Thursday, September 6, 2007

On To Field-Based Training

After living and going to training for a month in Santa Lucia, we have all graduated from Center-based training and now will begin Field-based training. FBT is basically when PAM, Municipal Development, and Youth Development go to different parts of Honduras for more in-depth technical training. There, we will all live with new homestay families, including the Spanish facilitators as we will still be receiving 4 hours of Spanish class everyday. So, the morning of August 8, we all got up early and said our goodbyes to our friends in different programs. It was especially sad to see that some of the married couples that were in different projects had to split up. However, Peace Corps pays for the travel expenses for them to go visit each other, which is nice. The PAM Field-based training site is Morocelí, a small town of about 6,000 people. However, only half of us live in Morocelí and the other half of us live in a small community just outside of Morocelí called El Suyate. Tristan, Mary, Alice, Bryce, Liz, and I live in El Suyate.

The population of El Suyate is around 600 people and most of the people that live here are farmers of beans and corn. However, there are all kinds of other great crops here. For example, my family on their own grows lemons, oranges, papaya, guayava (a Honduran fruit), bananas (there’s like more than 6 types of bananas here), ayote (like squash), and coconut. I definitely have been eating well since I have arrived and have not had any health-related problems either (most health-related problems I had in Santa Lucia were bathroom-related, if you know what I mean).

I definitely feel that I am becoming more accustomed and familiar with the Honduran lifestyle. I eat corn tortillas (that my mom makes every day from scratch) with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes I will help my mom make tortillas on the weekends but mine don´t look anything like hers which come our perfectly round. She could seriously wrap them in plastic and you wouldn´t be able to distinguish them from the factory-made ones on a grocery shelf.

My new home

My room

Our pila and shower

Like my family in Santa Lucia, my host-family in El Suyate is very kind. I live with my mother, Jesika, her niece, Nancy, my grandpa, Sebastian, and Jesika’s two year old daughter, Lourdes.

Lourdes during her 2nd birthday party

Nazareth (my nephew) and my mom Jesika shelling beans for dinner

However, because Jesika is very good at cooking, there are about double the amount of people at dinner time. I asked Jesika how she knows how many people to cook for since it appears that people just show up randomly and uninvited and expect dinner. She told me that most of the time people come early enough so she knows to make extra or that it just ends up working out in the end. There have been nights where it has just been us at the dinner table and then there have been nights where there are ten other people there waiting to be fed.

A fogon, or a stove made of mud that is used for the cooking.

Besides the paved main road that passes through El Suyate on the way to Morocelí, there are only dirt roads here, although even these roads are more like rough hiking trails. When the heavy rains come, these dirt roads turn into rivers. There are no restaurants here or any place to hang out in public. There is a pulperia (small shopping mart) that doubles as a billiards hall that Bryce and Tristan go to all the time, but girls are not allowed to go there. So, on the weekends, us “Suyate” crew have chosen a bench in the shade near the soccer field as our cool “hang out spot”. It’s nice there cause we can watch people playing in the field and its close to a pulperia where we can buy water. The highlight of El Suyate is the soccer field (of dirt and with holes in the middle of the field that are big enough to hide a small child). Some of the kids sit in the holes and pretend they`re in a spaceship or driving a car.

Our oxen

El Centro in Moroceli where we have training

Although Morocelí is the “town” that all the small communities, like El Suyate, surround, there is also only one paved road there. The rest of the roads are dirt roads but are slightly more developed than those in El Suyate in that they are wider and only turn into mud, not rivers, when it rains. Moro also has an internet café and a couple of restaurants. When the internet is working, we usually head there for a little bit and then off to our favorite restaurant called “Comedor Bella Vista” because it has a beautiful view of the mountains and the owner, Paula, makes the best baleadas I have tasted in my time here. A baleada is a flour tortilla with beans, egg, and butter inside. The butter here is more liquidy and lighter in color here, and it makes the baleada to die for. I don’t know if this is true for the other projects but for PAM, we were split up in two communities and a smaller community was chosen as our FBT site so that we would integrate more with our families and our communities. I really enjoy living in a small community because it has allowed us to get to know practically everyone in about a week. Also, because there isn`t much to do in El Suyate, we spend a lot more time with our families which means we are speaking Spanish more often. During our second language interview, every single one of us improved at least a level or two and I think this has a lot to do with the fact that we spend so much time with our families.


(For Cultural Day, a big party where we exchanged cultures with our host families, my mom and I made arroz de maiz (rice of corn) which is a chicken dish. No joke this was the chicken we ate


Shade said...

this sounds amazing. Im glade everything is going well

Mom said...

Congratulations on being sworn in this week! You did it and Dad and I are very proud of you. What hard work you have ahead of you and I have every faith that you will accomplish all you set out to do.

Thank you for all the details in your blog; it helps me know what you are doing day to day and the photos are awesome. Sending oodles of love, Mom

aimee said...


my name is aimee and i think im going to be doing exactly what you did, according to your blog. it sounds amazing!
why i was googling around was to get to know other volunteers experience and also, i am scared out of my mind that i am not prepared... language and skills. how were you when you were just beginning? were you already fluent? the exam part is making me really nervous!