Monday, March 31, 2008

la escuela

Today began the mark of helping with the difficult, and at times seemingly impossbile, task of home schooling two of the boys, Kerri and Nolan. Mondays and Wednesdays Sarah is home as well and with much resistance is now being schooled at home on those days. Evenutally we made it to lunch time, which meant the end of school and Alison and I were given a much needed break to regroup before free time at 2 pm. Let me just say on a side note that Alison and I love meal time..we kinda look forward to it like someone looks forward to getting a new car or an's that exciting for us!

Tody all the kids were forced to go down for beach time, usually only 3-4 kids tag along for the time and the rest stay behind..I'm not sure how the beach gets old to someone..that will remain a mystery. The kids all played together seemingly well and they caught a crab..I don't know how one does that, but it caused much excitement and so I deemed the group outting a success despite the fact Alison almost became Nolan's catch while he was swinging around his fish hook at the beach...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

dia a la playa

Let me begin by saying that I'm constantly sweating, my feet are swollen, I'm developing wicked weird tanlines, and I'm pretty sure that I will have no hair left by the end of my two months here because one of the little girls here "plays" with it and yanks large handfuls out daily.

And things, my friends, are beautiful.

Today Naseem and I attended iglesia with the rest of the orphanage. We all piled in to our decrepit van, with kids everywhere, in our laps, at our feet, sitting very, very closely next to us, and then all piled out, clown car style, in front of the small, brightly colored church. The church is actually a converted motel and is run by an American family; basically the service is a little like an episode of "The Partridge Family," you know, with the whole fam starring in the show. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. The sermon was delivered by a mustachioed man in a Hawaiian shirt, a la Project Runway's Chris March, and I can sum up his discussion of Luke 2 with three points: 1.Mary was special. 2. Do not envy other people. 3. All things are possible with God. Sure, I'll affirm each of those, but I mean, come on. I was a little more focused on the giant, cheesy Christian mural painted on the wall. I won't go into specific details but I'll leave you with the best part of the picture: an open Bible with a waterfall flowing out of it into the jars of three muscular Hondurans waiting eagerly to have their thirst quenched. Also it was a jungle scene...and there was a deer. Ten points to anyone who can attest to seeing a deer in any jungle ever. Ok, the most redemptive thing about this church is the free lunch for the community after the service. It's located near one of the poorest communities on the island, and so although barely any of them actually attend the service, they all show up for food when it's over. I love that and I am very thankful the church and the family shares Jesus Christ in this manner.

After church Naseem, Scottie and I took Shenice, Gabriel, and Nolan out to the beach for a little snorkeling and swimming. We got to spend beautiful time with the kids, playing and enjoying (and marveling at) creation. I finally figured out how to upload pictures (take that, APN, you smart-ass...I hope you're reading this) and so I've posted a few from the afternoon. I promise Shenice was happy in that one picture. Really.

One quick story and then I'll sign off: I've mentioned there are three older girls here and that they are really scary. Well, they're still scary and trying to interact with them brings up painful memories of doing Young Life at Robinson High School in Waco and getting shafted by just about every single girl in the whole school. Buuuut Naseem and I both have made progress with the next oldest girl, Sarah, who is 11 and just about as angst ridden as any moody teenage girl I've ever seen. Our few brief encounters with her have been rather intimidating. For example, this afternoon at our little tiny worship service, all the kids were out of control and so the guy leading it issued a fairly stern ultimatum demanding that everyone settle down. Then after a few seconds of silence, Sarah stands up, rolls her eyes, and announces, "All I want to do is finish this and get out of here. I'm busy so hurry it up." Luckily, we did. Anyway, Naseem and I muster up the courage to strike up a conversation with Sarah after worship; Naseem mentions she is going to help with art, and all of a sudden, it was like the heavens opened up and shone down Sarah's approval. As it so happens, Sarah wants to be an artist and can draw pretty killer horses (shout-out to Larkin Patricia Branstetter). Then Sarah brough over a copy of High School Musical. For those of you who are a little too hip for High School Musical, this was a teeny-bopper sensation that swept the nation, including, for whatever reason, Baylor Univesity, so not only have I seen it, but I know the songs as well. I always thought this was embarrassing (wait, I still do), but at least it provided me with some common ground with Sarah, which is great because I start home-schooling her in English starting tomorrow. I told her that, expecting her to be a little resistant or at least fairly unenthusiastic, but she said it sounded really cool. Hallelujah.

That's it for now. We love to get your comments and emails (hint, hint for those who haven't emailed it!). Hope all is well stateside. Peace.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nuevo Apartmento

So clearly Alison and I can't speak Spanish due to my butchered Spanish even in the title of today's blog, but we're trying! Most people here, including the kids are fluent in English and sadly, due to prejudices between the island and the mainland, the chilren are resistant to learning Spanish and practicing Honduran culture.

Today has been busy. We moved into the volunteer apartment this morning, fully furnished along with mice, which we're thrilled about! Then we attended what we thought was a hot dog/pool party with the children, which we were dissapointed to learn was really just a hot dog party. Which, actually turned out to be just hanging out in the park because they ran out of hot dogs right after we got there..major let down! But, it was fun and the park was ridiculously beautiful. Alison and I had a first with a game of duck-duck-goose not in a circle, but on a bench in a straight line after Shenice, one of the younger girls, convinced us it was was interesting and ridiculous and we loved it!

Tonight the children's home was given two more volunteers from Wisconsin, here till May. Any extra help the home can get is greatly welcomed as the task of caring for these kids and running the place can be overwhelming for the few couples who are now staffed here permanetley. The new directors have only been here a month themselves and due to the instability from the former house parents their is endless work to do here. Most of the kids are grades behind in learning, for example one of the older girls is 17 and is only in grade seven.

That's it for today..moving, the park, and doesn't sound like a lot, but on top of the day to day that happens here we're exhausted!

Peace & Love,
Naseem :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

uno dia

Naseem and I have arrived safely in Roatan, Honduras. The island is beautiful, both exotic and familiar in its Westernization, spoiled with wealth and still riddled with poverty. When our plane flew in over the Carribbean, the first thing we noticed (aside from how different this beach looked than Galveston) was a giant cruise ship docked in front of a resort beach...just right down the beach were run-down homes with tin roofs and peeling paint. We hadn't even actually arrived in Roatan and already we were presented with a paradox that would manifest itself in various forms throughout the rest of the day. Honduras knows that Roatan is its money-maker, so the roads are smooth and well-paved, the beaches are clean, and there are a ton of tourist hot-spots lined up and down the coast and winding all the way into the dense green of the jungle. However, all it takes is a closer look, and the poverty and desparation of the island make themselves known.

The state of the island accurately reflects the condition of the kids at the orhpanage. At first glance, the kids seem to have everything they need accessible, and for the most part, at least materially speaking, they do. They all have ipods, the living room houses a flat-screen tv as well as two computers complete with video games, and a plethora of plastic toys inundate the house. Everything about the facility is high quality and it seems that the kids could not possibly want for anything. But you scratch beneath the surface, just barely, and you can see the kids are hurting immensely. While the place is nice, the orphanage has procured a lot of debt from most of the extravagant expenses of the previous director. Now there is barely enough money to feed the children here.

The kids have severe issues with abandonment and attachment, not just because they are orphans, but because every adult figure in their lives has eventually left. They have had little of stability for at least the last 7 years, and for some of them, their whole lives have been subject to tumultuous change. The last director was, to say the least, corrupt, abusing not only the finances but the children as well. It remains to be seen exactly what kind of physical abuse went on at the orphanage, but it is pretty evident that this abuse is manifesting itself in the kids through mistrust, sporadic outbursts, hurt, and anger.

But on a lighter note, so far the kids have been a joy to be around. Because Naseem and I are only staying for 2 months-ish, they want to be really careful about introducing us into the kids' lives. We didn't meet any kids yesterday, and today we've met --and played with--most of the younger boys. They're really sweet so far and full of energy. There are three older girls here, ages 18, 17, and 15, and so far Naseem and I are both a little intimidated by them. We haven't even officially met them yet but we've seen them around and I think it might take a little time for them to warm up to us. Apparently they've been some trouble lately, so we are hoping that maybe we can bond with them at least a little bit since they are pretty close to us in age.

I guess that's about it for now. Naseem and I are going to take turns with this...neither one of us has ever had a blog before, so we're pretty new to all these shenanigans, but hopefully y'all enjoy this. I'm going to try to post pictures later, but let's be honest, I'm not exactly computer saavy, so maybe I won't post pictures after all. Haha. Seriously, I should be able to do this. I have a college degree. Adios!

Peace, Alison