Hola Dick. I am doing fine. I have met so many people and everyone has been so nice. It's amazing.
I am staying at the Pulpulorum (like a dorm house) at Colonia Monterrey. There are about 24 Honduran girls that live there. They are so very hard working girls. They are the poorest of the poor. Their day starts out very early. Maybe around 5:00 am. They are cleaning, studying, making their own meals (they all eat together at one time) and getting ready for the day. I hear them in the chapel every morning about 5:30 or 6:00. They pray and sing. Their singing is beautiful.
The Pulpulorum (our house) is a 3 level building. The first floor has like an office area (one big room) where there are a lot of desks and old computers. I think the girls and boys (the boys live in a different building) work on getting scholarships, work with sponsorships, and I am not sure of what else. There is a lot of business there. Also, Fr. Patricio parks his small pick-up in that room as well. On the second level of our building is another study area where the girls and boys will attend some classes. Their classes must start pretty early - I think 7:00 or 7:30. Fr. Patricio (who is in charge of this entire organization) wants the kids to be their best in education so classes are provided in the Pulpulorum as well as the kids going to a university. They study a lot. Also, in that same room is a long table where the girls all eat their meals together. They eat a lot of the same foods such as: rice, beans, eggs, tortillas, rice soup, veg. soup.... All of the girls take their turn in preparing the meals. They each do their own dishes as well.
Also, on the second floor is the kitchen where they prepare the food, two bathrooms which both have a sink, shower and a toilet. I always use the shower on their floor as the shower has warm water. Get wet, turn off water, soap up, turn water back on and then rinse off. Water is a precious commodity here. I don't want to be wasteful. The toilets do flush but toilet paper doesn't go in the toilets. There is a waste basket in the stall for the toilet paper. No big deal. There are also two big rooms that have bunk beds in there. Twelve of the girls live on the 2nd floor.
The 3rd level is where I sleep. The chapel is on the 3 floor too. It is a big simple room with a big cross and Jesus. I like going to the room to say my rosary. Also, on the 3 floor is another room where the girls do their homework. There is a balcony too. The laundry gets hung up out on the balcony. There are no dryers in Honduras. Line drying which I do back home in LeMars anyway. My room is shared with 5 other volunteers. There are 3 bunk beds and I have the bottom bunk - thank goodness. I don't want to climb up to the top bunk :) Most of the volunteers are from Spain. Some of them speak English. They are so nice and friendly. It's been great. They will be gone in December as most of them only do 3 months of volunteering. Then more will come. Also, on our floor is a pila (I think that is what it is called?) I am learning Spanish a little at a time. That is where we do our laundry. Use a cement scrub board with clean water. We do buy bottled water here as non-Hondurans we have to drink that. No big deal.
I have been working at the orphanage (Mother Teresa's) in the mornings. I love the kids. They are so adorable. There are about 40 little ones ranging from 1 year old to 5 years old. Busy place. I walk there in the morning. It's about 4 blocks from where I live. Shannon (the volunteer here from MN) went with me the first few times. I am now comfortable walking there by myself. I was told not to walk alone anywhere, but the volunteers from Spain said that after a week or two the neighborhood recognizes us and we are ok to walk alone. So I have been doing that. I am not scared. There are a lot of others walking, women, women with their kids. etc. I just ‘Bueno Diaz’ to the people I pass. There is always this older lady making tortilla's on the corner. Always a smile and Buenos Diaz :) I have learned several of the kid's names. I try to learn a couple a day. They like it when you call them by their name. When I get there between 8:00 and 8:15 it is time for breakfast. I help feed the little ones (about three or four of them) that need help eating. It is so cute as they are at short little tables (about 4 of them) with little chairs. I just sit right down by them. After that they wash their hands they play outside on their playground or out in front on the patio. The playground area is really nice. They have swing sets, plastic houses, little cars to ride on. etc... They really like being outside. When we play on the patio there isn't much for them to do so I want to buy some little books for them. I want to have story time with them. All little kids like to be read to. It's kind of funny as I can't speak Spanish. The kids try to talk to me but I can't understand them. I try to talk to them and they can't understand me either. I think we both get frustrated. I just try playing with them. Let them dance on my feet, play with my tennis shoes string (they knot them all up - it's too funny). I tried skipping, hopping, whatever. Play ring around the rosie....... I need to think of other games to play with them. Any ideas???? It will be fun when the Heelan students come down. The little kids will love them. I love the little kids. Can't wait until I can converse with them more. There are a few nuns and a few Honduran ladies that care for the children 24/7. There is so much work for them to do. Amazing. Lots of little clothes hanging out on the lines drying. Lots of cribs for the little ones. Last Friday I helped put them into their beds and the little munchkins knew what crib was theirs. That was too funny. They are so little. Love them!!
Also I have been to San Franciso, It’s a school building where the kids, from maybe grades 3 to 6, go before and after school to keep them busy and off of the streets. I walk there with other volunteers (from Spain) at 8:00. It takes us maybe 15 minutes. They call this place ‘the hole’. It is a nice facility that is a climb to get to. There are many steps so if one needs to get into shape, that'll do it. One day I helped paint wooden tops with the kids. Loved the kids there too. They know I can't speak Spanish and they try helping me out all of the time. They also want to learn English so I help them out. There are other people there teaching them English classes too. Also Spanish classes, painting, etc. They eat lunch too. The food there is pretty good too. I had rice soup with like a dumpling in it. It was good. Last Friday all of the kids took a bunch of supplies (food) up all of the steps. It was quite the process to watch. The kids have recess time. They play soccer. I want to teach them some other games too. So maybe when the Heelan students come they can teach them games too. I did teach them 4 square and they really liked that. I like going to San Francisco.
There is another popular food here called a baleadas. It was very good. It is a tortilla with beans and like a sour cream. Tastey :) I was already invited to one of the kids' house (his name is Misa - 12 years old) and they served us baleadas. I am going to sponsor Misa for school. He is done with the 6th grade this month and his family doesn't have any money to send him to further schooling. So for $20.00/ month I will send him. His Mom (Gloria) and Misa are so happy and so very grateful. That is why we were invited to their house. They were so hospitable. I met Misa at San Francisco. A nice boy.
I was invited to mass last night (Friday night). One of the Honduran boys (Vergilio) spoke English with me and told me that he plays the guitar and sings at mass. I said I would go. The church is right up the block from where I live (1/2 block). Fr. Patricio and the boys live in a building right next to the church. Right before mass started Fr. introduced me and welcomed me to Honduras. He said that he didn't speak English, but he tried a little. It was funny. After mass a Honduran boy stood up and spoke in English. He said welcome, thank you for coming and they were glad to have me here. He said that I was a part of their family now. If there is anything I need, to just let them know. Amazing. It made me feel so good. While sitting there during mass I thanked God for this wonderful experience. I feel I am a very lucky person
Went with Fr. Patricio and Louis (a man from Spain who can speak English as well - very nice guy) to a school called Santa Maria. That was fun to look around and meet more people. They have invited me to go and visit the other schools next week. Everyone has been so awesome. So friendly and helpful. I think my stay will be very nice. God is looking out for me :)
Well, I need to go for now. Luna (volunteer from Spain) has gotten a movie for us to watch tonight. Also some popcorn :)
Until Later Dick,