Lauren's Peace Corps Experience in Honduras

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed and experiences described in this travelogue are mine personally. Nothing written here should be interpreted as official or unofficial Peace Corps literature or as sanctioned by the Peace Corps or the U.S. government. I have chosen to write about my experience online in order to update family and friends; I am earning no money whatsoever from this endeavor. Please do not copy or forward any of these contents without my permission.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Drum roll please....My site!

Well everybody after a lot of suspense I found out my site! Our project director took us to a lake side camp/hotel to make the site announcements. First however, he spent a lot of time describing each site, how he had made the decisions, and basically kept us hanging for what felt like an eternity! But FINALLY he handed out the folders with our site descriptions on it...

I am going to a town called Dulce Nombre ("Sweet Name"...cute huh?) which is right outside Santa Rosa de Copan, in the department of Copan! You should be able to look it up on the internet because the area gets a lot of tourists from the Copan Ruins, the famous Mayan ruins there that are supposed to be amazing. Santa Rosa is supposed to be a beautiful old town with cobblestone streets. It is known for its good coffee and cigars. The climate is gonna be perfect for me I think...I requested a not-hot place, and the average temperature is between 60 and 77 degrees. It is known for its green rolling hills and mountains and is supposed to have a lot of recreational outdoorsy stuff to do there. The nearest airport is in San Pedro Sula, which is about 2.5 hours from me.

I will not have access to internet in Dulce Nombre but will have to go into Santa Rosa to use the internet...I have heard lots of different estimates of the time to Santa Rosa from Dulce Nombre, but it sounds like it is about a half hour. So I will probably go into the city once or twice a week to use email. But, I will have cellular service there so I am planning to get a cell phone and people can call me whenever they want from the states and it won't cost me anything! There is also a post office there and a bank and some small restaurants, several kindergartens, an elementary school, a high school. There are planning to build a library and a mirimba school and want my help with that. I got a picture of my future house and it is cute! It's white with a tiled roof and a front gated area where I am already picturing my hammock. I don't know what it looks like inside but I think it will be nice because the current volunteer living there picked it out for me.

That is another thing: I am going to the same site as the volunteer who taught us how to make the improved stoves on Wednesday! She has had a lot of success in her site and will be a lot to live up to I think. The community will have high expectations of me. She will be there the first two months I will be there before she leaves. I am planning to visit Santa Rosa and Dulce Nombre in two weeks to look around and drop off some stuff, and I am very excited!

My project manager told me he put me there because he thought I needed a very safe place, I don't know what that means but I know my mom will be happy about it. He said he wanted me to live in a very safe town and so that's what I am getting. It's supposed to be tranquilo y bonito.

My counterpart is unique. It is the first time my project manager has matched a volunteer up with a community member independent of an organization, like an NGO or the health center. My counterpart is a member of the community who is educated and very involved in the development of the community. She supposedly has a very nice house 4 blocks from where I will be living, and wrote that she can offer me help with my Spanish, help with housing, and care and affection, haha. She hopes I can work with the improved stove/oven project, support the health center, perhaps work on a latrine project (we'll see), help with the new library and mirimba school, teach English, and work with the schools on teaching about health and self-esteem. I am not sure I will be focusing on the same things the former volunteer worked on a lot, because I really want to work a lot with the youth. But hopefully we can work out a balance with what I want to do and what the community wants.

Another thing I am happy about is that I have several friends going to the same area! My good friend Angela from Georgia is going to live in Santa Rosa, so I should see her a lot, and someone from the water and sanitation group will be in Santa Rosa too, but I don't know who yet. Also a married couple Danyel and David, my Spades buddies, will be living in Santa Rita, just an hour and a half or so from us, so we will probably be visiting a lot. Also, there are a lot of PCVs that live in the area, that aren't from my group and whom I will be meeting soon. There is a "safe house" in Santa Rosa where all the volunteers from the Western part of the country meet up and hang out, so that will be exciting.

Well I am sure I will be writing more about my site as I learn more. I am going to email the current volunteer there to get some more info and directions how to find her when I visit in two weeks. Go look up Santa Rosa de Copan though so you can see where I will be living! I can't wait for visits!

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