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.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Thoughts from Mom

Hello everyone, this is Lauren´s Mom (sitting in for Lauren while she enjoys a midday nap)
What an experience it has been, being able to actually see and feel her life here. She has acclimated beautifully to the culture and language and it´s amazing to see how easily she interacts with the people here. She speaks perfect Spanish and seems to know how to handle every situation with ease. To a taxi driver that tried to overcharge us (gringos) she said " No hombre! I´´ll give you 120!" (lempiras.....he wanted 150) hehe He relented quickly.
So far we have explored Santa Rosa and the Copan ruins, the coastal cities of Tela and La Ceiba, took a ferry to Roatan where we spent an incredible Christmas, then took the trip back to her village the day after Christmas. That entailed a 2 hour ferry ride back to La Ceiba, then driving 3 hours to San Pedro Sula with all of our luggage, dropping the rental car off at the airport then taking a taxi to the bus terminal. From there we rode the bus 3 hours to Santa Rosa de Copan, where we took the "chicken bus" to Dulce Nombre. It was a real adventure.
The roads here are crazy. Lauren is used to the way they drive here but it´s going to be awhile before I am able to stop covering my eyes when people pass. All the roads are single lane highways, sometimes there is a line in the middle, sometimes not.But apparently there is this invisible third lane somewhere in the middle. It´s common for people to pass each other, and claiming that invisible lane, but it is harrowing to see the car, bus or truck coming at you in your lane and squeezing through.
In San Pedro Sula, we had an accident while going to the airport to get Ian. In the pouring rain, we were rearended by a large truck carrying hundreds of tanks of propane. It smashed into the back of our suv, and pushed us directly into the middle of a tractor trailer that was making an illegal left turn.
The car smashed all around us, the entire front end went under the tracter trailer, but stopped a few inches from my husband´s face. It was as if we were in a protective vortex, the car folded up all around us but we were completely unscathed. Lauren had a sore neck for a few days and Steve had a scratch on his finger. But the car was pretty much totalled. Needless to say we are so grateful to God for keeping us so safe. As it turned out I was able to taxi to the airport to meet Ian while Lauren and her Dad stayed at the accident scene to await the police and car rental folks. Everyone bent over backwards to accomodate us. Lauren and her Dad had to take a few hours out of our vacation time the next day to go to court and give their testimony of the events, but the 2 trucking companies shared the blame and cost of the accident.
Here in Dulce Nombre things move much slower. Lauren has made a comfortable home out of basic simplicity. She has taught us how to wash clothes in a pila, to "shower" using buckets of water, to cook from a portable stove and how to survive without a refrigerator.
People drop by all day long, the kids especially are adorable. But there is an air of friendliness and calm that permeates all of our surroundings here.
Her friends here threw a wonderful party to welcome us, they even shot off fireworks when we arrived.
I can see why Lauren is so content here. I believe she is making a difference in a thousand little ways. She loves the people here and they really seem to love her.
We find so many of her new personality traits so endearing, like the way she twitches her nose then points with her lips...this has replaced "check it out".
Lots more to share, but I will end it here for now. Looking forward to cooking a special birthday dinner this evening for Ian. He heads back to Virginia in the morning.
Tonight several neighbors will be stopping by to share the food and chocolate chip cookies.
Hope all of you enjoyed the holidays. Much love to all of you from me and the kids.

I wrote that blog entry yesterday afternoon, then was unable to log on to Lauren´s site, so saved it.
The party last night was a wonderful success. We were able to make chicken cacciatore, using a wood stove at a neighbor´s since we ran out of propane yesterday. And I did garlic bread using her toaster oven, and cooked spaghetti in an electric kettle....half pound at a time. haha It´s a lot like camping.
The guests all raved over the food, and ate, drank and danced well into the night. I know Ian especially enjoyed hearing the birthday song in Spanish.

This evening Lauren and I will meet with her counterpart to set up twice weekly art lessons which I will be giving to a group of ladies here. I brought a slew of supplies, so will spend tomorrow setting up some kind of "lesson plan". I plan to begin with basic drawing, then advance to shading, light, perspective and then painting techniques. I will actually do a mural for them somewhere and get them to assist in any areas I think they can handle. I know having helped with it will make it a special mural.
Also on the agenda are cake decorating lessons which I will work in sometime in between.
The women are all anxious to reciprocate by teaching me how to make the ever popular corn tortillas, and a few other local dishes.

Ian (Lauren´s brother) left early this morning for Virginia with a stop in Houston. He really enjoyed his adventure here and said he has a whole new appreciation for the simple things we all take for granted there, like running hot water, and drinkable faucet water.
Enjoy the slopes, Ian, before your classes start!

Love and best wishes to all my friends and family, you will love all the photos, and I know you will be so proud of the good work Lauren is doing.

Patty....Lauren loved all the little goodies you sent! It´s all the little things now....and she not only appreciates everything, she shares it all with many. I am so proud of her.

To Chris, Audra, Wendi, Ron and Connor, Madison and Debbi, Mom and Al, Burt, Marcia and Katie, Ted, Delia, Ben and Eliza, Kay and Jeff, Danny and Betty, all my many friends; Marty and Mitch for looking out for Steve with a nice meal while I´m away, Laila, Rab for your wonderful correspondences and so many more too numerous to list, but every bit as special....all my warmest wishes for a geat New Year and beyond. I have a feeling it´s going to be a great year for all of us.


  • At January 5, 2006 at 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Ginger- great blog! Thanks for the shout out (I'm assuming that was me you mentioned=). hope you enjoy your time in honderas with your daughter as much as I did. Take care=)

    - bean_128


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