Monday, May 31, 2010

A Girls' Adventure in Catacamas

Last week, AT (Artistic Teacher) and I caught a ride into town and spent the afternoon exploring Catacamas on our own.

A man fixing the tiles on his roof

The Mujeres store has some cute American clothes, but they're very expensive. They do have good prices on shoes though.

Christy's is one of our favorite stops in town, even though it's too expensive to buy anything. It's an American shopping experience. Christy was the first Honduran to graduate from the MK school at El Sembrador and she speaks flawless English. She lived for years in the Unites States. We love to stop and chat with her. Her store a little piece of Americana in a foreign land.

This is our favorite coffee shop in town. We like the frappacinos. Yes, they are even better than Starbucks...and they only cost about a dollar.

On this day we found a little bakery where we tried a cake that tasted more like cornbread and a divinity-type cookie.

Julio Verne is our absolute favorite store in town. It's a liberia. In other words, it sells paper goods, school supplies, wrapping paper and other odds and ends. We can find almost anything we really need here. It's especially good for affordable birthday gifts and books.

We found a nice pair of pants for CT in this little hole in the wall shops. The streets are littlered with these little stalls. It's kind of like shopping at a flea market.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pure Joy

Today I looked across the campus and I saw CT skipping in the rain along the path to our house. He is so happy here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A New Game

I walked out onto the porch of the conference center a few nights ago to find a group of boys sitting in a circle with some girls form the nearby village. It's pretty odd to find a gaggle of girls on campus in the evenings, so I took notice. I wasn't really all that surprised to find a Pepsi bottle spinning in the center of the ring of hormone-crazed teenagers...but it was a little bit of a shock that they would choose to play this game on the steps of the building where all the missionaries were gathered for a meeting!

Among the group was my old friend, Reyes. He just grinned at me when I asked "¿Que pasa?" (What's up?). "It's a game," he explained with his best innocent expression (which isn't all that convincing, I might add). "Yes, I know this game," I responded. I caught a fleeting glimpse of panic before the smirk widened. "You have this game in the States!?!" he exclaimed.

"Well," he said "in this game we shake hands." Then he demonstrated by spinning the bottle and reaching across to shake the hand of one of the girls. This gesture made the girl blush and the entire group broke into uncontrollable giggles. Reyes remained as straight-faced as possible in the hopes of keeping the charade more realistic. Shortly after the gourp disbursed leaving me on the porch with just Reyes and a couple of onlookers. After a while, he gave up trying to convince me that his intentions had been to merely "shake hands with the chicas." I began a long speech in which I chastised him for his behavior and warned him against spending too much time chasing girls. He stopped my motherly oration just as I was gaining righteous steam when he asked "Did you ever play before Steve?"

Nothing more was said on the subject.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Escuela El Sembrador Academy

Escuela El Sembrador Academy is the school on campus for missionary kids. Since we arrived it has consisted of 3 students...strangely all of them have red hair and adorable freckles. RH (Redhead) is in first grade, LR (Little Red) is in kindergarten and, of course, CT is in 7th grade.

We've been blessed with a wonderful teacher who has managed to teach all three at the same about amazing! Last Friday, we had a graduation ceremony/science fair. The kids each got to show off some of the work they've done this year and they were presented with diplomas. CT still officially has a couple more weeks for school, but he also got to particpate in the graduation and took the opportunity to share his science fair project with the missionaries on campus.

Sadly we have to say goodbye to CT's classmates as their time at El Sembrador has come to an end this week. We are so lucky to have these little guys in our missionary family and they are certainly going to be missed. CT is officially the only MK left at El Sembrador. We know that his relationships with the boys will keep him from being lonely, but El Sembrador will definitely be a little more quiet without our class of little readheads.

In a few weeks we'll be saying goodbye to our friend and teacher too. While we are happy for her new position at the bilingual school in Tegucigalpa, she will be sorely missed here. So far, we don't have a teacher for CT when school starts again in August. More than likely I will be sharing this responsibility with another missionary on campus. As you can imagine, teaching your own teenager could be quite a challenge...especially for someone with as little patience as myself. So, I am praying that somehow God will deliver me from this experience and send a volunteer willing to take on 8th grade with CT.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Unique Perspective

We don't usually enjoy our visits to Tegucigalpa much. We just come here and make a mad dash to get all our shopping done before heading back out to El Sembrador. But this weekend, we've decided to come into Teguc to visit with some fellow missionaries and friends who will be heading back to the states soon. They have lived in the city for a couple of years now and we're able to show us around a little today. First we went to the AFE church, where we were blessed to have the sermon translated into English for a change. It was like a drink of cold refreshing water after being in a desert for three months! One of our former El Sembrador students is from AFE and we were hoping to see him this morning, but were disappointed. Hopefully, we'll see him tomorrow when we visit the AFE school.

After church, we went to downtown Teguc into the markets for lunch. We were led down some very narrow a maze of lunch counters and junk shops. We finally stopped at a crowded little counter where we ordered our lunch of baleadas and natural fruit drinks. Baleadas are my new favorite food lately. I could eat them every day. They are large flour tortillas (homemade of course) smeared with refried beans, a little bit of Honduran cheese and crema, which is kind of like sour cream only a hundred times better. The tortilla is folded in half with its contents and briefly fried on a griddle (usually a flat piece of metal over an open flame). One variation includes scrambled eggs, which is also fantastic. I had the mora (blackberry) drink which is like a dessert in a cup. We were able to get 2 baleadas and a drink for under 20 limps (about $1) each. It was the perfect Honduran experience.

After lunch we went up the mountain to a large national park. The park can be seen from all over teguc because of it's large statue of Christ looking down over the city. The views were spectacular and we enjoyed the garden walk.

We ended our day at our friends' home, where we played cards while the kids played in the sudden downpour outside. It is rainy season afterall! The best part of the entire day was dinner where we got to partake in the family tradition of "root, hoard or die Sunday", which basically means everyone roots through the kitchen for their favorite foods and we serve whatever is around even if they don't go together. So, we had sandwiches, popcorn, fruit (including some fresh mangos), leftover cake and a fruit smoothie made with watermelon. It was the best meal and so much fun!

We were blessed with a great day with fantastic adventures and amazing friends. Even in this dirty, chaotic, crazy city we found a little piece of joy and we can now look at Tegucigalpa with fond memories and a little less dread.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Computer is a universal language

Last night we had our first two sessions of the computer class we're starting in our home. PK has been working very hard to find all the necessary computers and miscellaneous parts needed to start a typing class. He even managed to get some Spanish keyboards!

The school doesn't have computers for the "Computacion" class, so it is all based on theory, which we think is very hard to learn. So, we agreed that the first thing the boys need to learn about a computer is basic typing skills and how to use a mouse. You can't learn to use Microsoft Word, if you don't know what the space bar does! The computers we acquired are so old that they're no good for anything other than running this very simple typing tutorial that PK found. It's available in both English and Spanish so it's perfect for our little experiment. We didn't have any space to set up the computers, so we're using one of the empty rooms in our house. It makes it feel less like a real class and more like a fun activity than if we had it at the school. Then, we couldn't find enough tables to set the computers on, so PK asked the shop to make us three long computer tables. They did a great job and the tables even have keyboard trays! Luckily, we have just enough dining room chairs for the class!

We've had lots of boys asking us how we learned to type so fast when they see us working on our computers, so we knew there would be plenty of interest. Now we have waiting list! Each class is only 30 minutes and there is no homework or studying required (they have plenty of academic pressure in their regular classes!). It's meant to be a fun, but useful class. Not all of the boys who signed up for the first two sessions showed up, but the ones who did seemed to enjoy it. We're looking forward to seeing them improve and maybe introducing other skills as time and resources permit.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Morning Walk at El Sembrador

This morning PK and I took a walk around campus and snapped some photos.

We started at the gardens outside our front door.

Then walked across the lawn toward the shop area.

We made a quick stop by the soccer field.

We stopped in the shop to check the progress of the tables for our computer class.

We walked past the school.

And finally peeked into the Bible institute before heading home.

How can you not love these guys!?!