Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Milton turns three

Since Angela’s husband teaches during the week up on the mountain, he wasn’t home last year to celebrate Milton’s second birthday so they didn’t do anything. But since this year Milton’s birthday landed on a Sunday, they decided to go all out with tamales, cake, and a piƱata. I helped Angela make over 100 tamales and popcorn to put in goodie bags for all the kids that were gonna come. Here are some photos of the party!

Anggie stirring the tamale "masa"

Angela making the tamales

Angela and me making TONS OF TAMALES

Sister Keimy with Milton

Milton cutting his birthday cake

Milton with father, Maximo

Healthy Smiles

The Youth Development project has a connection with Colgate to improve dental hygiene education. I have been waiting since last year to get my donation and finally it came! Becky came out to help me with a workshop for the teachers of three different schools and two kindergartens in my community and then I went to the schools to turn in two toothbrushes and one tube of toothpaste to each student. Every week, the teachers are in charge of giving a small lesson dental hygiene or general hygiene. Here is a photo of the kids learning to brush their teeth. I ended up collaborating with my friend, Alan, who is in charge of a healthy schools project and so we went around distributing multivitamins and giving fluoride to all the kids afterwards as well.

Ticks, bricks, and puppies!

My neighbor Angela, me, and the new puppy Randy

A flowering mango tree, mango season is starting! Yesss!!!

The same mango tree after the bloom and full of fruit(May 2009)

It’s the hot, dry season now, from about February to June. So everyone has started to make adobe (mud bricks) to make houses and to start any other outdoor construction projects. The best part about summer is that a cold shower doesn’t seem that bad. (Although I recently installed an “electroducha” which gives me hot showers). Also, there are baby animals all over the place! Baby cows, horses, goats, puppies, and kittens! Even baby opossums that Vanessa found! I was visiting a friend in her home and what I thought was a black dog came inside and as it passed I said, “Wow your dog has long legs like a goat.” Then I did a double-take . . . it was a goat! An adorable baby goat that pranced after me and wanted to follow me home!

Pastor Emilio's new puppy! He even has his paws together like he's greeting "Bendiciones" (Blessings) like the people do here.

Another not-so-exciting thing about summer. A giant spider that came into my house.

Baby horses in Olominas

A newborn calf

Vanessa's cat gave birth to five kittens! It didn't seem like a pleasant experience.
The bad part about summer means that it’s time for ticks, fleas, and invisible grass mites to come out and leave more scars all over my body. So since those furry little creatures are so tempting to cuddle, I’m back to shaking my sheets out and ironing and washing all my clothes. The dry season also means that fires on Celaque are very common. Every year, people sneak into Celaque and purposely light the forest on fire. And every year this will be a problem as very little, if anything, is done to find the perpetrator. At least there are lots of people here willing to go help put the fire out. Many people from various communities went to help fight the fires. This year was definitely worst than last year, with the fires only about an hour walk away from where Vanessa lives.

The view of Celaque from the road to Gracias

The mountain has been so dry the fire took the whole side of the mountain in one day

The smoke was so thick it was blocking out the sun and my view of Celaque

What a Way To Start the Year

January again which means that the first medical brigade that I translated for last year is coming back! I was so excited to see the doctors and nurses again as well as the West volunteers who I don’t get to see that often. From last year, only Becky, Kyler, and I were returning from last year. But two other volunteers from the new group of my project, Protected Areas Management, also came along. So it was a lot of fun to meet them and hear about their work.

PCV Kyler with a cute patient

PCVs Maggie, Kyler, Kate, nurse Aaryn, Becky, and me after a long day of work

One of the days of the brigade was also the Inauguration Day of President Barack Obama. The guy who helps organize this brigade every year went out of his way to find us a t.v. that got CNN in Spanish so that we could watch the Inauguration. When it was about to come on, we all gathered in the main room, gave all the kids coloring books and crayons, and watched the inauguration with all the other patients waiting to be seen. It was definitely a momentous occasion that we will look back on and say, “When this happened, we were united, doctors from various parts, Peace Corps volunteers, and local Hondurans, working to improve the quality of lives of some individuals.” The moment more than the speech, which was hard to follow as it was dubbed over in Spanish, brought tears to our eyes. This was one of the rare times that I have actually felt proud to be an American. And I am excited to finally be able to say with honor that I am a North American where our new president is Barack Obama. The feeling of hope was already evident before Obama’s inauguration; but I think that it’s even more so now because the whole world stopped to listen on this day.

This year we had dentists come down to pull lots and lots of teeth.

Maggie translating in triage

Me helping Aaryn clean wax out of an old ladys' ears. When she arrived she was so scared because she couldn't hear what we wanted her to do and she kepy getting dizzy with the water in her ears. When a marble-sized piece of wax came out of her ear though, she started shouting that we were a blessing from God giving her the miracle of sound again!