I have no idea how, but I've already been living in Honduras for 6 days. Each one has been full of perfection. For a long time, at least 45 seconds, I tried to think of a different word to use besides perfect...just because I feel like that is a strong word. But after being in deep thought for 45 seconds, which is about all I can handle in this heat, I decided perfect really was the right word. No day goes perfectly, but every day is perfect. (I can hear your confusion, stay with me and keep reading!) My blog has always been my journal....that the whole world has access to.... So sometimes I think, well I know, it's not always interesting. But, I know this is the best way to keep track of everything that has been happening and still keep everyone that's interested informed. So let's just run through my days here thus far...
Day 1: Probably the most exciting day of my life. Although every day that we're about to leave for Honduras feels like the best day of my life. Anyways, Allison and I arrived in Tegucigalpa and everything was perfect. Well, minus that fact that our team leader was stuck in the United States the remainder of the day and we in turn had to lead a group of people we had never met through Honduras and neither of us spoke Spanish fluently. But it's fiiiiiiiiiiiiine. We made due and really, we owned it. Anyone looking to go to Catacamas? Call 1-800-LEADERS and we'll give you a tour on a whim! But seriously, it went fine and we made it to Catacamas thanks to Allison's knowledge of Spanish and our wonderful Honduran papi Jorge and his knowledge of English. Actually, in the process we came up with a phrase we use very often: Here we are, happily. Here we are is kind of like, well we're stuck here and there's nothing we can do about it...but happily changes the whole phrase and reminds us this is exactly where we want to be, despite any challenges that may arise. After a long day of travel, we got to the village and saw our gigantic Honduran family and we were perfectly content. It was an exciting, exhausting, perfect day. (See, not everything went perfectly but it was still a perfect day.)
Day 2: First and foremost, timezones are really a tricky situation...and Allison and I had not yet mastered the Honduran time zone. Long story short: we were an hour early for everything...waking up, waking the group up (sorry again about that), arriving for breakfast.. It was a rough start to our day but in the end we just laughed it off (even the rest of the group who so graciously forgave us for arriving on their doorstep an hour early). We attended church and that was hot & sweaty & love-filled. But the very best part of our day was when Jorge told us we were moving into the bodega (warehouse type building with a place for us to live)!!!! It was the news we had been waiting for :) We very happily moved into our one bed (that's been an experience..good of course) apartment and off we went. Our group left that night and we were on our own. (Each week we will eat with a different house and this week, our first week, we have been eating with Jorge and Olga. Basically our Honduran mami and papi.) We ate at Jorge's and then played Sorry with their son Isai, who we especially love! All around, Sunday was a truly perfect first day
Day 3: The sun does not play games here. It plays to win, and win it did on our third morning. We woke up at 5:30 when the sun decided to say hello. Luckily we were able to doze off again until 8 when we got up for our adventure of a day. One thing Allison and I agreed on before even arriving in Honduras is that we did not just want to be "those Americans". Our goal has been to be as helpful as possible with whatever was needed. On this particular morning, the need was making tortillas....which we quickly discovered is not nearly as easy as portrayed. We were working in a small cement block building type area with a hot, hot fire burning. It was hot. Now, the idea of making tortillas seemed easy. Take a small ball of dough, press it out into a circle, throw it on the fire and flip. Easy enough, right? Wrong. The only thing I mastered, and even it took a while to master the correct size, was rolling out the small ball of dough. Allison was bold and decided to flip the tortillas, which is even harder because you have to time it just right. It was 15 minutes of a lot of laughing and even more apologizing. It was a great experience for us both. We spent the rest of the day helping in any way we could and playing with the babes. It was our first real day of play and take a gander as to how it went....yep, perfectly.
Day 4: I ate & sweat more in this single day than I have in my entire life. We started that day in Olga's and for meals we never know what we're going to get. Thus far we have really enjoyed everything, but it is usually very rich and a doozy to finish. (we try our best to finish everything that's on our plate because it's disrespectful to waste...and it doesn't make sense to waste!) So this morning started with toast & jam and warm milk with a little sugar. It was light, yet filling and so tasty. But this light breakfast was trying to prepare us for what was coming for lunch. Because there is a work team here this week, including the director of the village, the houses have been preparing delicious meals to feed all of the Americans. On the menu today was tamales. Delicious, warm, huge tamales...which we were each served two of... On top of that we were each served a cup of fruit, which if this were any other meal would be so perfect! But remember, we had already been served two tamales...two huge tamales...and it's rude not to eat everything. You get where I'm going with that. Needless to say, we were in no rush to eat again. But make no mistake, it was truly delicious! The rest of the day we played (once we digested a little bit) and then the work team left before it got dark. Now, this day was so, so hot. Even sitting still we were sweating buckets. And then we played and played for hours. Sweat & play = nasty, nasty, nasty Allison & Tracy. We were so looking forward to showering after dinner....except right before dinner, the power went out. Just so we're all on the same page; no power, no shower. We knew from past trips the power is fairly unreliable and could go out at anytime for any period of time. So we did our best not to seem in a panic and ate dinner by candlelight, all the while hoping silently the power would come back on. About an hour later the power came back on and we rejoiced aloud. We squeezed in a quick game of Sorry and then headed to the bodega to wash off the day. We were disgusting, but we were perfectly content.
Day 5: Fiesta. Yesterday was the work teams last day at the village, so it was spent entirely with the kids. In the morning when the team arrived we immediately left for Carlos'. Carlos' is an orphanage like Por Los Ninos except it is entirely made up of children with severe disabilities. It is a heartbreaking experience but at the same time a joy to know that people like Carlos are around to care for these children that would otherwise be abandoned. After Carlos' we played and then the party began. We had a pizza party for the entire village which was so great. It was a little stressful for the sole reason that by the time you finished serving 75+ people, the people you served first were ready for seconds. The stress was wiped away by the fantastic fellowship. After lunch we played for the rest of the afternoon. At 4 o'clock we had a devotional with the entire village. Nothing compares to singing and worshiping with these people. It's an incredible experience. During the "celebration/devotional" there were a few children that sang solos for us (SO CUTE) and the older kids in house 2 prepared a song & dance type routine. We capped it all off with a piece of dulce de leche cake from Maria's (a local restaurant we love). It was just a perfect time to enjoy each others culture and company. After the work team left for the last time, Allison & I officially began our adventure as a duo. We did so by playing an intense game of volleyball (we play it almost daily) and then enjoying dinner in house 2. After an hour or two of that we ran back to the bodega, because it was pouring, and we settled in for the night. Perfection.
So here I sit, mid-afternoon of day 6. Which is different. Usually I don't touch my laptop until the nighttime when we are back in the bodega, but it's different now with no work team. There is a lot less structure. But, Allison & I did just have lunch with the family in house 3 which was fantastic. We helped prepare the meal earlier this morning, so they invited us to stay for lunch. We had what I would call mini meatloaves in the shape of a hamburger...but it wasn't a hamburger. It was so delicious. The house mom in house 3 is very, very shy and doesn't talk much, which is fine! But Allison & I can talk for days so she intimidated us a little bit. But having broken that barrier, we are both very excited to try and form a relationship with her. I have been writing too long and if you made it all the way through, I'm proud of you! I'll attempt to update more often so the posts aren't so long...but really we all know my track record. Until then...here we are, happily.