Ups and Downs in Dulce Nombre
The last week or so has been busy and eventful. The "down" mentioned is that there was a murder in the area. The son of the mayor in the next-door town of Concepción was killed by some "bad men" last Thursday, who apparently wanted his pistol. The weird thing was that I was with the mayor in Santa Rosa when it happened, because I am working in Concepcion and San Juan in the upcoming months with the latrine project. I was with the mayor to buy cement, and he had promised me to do a couple of other important things in the next few days. Well I had no idea that his son, younger than me, would be killed that afternoon in San Juan. He was supposedly a very nice kid, with young children already, who loved to joke around. Most people around here were shocked and sad. Many think it was an act of revenge toward the mayor, who is rumored to have done some shady activities during his office. It's a roadblock for me not only because the mayor will be grieving and doing other traditional activities after a death here and thus won't be thinking much about his responsibilities with my latrine project, but also because I was used to walking to Concepción and San Juan to do my work. Now it is not safe to walk there, so I have to find a ride or find someone to walk with me. I was in San Juan the morning they were looking for the son (they still weren't sure if he had been killed), and saw his abandoned motorcycle still here. So don't worry mom, I will be safe. I don't think someone like me would be targeted in political revenge or people looking for a gun, but I will still not walk alone out there. It's otherwise a pretty safe area, and this is not the norm.
Otherwise I have been up to my normal activities. This Saturday I am hosting my friend Danyel who lives near the Copan Ruins, who will come to Dulce Nombre to give a workshop on how to make the wallets and purses made out of chip bags, called "churros" here. It's hard to explain to you at home, but the staple of the Honduran kid's diet is chips and sugar, sadly enough, and these chip bags get thrown out on the street everywhere. Well it turns out you can make this cute little bags and purses, as well as picture frames, hotplates, and other items out of the colorful little aluminum bags. I have been using a wallet made out of churro bags since I was in Siguatepeque and it is still holding up well. Some volunteers have started women's groups making these items to sell in the states and in tourist destinations, as they are pretty cool actually. So Danyel is coming and giving a workshop on Saturday to several people in my community as well as me, teachers, my counterpart, and possibly some other volunteers will come to Dulce Nombre to learn.
I am also giving a leadership talk to the church youth group here on Sunday. I had gone before, but as it is a Catholic church, I wasn't too interested in attending again. But I was invited to come talk to them, and I am looking forward to it as they are a great group of kids.
I made a stove yesterday and am making another one on Thursday. The one yesterday was really rewarding because the woman had helped me a ton during the latrine project implementation in Dulce Nombre the past couple months. Her house had been full of smoke everytime I went, and she managed to obtain the stove top, bricks, and some other materials, and I gave her an extra chimney I had and a piece of metal for the oven. She was really excited.
Another mini-mini-project I am taking on is giving piano lessons. My counterpart has gotten hold of a keyboard on loan from the church, and I started by giving her lessons, then her son, then two high school girls who work in the house, and now two high school boys will start learning tomorrow so that they can help play at religious activities. My mom sent me some piano books, which I am loving playing again, but they are a little advanced (Les Mis, the Phantom of the Opera, some classical, and popular music)...so if anyone has beginner music that would be appreciated. But on the whole my students are learning fast, although they are accustomed to using "Do-re-mi" instead of letters for the notes, like c-d-e. Another difficulty is that I don't know terms like "measure", "time-signature", "flat", "sharp", "piano key", and other basic piano words in Spanish. So I am kinda making them up :)
The library project is still going, and we are still raising money around town, slowly but surely, and the committee is planning something to thank all of you awesome people who donated money. So keep your eyes open in the future!
Well I hope all is well. I miss you all tons and hope to hear from you soon! Take good care of yourself.