Well still haven't gotten too good at keeping up with this blog yet, but I am making a feeble effort :) I want to write about two things today...politics and some recent friendly visits. Well pretty much since my group got here in January the politics scene has been active. When we got here they were having the presidential primaries. Then it died down for a while and now it's been up in full swing for a couple months. Honduran has two major parties: the blue party, the Nationalistas, and the red party, or the Liberales. Supposedly the blue aligns with Republicans in some vague way, and the red with American Democrats. The red candidate is Mel and the blue is Pepe Lobo. Cute name huh. Well people are crazy about their politics here, worse than in America. It sometimes translates into certain injustices when a mayor is of a certain party and doesn't respond to the people in the community of the opposing party. There are whole neighborhoods that people say are ignored here because they are not of the mayor's party. Well most of Dulce Nombre is going for Pepe. By the way, Peace Corps volunteers are not allowed in any way to involve themselves in political activities of any kind: parties, rallies, protests, etc. It can get hard sometimes, for example the other day I was in Santa Rosa and it was a Sunday and I was trying to catch a bus for Dulce Nombre. Well I had no idea that because Pepe was in town that Dulce Nombre had chartered every bus to take people to Santa Rosa to see him. So little old me gets near the bus terminal, see the DN buses in the wrong place surrounded by a huge crowd, and was stuck in the middle of hundreds of people wearing blue, or with Pepe on signs. So I had to hang out with them to get back to Dulce Nombre, and that could have looked like I was supporting that particular political party. Now, the presidential race here is not really made up of any kind of intelligent political debate between people. From what I have seen, everyone pretty much considers both parties corrupt, but are still die hards for their particular party and will vote for that candidate no matter who he is, what he's done, and what he stands for. It's kinda depressing. People don't seem to recognize any ability to change the way the goverment is. So meanwhile, small parades of people roam through the streets of my little town, yelling, honking horns, and blasting songs about Mel or Pepe that run through my head 24 hours a day and are driving me crazy. From what I can see, it seems like Pepe will win, but we'll see. The potential future president looks vaguely like a monkey with huge ears on the side of his head. The election falls over Thanksgiving, next week, so Peace Corps is advising us all to be very careful as we travel those days as die hard politics anywhere can get volitile. But at least it'll be over soon!
Otherwise I have been good lately. One of the new volunteers in the training group after mine came to visit me for a couple days last week to learn about the latrine project, as she is planning to do one as well. She is a volunteer in Protected Area Management, and mainly works with the environment. Deforestation and thus mudslides, dirty water, trash, and bad farming practices are big problems here. It was fun having here though. She is quieter than I am, but had fun going around and chatting with all my friends here. My town is much bigger than hers - she lives in a tiny town - and apparently much more modern. All the graduations from the school, kindergarten, and high school happened this week, and I was the Godmother of a 6th grade graduate and of the whole kindergarten where I gave English classes. Every graduate, no matter if from the kinder, the school, or high school, have their Godparents attend and they have to bring a present. As I was the Godmother for the whole kinder, I was supposed to give presents to every kid but as I was not advised ahead of time, I brought nothing, oops! But I sat up front at the "Principal Table" with all the important people, got a really beautiful clay moon and sun to hang on the wall, and sang "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands" with the kids in front of the parents and godparents. So my friend went around with me to all that nonsense, and then during the day we walked around Dulce Nombre, and Concepcion to see how the latrine project was progressing. In the small towns, very very slowly, but oh well. One day it will be over. The mayor still has not bought the toilet bowls, after three months of promises! I also made it out this weekend to visit a volunteer friend from my group, Justin, who lives about an hour and a half from me on the other side of Santa Rosa in another department, Lempira. I really should get out to people's sites more often, I have no excuse. It was an easy trip, and very fun meeting his friends and seeing how he lives. It's interesting how much each volunteer's experience varies according to where they are located. His town only has 2000 people but it is located right on the highway, so doesn't feel as country. Mine is 7 km from the highway, on a usually well-kept dirt road, so the feeling of the town is more small town, even though there are about 6 or 7,000 people. He is a water and sanitation volunteer, so he works in the little towns all around his town to put in water systems so that people can have a faucet at their house (although the water is never drinkable...you still have to boil it and put chlorine in it, or buy purified water like me).
This week I am mainly going to meetings - library meetings, a capicitation for women starting a micro-business of making sweets every afternoon until Thursday, aerobics, meeting with the communities to give out water barrels to store water, and possibly a radio stint with the library committee to solicit money from donors to buy the land for the library (we still only have 30,000 Lps. of the necessary 100,000 Lps; in other words, we lack about $3,000 still!...boo hoo). Other than that, not too busy. The weather hasn't been AS cold, but the nights can still get chilly. The coldest season is coming up in December and January, but right now, there are still nice sunny afternoons in the 60s and 70s, with nights in the 50s. The rain has also slackened off. Life is good here though, and I am still happy, even though the bulk of my time is spent hanging out with people from my town, which is not hard work to say the least. I am getting really excited about the visit from my parents and brother in December, yay!
Well take care all, miss you all lots!