Monday, March 22, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter....

We haven't seen a squirrel in Honduras yet, so this one got our attention this morning. You can imagine our surprise when it started running up PK's pant leg crawling all over us like we were his own personal pine trees! He even gave us little kisses!

It turns out a little girl from the village brought her pet squirrel with her when she came to get water. He got scared by a dog and raced up into a tree. Luckily, the little girl's uncle works here at the school and recognized the little guy. He was returned to his owner....after we all took a turn cuddling him!

OK, I guess this is where I offer my sincere apologies for the merciless teasing I hurled at Mom (a.k.a. Crazy Squirrel Lady). You were right...he's not just a little rat with a fluffy tail...and I promise to stop trying to target the squirrels as roadkill. Happy? I'm now as nuts as you are!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The First Honduras All-U-Can-Eat Buffet

Friday night, we had a midnight pancake breakfast for the boys. We decorated the conference center with white table cloths and centerpieces. The boys all stayed up late until they were finally invited to join us in the conference center. Usually, they eat and run out as quick as they can. But this night they were instucted to stay, chat and enjoy themselves. We even had a couple of skits to keep them entertained. One of the skits included the anthem of the Honduras national soccer team and the cheering was deafening. I can't imagine what an actual game would be like!

We decided to make this meal and all-u-can-eat affair. For kids that aren't always used to getting enough to eat, this was a foreign concept for them. We thought we were prepared. We made almost 700 pancakes. We also had fresh fruit, ham and cheese sandwiches (traditional breakfast in Honduras), eggs and sausages. The school can't afford this kind of splurge, so we all chipped in to buy the food. The boys were told they could eat as much as they wanted, but that they shouldn't heap their plates on the first trip through the line. There should have been plenty of food for everyone to have multiple trips. Needless to say, this advice did not go heeded and every single boy had enough food on his plate to feed four of five people and we barely made it through the line once! Granted, they are teenage boys, but it was amazing how much food they took. I saw some squirreling it away in their pockets and napkins to take with them....even after we assured them that they would still get their normal breakfast in just a few hours! I was most surprised by the little guys...those little guys can eat!

We managed through the chaos and I think the boys really felt special. They had a great time and we all went to bed completely exhausted. I'm still not sure they understand the all-u-can-eat buffet, but it sure was fun to watch them try!

Francisco and Jose Daniel

Gerardo, Jose Antonio and Denis Yoel

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meaningful Conversations in Caveman

Last night we sat down with one of the boys at the snack bar. He was sitting alone working on his homework. He's one of the quiet ones so we really haven't gotten to know him very well. He is 20 years old and will graduate high school this year.

The conversation started by him trying to convice us that there are only five countries in Central America. He didn't count Belize or Guatamala for some reason. After that, the conversation turned to girlfriends. I told him he didn't have time for girlfriends with all the studying and working. He told us he wanted to go to the university one day. I told him he surely wouldn't have time for a girlfriend at the university! Then we told him that we got married and had CT very young and that it was very hard. We explained how we had to work our way up. He asked us questions about our home and jobs in the U.S. He could not believe that we would leave all that behind to come here. He kept asking us "Why?". Finally, I just told him we came here for him and the other boys and that now we had a big family and we loved them very much. We told him that he could go to the university one day, but that he would have to work very hard and pray about it. I promised to pray for him too.

As parents, we are constantly hoping and praying for success for CT. As much as I want that for CT, I want it for Edwin Alberto...and all the other boys here. It's little moments...little conversations like this that remind us what it means to be here. And we did it all in Caveman Spanish!

Edwin Alberto

KellyFaith and Denis Yoel

PK, Omar, Dayer, Jorge, David

CT and Reyes

CT, Jose Danilo, Denis, Kevin

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Field Trip!

On Monday this week, CT's teacher decided to take the kids on a field trip and I went along. The younger kids are learning about plants so she took us to nursery in Catacamas. We wandered through the garden looking at the exotic flowers. Of course, none of us knew what kin they were, but they certainly interesting. There were several different kind of roses and lillies. But my favorite was a tree that looked like it had huge, furry, red spiders growing in it.

After the nursery, we took a short drive and stopped for a soda at a little pulperia. Finally, we headed down a little dirt road with more potholes than dirt. We ended up at a small Honduran resort beside a tilapia farm. They had beautiful garden walks and fountains complete with a cage of monkeys, a pond of turtles and a cage of parakeets. It was a very shady and peaceful area with hammocks slung between trees and small dining areas surrounding a beautiful blue pool.

For lunch, I had the fried fresh fish, which was fantastic and CT had the juiciest fried chicken he's ever eaten. We also shared an order of anafres, which is a mixture of beans and cheese that is served over a dish of hot coals with tortilla chips.

We spent the rest of the day at the pool, which also had a large waterslide. It was such relaxing and fun day. I felt a little guilty for taking a "day off", especially when I called home to find out that PK was shoveling rocks and pouring concrete in the hot sun. But we have been working so hard this past week and it really was nice to get away for a little while. Besides, I got a nasty sunburn, so I figure I've paid for it already.

I was sitting beside the pool and looked over the fence to see the sprawling mountain vista framed by two large palm trees and that's when it hit me. Wow, I live in Honduras.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Solheims Get a Day Out

Today we were invited for a day out with the campus missionaries, who took us into Catacamas to wander around, shop and get to know the city. We spent the morning walking the crowded streets and browsing the shops. Around this time of year street vendors start selling dried fish that smell awful...something to do with Easter and Lent. Combine this with the meat hanging out in the butcher's windows on this hot day and it was not a pleasant scent. But we loved getting to know the city a little and watching all the people. The outdoor produce market was interesting. We're surprised to find several fruits and vegetables that we don't have at home. There was also a man selling lemons and limes from a little cart. He peeled them with a mechanical peeler attached to his cart and people (especially kids) bought them and ate them as a snack.

Then we were treated to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Yes, Mexican, not Honduran. At the restaurant a lady came in selling tortillas she had made and I bought a bag of them from her. I hope to make tacos this week and try them out. The best part of the meal were the frozen fruit drinks that were served. I could definitely get addicted to those on a hot day! After lunch, we made a run to the frocery store for the coming week's groceries before coming back to the school.

And, thanks to today's purchases, we spent the afternoon like this:

CT loves our new hammock. Now, if I can just him out of it...and maybe teach him to make those frozen fruit drinks....