came and asked me to help facilitate/ present at this meeting. She wanted me to discuss our organization’s principles of partnership and the definition of “at-risk” as it refers to children. I was excited but mainly nervous. I had never discussed these topics in front of a group… of important political figures in the community… in Spanish… with one day to prepare. I crammed, and translated, and crammed, and worried once or twice. To my great relief, the meeting went off fairly seamlessly; excluding the extensive political discussions between different communities, but, everyone appeared to believe those were the most natural part of our meeting.
Funny story:
Yesterday, the professors had an abbreviated work day as the kids were not here and we were just making some posters to put up around the center. In the middle of the day we had a giant vegetable/ crab soup. When I say giant, I mean that the pot was like the size of a dog tub and literally full of soup. When I say giant, I mean that they gave us taurine of soup instead of bowls. Anyway, enough about the amazing soup. On Friday, Marisol had told me that all the ingredients for the soup were in my refrigerator, and she said that I shouldn’t let the “animalitos” scare me. I was like “wait; there are little animals in my fridge? What is this?” A former staff member who had come on a visit was there and said in English, “She means the crabs.” Unfortunately, I definitely thought she said “rats,” so that didn’t make me feel better. After I simply stared at them with a completely shocked face for a few minutes, they re-explained that there were crabs in my refrigerator. Alright, so back to Monday. Friday’s shock was only one-upped by one of the professors discovering an actual dead rat that had begun to rot in the unused bathroom adjacent to my kitchen. Oh, the very unfortunate irony.
Maybe that is a really unprofessional place to leave this post, but Franklin just came to invite me to dinner with him and his brother and their professor, so I am unashamedly leaving to eat Nicaraguan food!

Conglomerations

I have now spent 3 weeks at El Ayudante, so I wanted to fill you all in on what that has looked like.
El Ayudante is a child care and community development center in the beautiful city of Leon, Nicaragua. I will take one brief moment to note, firstly, that I am in Nicaragua not Nigeria. Nigeria happens to be quite far off although it begins with the same two letters. Secondly, please note that the city is the same as my last name, so basically this is my city… straight logic! Anyway, back to the history of El Ayudante. This organization was founded in 2001 to be a child protection agency, and for the first 7 years of its existence children were brought here by the ministry of families to live here. In 2008 laws were passed that sent all the children at this agency and the other orphanages and centers in Nicaragua back to their families. However, these children had been removed from their families for specific reasons, so El Ayudante adapted to fulfill the children’s’ needs while respecting the laws. At this point El Ayudante developed their before and after school program which gives the children food and medical care, school supplies and tutoring, and counseling. Currently El Ayudante works with 29 children from several families in the community of León. The part of El Ayudante which runs this children’s’ program is called the “HCN,” and this is the part of El Ayudante in which I am doing my practicum.
So let’s rewind. I am currently in my senior year at Union, about to graduate with my BSW degree. For this degree you spend your last semester in an internship called a practicum. For my practicum, I chose to go to Nicaragua to work at El Ayudante, so I will be spending 3 months here doing social work at the HCN. Currently it looks like my main responsibilities will include teaching several of the older boys English, teaching guitar to a child named Jesús, leading a relaxation therapy class with the kids, making home visits to the children’s families, selecting and teaching a relevant subject within social work to the professors, parents, and children (drug awareness or something of the sort), and giving orientations to the US teams which come in over the history, purpose, and goals of the HCN. Apart from this I will spend much of my time with the teachers taking daily care of the children and observing and supporting the educational psychologist in her work here.
I’ll get more into the logistics of what my day looks like in a later post, but for now I’ll just tell you a few stories to give you some snapshots of my life.
Being bilingual is pretty rough! My first issue, however, when I came here was the thick accent they have here for the most part. They swallow all of their S’s here and use a lot of colloquialisms. There are many words that I have never heard before, and I will ask them and it will be their own Nica word for something quite common. My director has one of the thickest accents I have heard here, and I swear that the first day she didn’t think I knew Spanish at all… which is unfortunate. My brain is always swinging between English and Spanish. This morning I was trying to switch from Spanish to English and instead I simply started speaking Spanish with an American accent, which let me tell you, was pretty ugly. I have also been having trouble bringing the English words which I need to mind. The other day, I was speaking to one of the translators that come to help the teams here. I was speaking in English and could not remember the English word for fan. This is especially pitiful because the Spanish version which I could remember is actually “fanico” which is literally a lengthened version of the word in English.
As always people here were curious how I could be blind and independent. Every child here thought they had come up with a new game when they asked me how many fingers they were holding up while walking further and further away from me. Since they were simply saying “how many fingers do I have” I started telling them they had 10. If they said they only had 3 I would ask them how they lost the rest of them. I don’t think most of them got it for a while, but I thought it was pretty entertaining at least.
The director also called me over for a meeting with the guards and gardeners at one point. She told me that they had been asking her how I could walk wherever I wanted so independently. I informed them that I had been in training and that this was simply a different way of life. However, I may have first looked at them and told them with a totally serious face that I was a secret agent in the CIA, so I was just pretending to be blind. What was more amusing than that, however, was the fact that when I was relating this story to the educational psychologist here, I said, “and I told them I was a secret agent in the CIA,” and she didn’t understand that I had been joking, and it took me 5 to 10 minutes to convince her that I was not actually a secret agent.
Machismo culture is also very alive here which means, in part, that many men have a sense of entitlement and dominance over others. Many of the translators have been flirting with me to a point that is just very annoying. One particular translator, who shall remain unnamed for his poor overly confident self, has really been getting on my last nerve because the way he flirts is just so condescending and feels degrading to me. Anyway, he came to me the other day and said, “Rebecca, I have a quote for you.” (At this point I am already like “Please, no. Lord save us all.”) He continued, “Women are like the apples on a tree. The best ones are at the top and maybe they don’t think they’re that great because no one comes to get them, but it is only the best and strongest men who can climb the tree and pick them.”
Needless to say, this was pretty offensive to me on a lot of levels, so I looked at him and said, “Unnamed translator, did you ever think that maybe they are at the top of the tree because they like it up there and they don’t want anyone to come get them.
He looked at me for a minute and then just said “oh.”
I have been really enjoying my time with the children here. They are ridiculously kind and sweet kids, and sometimes I have trouble hiding a smile when they do something wrong because I am thinking to myself, “That is the worst you can do?” Due to confusion in schedule this past Sunday, a few of the kids spent most of the afternoon with me. I am very glad for I-phone passwords, although I was eventually locked out of my phone for an hour. I taught them the cup game, they taught me that the way to eat green mangos is with a mountain of salt, and we played guitar and hide and seek for a few hours.
As for great accomplishments so far, I think I should mention that after filling 1500 water balloons, the professors here and I are now quite adept and professional at the art of water balloon making, although we may have each had a few extra baths on that particular day.
Again, I’ll fill you all in on more of my schedule next time, but I hope you enjoyed this stream of consciousness!
Rebecca ~

Activities Group

 

The last week I was there in Honduras, I was assigned to help with the “activities group.” The kids had all just finished school, so we were assigned to visit most of the houses to play with and do activities with them. We would plan an activity for the whole week and adapt it to the different age groups. The first house we visited was the small girls. We had planned to do “Olympiadas” with a series of races and contests like tug-of-war or wheelbarrow race. We split the girls into 2 teams and colored flags. Then we started the games. It is very difficult to keep 20 6- 9 year-old girls in line. Eventually it deteriorated to Duck Duck Goose and Red Light- Green Light, and then at the end we took all the girls on a walk. As we were taking a short cut up the side of a steep hill, one of the girls stopped to show me a ground cover plant. When she first pointed it out, I couldn’t perceive anything special about it. She then bent down and touched it, and the tiny plants closed up around her finger. She and the other girls gently tapped one after another until most of the tiny plants had curled up.

“Why do they do that?” I asked her, trying to pull out her child’s imagination, “Are they afraid?”

“No,” she answered quite confidently, “They are sleeping.”

The inside of a child’ mind is so fascinating and precious.

On our second day of activities, we went to the small boys. This house of 6- 10 year- old boys had become my adopted house. I would spend many of my breaks and Sundays with them. We found them to be much more competitive than the girls, a and also much more organizable as a whole, but we had also learned from our experience at the small girl’s house and split up the house of 60 boys into smaller groups of 15. We brought each team in and colored flags and played game for about 45 minutes each. We would ask each group of 2 teams what they wanted they wanted their name to be. Originally coming in we imagined that they would say names like, “the dolphins” or “The Cool Kids.” Instead inevitably they chose their favorite soccer teams. Overwhelmingly they would chose Barcelona, but they would also often chose Honduras or Olympia. One team chose “Real Madrid” to my hart’s joy! I mentioned once, when he other team had chosen Barce first, that we could be “Los Tigres.” The kids liked the idea, but they thought it was kind of strange and funny.

On my last day with the activities group, we went to the medium boys yard. These boys are usually passed over for younger kids by the teams and sometimes even the volunteers as they span the ages of 11 to 14, and so are not quite so young and cute as some of the smaller age groups. I found, however, that they were just as needy of attention as the younger kids. We debated playing Olympics, but there were too few of them, so we just took out the soccer balls for them to play with. We kicked around balls, and did some tricks, or they did tricks and taught some to me. Many of them were really skilled with a ball. One 11 year-old could juggle a ball up to 75 times using foot, knee, and head. I spent the most time with 2 boys who taught me some tricks and showed me all of theirs. I got a bottle of soda, and we would set reachable challenges that if they achieved, I would give them an agreed upon amount of soda. By the end the boys had the whole bottle of soda and had broken many of their own records. I had poured the soda into 2 bottles, but they poured it into one to glory in the full, heavy bottle of soda. They then generously poured out some and gave it to me. I saw a side of them that most people hadn’t seen because I saw how generous they were when they had something to give. There was a deep sense of comradely in the knowledge of great feats accomplished and prizes won, and I was so honored that they invited me to share in this with them. There were so many children at the Orphanage whom I would meet and hang out with who were really extraordinary. They were funny, thoughtful, talented, or smart, but lacked the space, materials, or attention to really bloom, but for the few moments I was with them, I would glimpse their potential. I would get a distinct feeling of privilege mixed with a confusion as to why I had been allowed to see it.

Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos

Quick note: I have not been writing on my blog because my computer charger broke, and so, even though I am now safely in the states, I will now be finishing up a last few entries for my trip, as well as discussing some of my related experiences as I travel back tonormal life here.

Alright, the name of this post refers to an orphanage of the same name that I visited twice during my trip. The first time was a couple weeks before I left and the second was on my way to leave the country. Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos is situated between Emanuel (Which is n Guaimaca) and the capital, Tegucigalpa. It was founded a little over 25 years ago and is Catholic run.

There were some similariteies between Emanuel and NPH but mainly there were a myriad of differences. The most obvious of which, for visitors at least, was the lay-out. Orphanage Emanuel is highly groomed. All the main roads are paved, there are lawns which get mowed once a week, fences and bushes line the roads and mark where one yard ends and another begins. NPH on the other hand is, from the front gate to the most distant soccer field, basically just a series of houses and buildings scattered with seemingly no pattern through the thick rain forest. Excepting one main, unpaved road, I only ever saw narrow footpaths, and you were lucky if these were anything more than just big enough for one person.

This was rather a rude awakening, as my time atEmanuel had been sheltered by the semi- American setting and lifestyle. Navigating the small paths a night in the middle of a thunderstorm was definitely… memorable! The rules there werealso much more relaxed. At Emanuel, you would never see even one of the older kids walking by themselves, unless they were running an errand for their encargada. From the beginning at NPH, however, Amy and I would run into random groups of kids just playing at a random swingset or walking through the woods. There was a sense of structure in that any passing staff member or volunteer might check on you, but there were no filas and rows. It was more like a family than a military camp, and, in that way, my visit there was very refreshing.

In some ways the lack of obvious structures could be frustrating, though. Amy and I spent close to an hour trying to find our house in the rain forest before we found someone who knew where it really was, but in the process we met a number of kids who tried to help us and would walk us from house to house showing us how different doors worked, “you pull this one out and then push it like so…”. After we finally found our rooms, we went to mass. That was a very different experience from the Spanish Hillsong worship and lecture style preaching of church at Emanuel,. The “church” was really more of a pavilion in the middle of the jungle. The authentic Spanish worship sung by hundreds of children and youth’s voices to the rhythm of a wooden drum mixed with the the sounds of birds and insects to create for me a completely foreign atmosphere and a treasured memory.

After dinner that night, we went to a talent show of sorts. I think that many times familiar things with a foreign twist and in a foreign language can seem more extraordinary than something completely foreign in all aspects. I suppose because your brain is trying to fit it into an old framework, and in so doing comparing and contrasting with that familiar object, instead of trying to create a completely new framework for your experience, but that is my philosophical commentary for the day!

Most of that night and the next day were spent talking with my friend’s sponsor kids and their friends, visiting them at their house, eating dinner with them, listening to music, etc. In the morning there was a soccer tournament with an outside team that we went to watch. The music at the event was really dirty and all in English. It made me wonder if there is music in foreign languages that I listen to that is really dirty or strange, but I simply have no clue because of the language barrier!Also, I ate rabbit for the first time! I was eating the meal they served at the game. It looked and tasted pretty much like fried chicken to me. When I was done eating one of the boys leans over and says, “Hey, that’s conejo!” My brain is desperately trying to translate, and then a little picture comes to mind of me and some of the mom’s at the baby house cleaning up stuffed animals. I pick up a cute lttle bunny… “Que es esto?”

“eso es un Conejo”

Brain comes to a halt.

Cute little stuffed animal= meat n my bowl…

Interesting, move on with life!

 

Thank you for all of your prayers and support! I still have a few posts left, so keep reading!

Que Rico

Ok, now it’s time to talk about Honduran food! For a long time I thought that all Hondurans just ate beans with bugs and rice, but I have been finding out quite differently! So I just wanted to talk about some foods which are very Honduran.

Ok, yes, rice and beans, but really Honduran rice and beans have a lot of seasonings and flavor. Their rice is often much more like yellow rice, if you know what that is. Their beans too are usually flavored with cilantro and sometimes even spicy.

Hot sauce: Hondurans don’t usually make most of their food spicy, but they love their hot sauce. Probably because it can change even the blandest rice and beans into a tasty meal, and when I say hot sauce I mean HOT SAUCE!

Fried…: Hondurans fry a lot of their meats, but they also fry their potatos, yucca, and plantains, and green bananas. All of these unordinary vegitables have a similar texture to potatos, and so are quite good fried.

Avacados: Mmm, it is avocado season, and we have our own avocado tree in the volunteer yard!

Mangos: Unfortunately I missed this season by a couple months, but during mango season, I have heard that you can eat Mangos till you are sick!

Nances: Speaking of eating fruit till you are sick, nances are a very popular snack here. They are very similar to sour cherries in many ways. They have a pit, grow on trees, are a similar size, and are kind of bitter- sweet. Unlike cherries, though, they are neon yellow and their flavor is incredibly strong!The babies will eat a few and their poop will be that neon yellow color!

Charamuscas: Charamuscas are basically like popsicles. They are frozen fruit juice in a bag. You bite off one corner of the bag and suck out the juice as it melts.

Fruit juices and sodas: In the states you might ask at a restaurant what kind of juices they have. They would probably say orange and apple and then start listing their teas, but here in Honduras, their fruit juices are much more varied. They normally have flavors like pineapple, blueberry, banana, pear, and peach, to name just a few. And they have all sorts of fruit sodas as well, including banana, strawberry, and blueberry, not to mention the amazing variety of cool aid flavors. Also, one tip on manners, ladies are not supposed to drink right out of the bottle or can, they use straws.

Exotic fruits: Pineapples and coconuts are quite common here, and bananas are a few cents a pound.

Tortillas: …Where do I begin? Everyone enjoys their tortillas, even my babies at the house will not eat anything else if they see a stack of tortillas. There are so many ways to use a tortilla as well, from eating it plain along with your rice and beans to quesadillas, pupusas, enchiladas, baleadas, and a thousand other versions of stuffed tortillas.

La Ceiba 2

Alright, so where were we?…Oh, side note, I have been here in Honduras for more than 10 weeks now!

Ok, but yes, I had just told you about going to Honduran church with the street boys. Monday morning was chill. The interns had a planning meeting to talk about what kind of activity they wanted to do at English class, and we went to a craft store and picked up some lunch. Then we went to Armio bonito which is a suburb of La Ceiba. It is out in the country and is really beautiful. The team is starting a church there and have just gotten an Honduran pastor. They are also already running a clinic and are almost done with a highschool. Their intent is to have everything run by Hondurans which means that they need to hire Honduran teachers and doctors. I was very impressed with the way they cared even for the construction workers. The workers were using new types of materials and technology and were given the blue prints but allowed to use creativity in how they chose to build. The workers knew that it would be their wives using the clinic and their children and maybe grandchildren using the high school, and they took extra care to make sure that everything was both functional and beautiful. For example, the team leader showed us the perfectly rounded edges of the benches in the clinic’s waiting room and told us how he had first seen it and commented, “Oh, that’s nice, but why is it like that and how did you do that.” The workers had told him that they had done it to make it more comfortable for their wives when they sat down, and that they hadn’t really had any idea how to do it, so they had come up with the idea to use pbc pipe to create a mold. This kind of knowledge and creativity also would be invaluable in helping them to get hired in the future.

After our tour of those facilities, we helped the interns with English class. There were about 15- 20 kids who came in from the community that day, ranging  in age from 9 to 17. We worked on pronunciation and read a story together… and goofed off… and practiced stunts:D After English class, Mike took us to Puerta de Esperanza. This is a girls home for teenage moms with their babies. Shanon, the lady in charge, gave us a tour of the house and told us about the ministry. It is so very different from the baby house here at Emanuel. They take in 4 moms at a time, never more, and really focus on preparing them to live their lives as independent single moms in Honduras. 2 of the girls go to school and 2 have jobs. They are in charge of keeping their house clean, making a budget, buying the things they need, etc. They teach them how to take public transportation, care for their kids, stay within their budget etc. Each of the girls has their own room with their baby, which is not the same as living by yourself but is much preferable to the rooms lined with bunkbeds and cribs at Emanuel. Working at the house, there  are the house moms, an intern, and Shannon. After our tour Shannon took us to dinner with her family at a sweet little carribean restaurant. In the middle of dinner the lights went out, and we spent a few minutes trying to find flashlights on our phones or in our purses before the waitors came out with candles. It was so perfect, the candles, the Honduran food, the carrebian atmosphere with the sea right outside of the window.

After this we went back to Puerta de esperanza and had a Bible study with the girls. It felt very homy with fresh- baked doughnuts and their babies playing in the family room, and the girls sharing and laughing together. We studied the Prodigal Son and drew pictures of what we would do with a million dollars. Most of the girls said they would travel and buy all the things their babies needed.

Tuesday also felt very relaxed. In the morning we went to another neighborhood of La Ceiba. This one was situated on the bank of the river with jungle all around it. It was easy to tell that the people were poor there, from bathing in the river to hanging their clothes on their fence to dry. However, the people were extremely friendly and welcoming to us. We had Bible study and played games and collored with 15 of the kids from the community between the ages of 2 and 10. I felt like I was in a missionary story there- on the edge of the river, playing under an large, old shade tree, with women scrubbing their clothes in the river behind us. The kids loved to sing songs, hop in the bed of the pick- up truck, draw and jump rope. One of the girls left for a few minutes and came back with wet hair. I asked her where she had been, and she told me that she had been taking a bath in the river. We stayed there for about 3 hours.

After that we drove by to see the Carrebian sea. I was able to touch it and get in up to my knees, and  take some pictures. Then we went back to the dorms to have lunch with the street boys. Lunch was rice and beans and fish, and the boys ate a lot! When you are with boys like this there is just a lot of goofing around. They took breaks in their meal to wrestle with each other or sneak under the table to grab someone’s foot. One of their favorite games was to all run at the Honduran volunteer and try to take him down. After lunch we went around back to have a Bible study and then left to play soccer. We went to a nearby field and the boys played “soccer” that was much more like keep away.

When it was time for the boys to go back home, we piled in the back of a pick- up truck and drove to the outskirts of town where most of them lived. It started to rain… hard, but there is not much you can do about it when you are sitting in the back of a truck. We got wet.

Dinner was more baleadas with another missionary couple on the team who told us about their ministry. Then it was time for the game! Honduras was playing Jamaica and it was the deciding game for whether or not Honduras would go to the world cup! Obviously, Honduras qualified and we spent the night celebrating with some of the locals from the team and some of the interns as well.

Wednesday we got up at about 4:00 to catch our bus, and I spent the majority of the 10 hour bus ride sleeping. We stopped in Tegucigalpa to do some shopping before catching our last bus. First we went to a mall and then to an open air market. The market was pretty cheapand a little bit sketchy. It was the type of place where you bargain for everything. The little old lady who ran one of the stores we went into seemed much like a story book character as she croaked out prices while calling us doll the entire time. The different shops were tightly packed up against the street with random steps and curbs all along the path beside them. It was the kind of place where you can get a meal for a dollar and where you wouldn’t want to go after nightfall. The last leg of our trip was uneventful, and we reached Guaimaca and Orphanage Emmanuel exhausted but happy!