17 July 2017

Turistas en Copan

Day 8 was the beginning of our touristy part of the trip. We went back into Tegucigalpa to the airport. We were on a chartered flight, so we could get right into Copan quicker. Our group of 18 were on a plane for 18 people. It was tiny! Our group got special permission to land in a closed airport that had an "airport" that was one room. Our airport security was armed military. Always an adventure.

I'm sitting in the front row!

My view was this little cardboard door to the pilot.


We drove to our hotel, which felt like a resort, called Hacienda San Lucas. This place is beautiful and overlooks Copan from on top a hill. My family was exhausted, so we napped and relaxed in the hammocks and drank DELICIOUS lemonade.
Each night, including this night, the Hacienda made us AMAZING four course meals every night. While we were killing time until dinner, it started to pour. Not like a downfall, but like someone turned on the faucet in Copan. We played cards and enjoyed the rain by candlelight.
Fresh tropical flowers everywhere

We stayed adorable cabins in the middle of a tropical rain forest.



...and every morning we would wake up to lots of bugs outside our door. Not my fav.

kitchen at the Hacienda

Cute decor in our rooms.

Cats and dogs

Still pouring

My mouth is watering just looking at this picture.

Saturday night, we called 3 different numbers, looked all over online, and people had asked locals in town, but we could not find where the Mormons meet for church. We finally decided to have a devotional with the people in our group, and we headed to bed.
Sunday morning, my sister and I are getting ready for breakfast and the devotional, Jared Mitton comes and bangs on our door and yells, "Churri found the Mormons!" Churri is our bilingual translator who was a great help to our trip. He spent the whole morning walking the streets of Copan and asking people about the LDS meetinghouse. He finally runs into a member who gives him the address.
So we pile into two trucks, with gringo men and boys in white shirts and ties in the truck beds, and we trek over to the little LDS building. The church's font is outside and the building is small, but the typical LDS meetinghouse plaque is outside and the amazing members are inside. The meeting was inspiring and it was a great opportunity to meet with the members in Copan.
Sneaky picture: Christmas song special musical performance by the primary kids.
That afternoon, my family and I visited the Macaw Mountain bird refuge. There were big macaws and parrots and vultures. We even got to hold birds. However, about half way through our visit, it started to POUR. Again, this isn't just rain, this is rain forest torrents. We ran through the rest of the exhibits, seeking shelter along the way. I was the only one prepared with her poncho, so I was less drenched than everyone else.

Fruit Loops

Aviary for the little guys

AND it meant that I got to be the one who rode in the back of the truck with my poncho flapping in the wind behind me. It was SO fun. And since it was raining, our driver picked up some others along the way to give them a quicker ride home. Imagine a truck bed of Hondurans and one gringa in her poncho, riding around in the rain storm. That is when I got the most looks from anyone as a foreigner haha.

DAY 10
The group packed up and headed down the hill to the Copan Ruinas. The Mayans lived here about 1500 years ago. They found the ruins in the Middle Ages and have progressively built them back up, stone by stone. I'm so glad we had a tour guide because I learned so much and it was so interesting to hear about the Mayans.
model of what the ruins looked like

Altar with all 16 Mayan rulers from this dynasty.

Museo de esculturas (models and actual artifacts found in the sites):

Caesar picked us up from the museo and dropped us off in town, where we had lunch and then explored. My favorite part of visiting new places is just walking around among the people and seeing the town from a walking pace. I can duck into a shop and look around or buy some local food. I can be around the people and see how they interact in their normal lives. Nothing forced or touristy.
Later that night, we enjoyed another delicious 4 course meal, then we had a wrap-up reflection time. It was our last night in Honduras, and we talked about our experiences and how the people of Honduras touched our lives.

I'm grateful for the time I had with the Hondurans and with H4HC and with the Casa Noble boys.

11 July 2017

Mas del viaje de Honduras

While the medical people went over to work in a clinic in town, the rest of us went to help out at the CAIPAC, which translates to a center for the blind. We made bracelets and chatted with the lovely people at the center. It's a great resource that gets people more self-reliant and get the skills necessary to survive.
My group walked around Santa Lucia and had milkshakes at this little place with an amazing view.
In the valley, over that ridge, is Tegucigalpa

That afternoon, we picked up some of the Casa Noble boys and headed to the park for futbol and futbol americano. As my mom says, these boys were born with a soccer ball. 
After they creamed us, we taught them good ole American football. One of the Americans in our group, Ryan, is on the varsity team at Tualatin High School, so we redeemed our sports reputation a bit haha. It was loads of fun. 

dodging cow pies

DAY 5 (Wednesday)
Our group went to a small village in Naguara where there is a one-room school with about 40 kiddos. The teacher walks about 10 miles to and from the school every day, and he has changed these children's lives. Talk about a saint among us.
We did a field day with 4 different stations: parachute, cultural music, face painting, and bubbles. I was in the parachute group and I just about died from the cuteness. One thing that I thought about the whole trip is the fact that kids are the same sweetness and innocence in a remote village in Honduras as the kids in America or England. I have worked with kids around the world and I realized that all children really are born innocent and sweet, and it has testified to me that we really are all God's children. He loves us no matter our circumstances and He will take care of His little ones. He loves His children SO much. That is one of my favorite things about being a teacher; I've been able to feel His love for His little ones, like I did during this trip.
Honduran children don't really smile for pictures, but we promise that they had fun.

We played games in the next door cow and horse patch.

We played lots and lots of Pato, Pato, Ganso.

The kids had to shoo away cows while we played

We did a little touristy shopping in Valle de Angeles, a city near Santa Lucia. Tried some Honduran ice cream (not the best). Brother bought a cool machete. That night, we relaxed and watched some TV in Spanish, including "LOTR." Fun thing about that is that they all dub over the grunts and screams in addition to the Spanish. 

lunch at a Honduran Italian restaurant

central plaza

The group got up early and drove far, again, in order to see two more villages/schools. The first place was El Campo, and on the way we drove through miles of sugar cane fields. The bus driver, Olman, had to shoo some cows and pigs. We did field games, again, and hung out with the kiddos.

When we drove up, some kids were cutting the grass with machetes.

Then we dropped by Flore Azul school to do the same. However, we didn't know it was a day off for them, so it was locked and no one was around. We got off the bus and waited to hear what the plan was. There were some kids who hovered along the fence, and so I went over to talk to them. Instead of us all awkwardly standing around, my mom busted out some bubbles, Sydney (accidentally) picked the lock to the gate, and we played with the kids in the school yard. Soon, lots of kids showed up and we ended up doing different activities with them for a bit.

We ended the day at Casa Noble, interviewing the boys. I had lots of great conversations with the boys, learning about their lives. I had a long conversation with one of them where he was only allowed to talk in English and I was only allowed to talk in Spanish. I liked being able to practicar mi espanol.
Some of the boys also taught me how to do a Honduran dance called Punta. Let's just say, they weren't expecting a gringa to it pick it up. It was one of my FAVORITE parts of the trip! (I'm still searching for video of it :) )

Friday was our second day at San Juan de Rancho. I taught music to a second grade class. We did a Spanish song about a farm and another song about sheep. We made egg shakers with beans and rice. I read to them about animals, and I'm sure their real teacher just cringed at my pronunciation.
The second half of the time at de Rancho was spent de-lousing at the clinic that my parents set up for health check-ups.
A Honduran traffic jam
We joked the whole trip about making sure my mom didn't "adopt" the adorable kids at each school.

That afternoon, some of the boys took us on a hike up in the mountains of Santa Lucia. One of my favorite things to do in a new place is to walk around the town to see the people and places. However, for safety reasons, we weren't allowed to wander without the group. So this hike/walk was the coolest for me.

That night was our last night at Santa Lucia, so we said bye to the Casa Noble boys, danced a little, played a little soccer. 

My family signed the wall at Texas Guest House that night.

One more post to come!