Hi everyone! It's Holy Thursday here in Siguatepeque. I have off the today through Sunday for Semana Santa, and I am enjoying the time off! Last night I slept for almost 11 hours...I was wiped out.
This week has been good. It's a lot like my first month in Siguatepeque as far as the schedule - Spanish class all morning, Health technical sessions in the afternoons. Only the feeling has changed. We are all comfortable here now, and their's much less of that uncertainty of the first month in Honduras. Our breaks tend to be longer and we are slacking a bit more. We are going out longer after class together. A lot of people are anxious to get to their sites. A lot of people are making plans with the other trainees that will be living close to them.
Our tech sessions have been very fun this short week. Tuesday we spent the afternoon at a self-sufficient farm called CEASO, right outside Siguatepeque. It was soooo fun. We saw how they run their farm, and visited all their animals and saw how they grow all their vegetables and herbs. Most of the 4 hours there was spent after the tour. We picked a bunch of different leafy greens from the gardens and then walked into the breezy kitchen for a class on how to cook healthy foods using stuff you can grow or buy in Honduras. We ate like gourmets. First we made Jugo Verde, which was like a sweet citrusy drink with tons of juice from green leaves, kinda like wheat grass juice, but sweet and yummy. Then we learned how to make soy milk with cinnamon and sugar. We ground up the soy beans, strained them through a strainer after adding a lot of water, and then boiled the milk for 30 minutes with cinnamon sticks floating in it. Very very yummy, kinda tasted like a warm Christmas drink. Then we made soy chorizo...ground up soy beans with garlic, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, salf and then cooked so that it tastes like ground up meat...we ate that with warm fresh tortillas. The best thing we made were these Tortas, which were eggs whipped up to a froth, flour, with lots of leafy greens, tomotoes, and other vegetables plopped into cholesterol-free oil and fried into cakes. Soooo yummy. We left very full and content with a great healthy cook book and ready to cook healthy in our sites.
Yesterday was interesting but a ton of work. We learned how to keep a family garden, so that we can either keep one for ourselves, or teach families how to keep one so that they can always have a supply of healthy vegetables and fruit. We learned how to prepare the earth, make seed beds, transplant the little plants, mix in compost, etc. I planted yucca, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccali, sweet peppers, and banana trees. I was dirty and tired afterwards, but it was fun. I had to haul in huge buckets of water and compost several times, break the ground up with a heavy pick axe and shovel. I was dead tired afterwards but I hope I will be able to have a patch of ground to have a garden.
This Semana Santa weekend should be fun. This is the only week most Hondurans get off a year. The flock in hoards to the beach. I went to the Palm Sunday service last Sunday, which kicked off Semana Santa. Tomorrow I am going to Comayagua, a city famous for its Good Friday events. They create these huge rugs made from sawdust of different bright colors that usually depict a religious picture. Then around 9 a.m. these beautiful rugs that have been worked on since December and cost thousands of Lps. are destroyed during the procession. They reenact the procession of Christ to be crucified. It should be very interesting to watch. My training group is leaving tomorrow morning at 6:15 to go to Comayagua to see the rugs before they are destroyed and to enjoy the festivities in the city. Then Saturday I am going to a CD burning/haircut party with the other people in my group. That night I am going to stay in a hotel and hang out with people in Siguat. Sunday I am hoping to go to Easter services with my host family. In Honduras they don't have one big day for celebration like we normally do in the states, they sort of celebrate all week. So Sunday there is mass to celebrate the resurrection of Christ but no huge Easter dinner that day. But as in the states it is still a time for family to be together. I will be missing you all that day and am so jealous of your big ham with raisin sauce ;)
I got an email from the current volunteer in Dulce Nombre. She said it is fine if I come visit her next weekend, so I am already excited. She also told me the name of the cellular phone company that has great reception in my site so I might buy a cell phone this weekend, or soon. She said I can drop off a good portion of my stuff and she will show me around. She said my counterpart is an awesome lady ("She rocks") who has been her adoptive mother during her time there. She said she loves her town and I will have a great experience there. So it'll be good to go visit and see what all the fuss is about! :)
Well everyone, I am going to go run some errands with my host sister, Lizeth. I wish everyone a very happy Easter!! I miss you all very much and can't wait for the visits you are already planning. Lots of love on this special weekend!