Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Project Begins

On Monday Greer, Ashley, and I walked over to the hospital to meet with the pregnant women who are waiting to give birth at the Albergua (or shelter), the building where women may go to stay for free before their babies come. We introduced ourselves, and asked if it would be ok with them if we come on a weekly basis, bring over lunch, and cook with them. The women are quite shy for the most part, most barely looking us in the eye to shake hands. At the moment, there are 6 expectant mothers and a few grannies and family members staying there. The next day, Ashley and Greer brought them a huge, colorful salad, along with some plates, bowls and silverware to stock the Albergua, which is a cinder block building with cots and not much else. After sharing the meal, Ashley and Greer told the ladies about the different nutrients that the salad contained, and why it´s so important to have each one as a pregnant woman. They cleaned their plates! We were pretty nervous about how a salad would be received, since the have lived their whole lives with the same diet of rice, beans, eggs and tortillas, but it was a success! They had also eaten all of the cereal we brought the day before, which is the main way for them to affordably receive much needed iron and nutrients in their diet here.

I didn´t go to the hospital on Tuesday because I came down with a bad cold from walking most of the day Monday among the heavy exhaust pollution and dust of the streets. It felt like my lungs had been scraped with a razor, but after a couple of days indoors I am feeling much better!

We also met with a woman at INFA, a childcare facility that provides free childcare for families below a certain poverty level. She is happy to have us come as often as we like to conduct English lessons with the kids. She had a terrific idea that we like very much - a garden on the premesis. What a great idea! It will be a fun project with the kids, but also support INFA with free veggies. We´ll also be talking to the kids about the importance of nutrition and eating foods that are all different colors. Fortunately in this region the climate and soil supports a great variety of fruits and vegetables.

This weekend we wanted to take a short trip to Gracias or La Ceiba, but yesterday our German housemate Toby who is here with a government program similar to the Peace Corps, told us that there is some political unrest and we should stay in La Esperanza. Apparently the president is very unpopular and corrupt here and he´s trying to change the constitution to give him absolute power. Fortunately (it seems?) the military doesn´t support him. The public is voting on the proposed consitutional ammendment on Monday. So, we will probably have to stay in La Esperanza this weekend. Boo for corrupt politicians, so inconvenient.

Ashley took some great pics of the women at the Albergua on Monday, which we then printed and brought them to them the next day - they loved it! I´ll put some of those up when I come back with her camera.

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