Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Project Funded, Donation Complete!

I would like to announce that all remaining project funds have been transferred to a selected Honduran non-profit, Comixmul Cooperative Mixta Mujeres Unidas Limitada ( Comixmul's mission is to improve the social, economic, and and cultural standing of women. Some of the services they already provide include family planning and nutrition and health education, and this is an organization that we were in touch with while in La Esperanza. This donation will make possible a project to provide education in the areas of reproductive health and family planning, to be organized in eight groups of twenty women each.

This donation was especially timely because for the past months all governmental aid to Honduras had been cut off. I am really relieved that although we had to leave the country, that the work that we wanted to see will be carried out, and not only that, but we have contributed to women who are working to empower other women. Thank you again to everyone who has supported this project, even though it didn't go as planned! It was a really amazing experience.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's Happening in Honduras

This is a great update. While in Honduras we were dismayed that the international community, including the United States, would take a position against a country that bravely stood up for their democracy. While most US media outlets refer to the removal of Zalaya as a "coup" it was legal, while his actions were not.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Future of the Remaining Funds

Currently Ashley and Greer are in talks with an organization to donate our remaining project money, about $5,000, to a microlender under the stipulation that it be used to fund a project related to maternal health and nutrition.

I will keep everyone up informed when the donation is completed!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pics from Honduras

I was finally able to upload all of the pictures from the project! Rather than post them here, you can see them by clicking on the link:

I've also posted pics from my first week in Copan Ruinas. These are pretty touristy, but please enjoy :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Link Broken, Back in the US

I am sorry if you have tried to link to this blog unsuccessfully, it tells me that the link is broken and I'm not sure why. I'm writing this from my aunt's house in Kansas City, since we made the decision to leave Honduras for fear of the unstable political climate. Although we always felt safe in La Esperanza, rumors of the US Embassy closure, closed borders with Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, road blocks and the closure of roads into Tegucigalpa and potentially San Pedro, limits on the press/news, and finally the decision of the German government to pull their student volunteers at hours' notice (including our housemate) led us to leave the country versus take the risk of being trapped there. It was a very difficult decision to make with no right answer, however, the worried moms prevailed... Although we were assured of our safety by everyone we knew, the citizens seemed to contradict themselves when they said that they were also expecting civil war as a result of the government conflict.

So, where from here? Fortunately for me, this was a (almost) regularly scheduled flight as I was planning on attending a family reunion anyway, with plans to return to Hond. Now, I have a return flight credit, and will look into other volunteer programs in other Central American countries. I am personally leaning heavily toward Mexico, since I had a good experience there studying abroad in college. If you have any recommendations, please send them to me! I am hoping to make a decision this weekend, and fly out as early as Monday.

What was left behind...
We had established a strong presence in La Esperanza with good connections with the hospital, a garden in progress at INFA, and twice weekly English lessons at the elementary school. We had also just scheduled our first regional half-day health seminar, which was very terrible to cancel. However, the Peace Corps remained in Honduras, and we had a great connection with a volunteer who is in her third year there specializing in maternal health. We were at least able to leave her in charge of wrapping up what we started. Altogether not a very satisfying end, we can be proud that we worked hard and made connections with many women while we were there. I was so humbled by their grace and humility. After living for just 3 weeks roughing it (although not by Honduran standards by any means), it was really interesting to re-enter the United States with a new point of view. I have a new appreciation for some things, ie internet access, Starbucks, and dollar bills, but the value that we as a culture place on appearances and conspicuous consumption is also much more noticeable. It was a wonderful experience to live for just a short time in a culture so different from our own, and to be apart from the material belongings that in some way define who we are.

I loved Honduras, and it was a wonderful experience to be there.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Political Bonus: Military Coup

At the begining of the week, the president of Honduras was trying to have a public referendum to see if the country would support a constitutional amendment to let him run for re-election. The Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional, and the military commander condemned it. The heads of the army and other branches resigned in protest against the president. Then the Pres went and took hold of the ballots before they could be destroyed, and said he was going to hold the election anyway and they couldn´t stop him. This morning, the military removed the pres from office and shipped him to Costa Rica. By 4pm this afternoon, they had also sworn in his replacement (head of Congress) to serve until the next scheduled election in November. Hugo Chavez is being a big jerk and threatening to remove the new gov´t by force. We´re watching CNN en espaƱol and the international community also does not support the new president.

What does this mean for us? Several people told us that we should stay inside the house and not go out. We had a lot to do today, but instead we laid out, watched a movie, and slept. It is not very fun to be under house arrest I have decided. Finally we have ventured out to an internet cafe for some news in english and email updates. All is well, but the big stinker is I am supposed to travel to San Pedro Sula to catch a flight for a family reunion this Thursday, and the US Embassy is advising against any unecessary travel. I have my fingers crossed that in the next four days things get better instead of worse. boo

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cultural Bonus: Our Life in Honduras

Things here are so different!! Pedestrians do not have right of way. Jennifer asked, "do they have crosswalks?" haha! Such a NYC question... the roads are muddy dirt since it rains every day. Intersections in the city don't have stop signs.

We have a WONDERFUL housekeeper, her name is Elvira, who makes us breakfast and dinner every day. Mostly it's beans, eggs, sometimes fried plantains, and other veggies. I'm really sick of it, but at least we don't have to eat meat bc Ashley and Greer are vegetarians! I'm so happy about that because my first homestay regularly served fried bologna and really gross meat from the market. I don't know why everyone isn't dying from food posoisoning here, you literally see meat sitting out covered in flies at the market.

I got to do my laundry for the first time yesterday! I say got to, because no one here has washing machines. I did it in buckets and using a washboard! I really wanted to learn, but it took two hours, so the next time I'll let the cleaning lady do it. 50 cents per dozen pieces. Amazing.

There is delicious coffee here, but it's not very caffeinated, or else I would bring that back for everyone as a souvenir. Still looking for those :)

Sugar and Salt: on everything. There are maybe 5 aisles at the grocery store, one is devoted to sugar candy. The cereal aisle is all frosted flakes and fruit loops and sugar crap. Another aisle is corn meal. Half an aisle for pasta. Half an aisle for pet food. Half an aisle for this really gross butter/cheese stuff. I had cheeto's and ramaan noodles for lunch yesterday, b/c that is all I could find. I did find some American cheese kraft singles, but when I made a grilled cheese sandwich it tasted like chemicals.

So now I know how completely spoiled we are in the US with food, but I don't mind!

Other than food... the town is a small town, about 7,000 people, so we're starting to see familiar faces as we walk around. Lots of men say stuff in spanish or english when they pass, just because we're American, but it hasn't been really vulgar and we just ignore it. It's really safe here, and Greer says it will lessen once we become familiar. I had a bit of a shock arriving here at first from the contrast with the US, just so much poverty and dirt. But now I can see that things that at first appeared to me to be really depressing are really not that bad. So what if the houses are small, there are stray dogs everywhere, and the kids run around dirty and barefoot. People can still be happy and have everything that they need. Some of the things that we take as necessary to live aren't necessary at all. Probably a lot of things. Of course, there are real problems here too, with a 70% poverty rate, but I can now better separate the real problems from appearances.

Some of the moms at INFA are so beautiful, I really love getting to work with women. I WISH I could upload more pics, but still having technical difficulties. I'll be in the US next weekend for our 3 yr family reunion, so they'll be up by then for sure!