Saturday, June 27, 2009
The more people we meet and talk to, the more opportunities we find to get busy while we're here! We are now starting a garden at INFA for veggies that the families can sell for extra money and/or be used for meals for the kids. We're working with the mothers to hoe a garden on the property behind the school. Those ladies are tough! About five moms and a granny showed up with a couple of hoes, a pick ax, and a machete, and we took turns hacking the grass up to make space for our veggies. We worked for about 2 hours, but the moms did most of the work even though we would interrupt as much as they would let us to give them a break. I have big blisters on my hand, but we bought some gloves for Monday. A Honduran soldier who looked to be just 17 also was recruited to help us. He kept his automatic weapon slung over his shoulder the whole time. It was hard work, but when we looked up it is the most incredible view of lush green forests and hills in the background, plus a bg mean bull grazing nearby.
Next door to INFA is an elementary school. One of the teachers has invited us to come two evenings a week to teach English to older students and adults who would like to improve their English. We expect about thirty students total. Ashley, Greer and I have a good basic level of Spanish but this is how our post-meeting convo's go: "Did she say that she wants us to teach the teachers, or the kids? Did she say there's 30 students total, or we each have 30 students? Did she say she's that other lady's mom?" Miraculously between the three of us we get it figured out!
Ashley and Greer have about $5,000 in grant money, plus my $2,000+ so we are still exploring options for investing the money in the project. Right now we feel the strongest about improving the Albergua where expectant mothers stay before delivery. They are pretty much an afterthought to the hospital - they have cots, but no sheets. An ourdoor fire pit for cooking, but no purified water. I didn't see any shower or bathroom facilities there. We are currently fans of the idea of starting a veggie garden there, and hiring someone on a part time basis to keep the garden as well as make sure they have purified water available (all so cheap to do) To make the drab building a cheerier spot, we may add curtains and do some painting, perhaps buy them a refrigerator so they can store food, and sheets and blankets. Anything to let the moms know that someone cares. All under investigation. They have also requested hot water.
We are continuing our "Lunch and Learns" bringing them a meal each Tuesday full of nutrients, with a short explanation of which nutrients are the most important and why. We also make colorful posters with drawings (because some can't read) to illustrate the best foods to eat and why, and those will stay there permanently on display.
We're also meeting with a women's group on Tuesday and they're going to set us up with some dates for leading half-day seminars on nutrition/health in the outlying areas. Yay!
My one frustration is in learning Spanish. Ashley and Greer and I are usually together, and we just don't take the time to communicate in Spanish, so it hasn't been the immersion I was hoping for. I did ask around and found the name of a Honduran woman here who is a professora and will teach one-on-one lessons for 60 limpira, or $3 an hour. And if that doesn't work out, one of the Peace Corps volunteers told me she would do it for free!