So after a busy week of VBS and a fun weekend of hanging out, Honduras seems a world away. I still think about the kids often, but I feel firmly back on US soil instead of half here and half there. So I'm looking forward to the post this week. It will give me a chance to relive some of the best moments. So this post might seem a little random, but I'm going to try to put down my top 5 memories.
5. Pulperia - Before I tell you what it is, let me tell you what the word means. In Spanish, anything ending with -eria is a store that sells the first part of the word. Zapateria - Shoe Store. Joyeria - Jewelry store. Panaderia - Bread store (Bakery). Pasteleria - Cake store (Cake Bakery). So what is pulpo? Octopus. Personally, I was really confused. I had never heard this word before and had no clue what to expect. It is NOT a store that sells octopus though. It is a little snack shack generally attached to someone's house. There was one every 'block'. I use the term loosely because we were in the country and there weren't really blocks, but you get the idea. Why is it called pulperia then? A woman has to be like an octopus to run the store, her house, and keep her kids in line. Cute huh? We went to the pulperia close to Casa Hogar one day. It only cost 1 or 2 lempira for a little ice pop, called Chavi, or a bag of chips, or a drink. That's like 5 or 10 cents. I couldn't believe it was so cheap! On the suggestion of one of the kids, I had a Chavi. It was awesome! Fruity and icy withougt all the syrupy grossness of American stuff. In typical Latin American fashion, you bite off the corner and suck it out that way. (My students in Mexico would do something similar with their fruit drinks.) I just love the entrepreneurial spirit you find in Latin America that realizes the necessity of family as well.
4. Tortillas Unlike the options here in the US, they are neither flour nor corn. The best explanation I can give is corn flour. A little bit of both and so yummy. The are served with every lunch and dinner. I'm not sure if there is a correct way to use them. So sometimes I would put rice in them and eat it that way. Sometimes I would tear it up and use it to soak up extra broth. They are a little dry to eat just by themselves, so they are in my experience always eaten with the food. You know a bite of food, a bite of tortilla, bite of food, etc. They are made fresh for every meal as well. The masa (dough) is made before hand and kept in a large bowl. When the meal time comes, the last thing they do is get some dough from the masa and make the tortillas. Like the following:
Sorry for the bad videography!
I have seen a tortilla press used and other times when it isn't used. Mostly I think it depends on the crowd you are serving. In this case about 30 or so people, which is a lot, so the press is used. I love eating them because the rest of the food compliments them so well. Yummy!
3. Homework The students in Honduras go to school from February through mid November. So the kids were in school while we were there. Friday was a teacher workday, so they had a long weekend. Even with the long weekend, most of them had homework to work on every afternoon. And since I'm a teacher at heart, I loved helping them with their homework and watching them understand it. I loved watching the other adults helping them with their work. I loved watching them help each other and studying on their own. These kids work so hard on whatever it is in front of them. There was never complaining, well maybe a frustrated sigh, but no verbal complaints about it. They knew when homework time was and got to it. There were several times when we got to help them work and I discovered long division is hard in any language. More than once the other Americans deferred to me because I speak Spanish fluently or Amy, the math teacher. I worked through several problems with them, but I'm not sure if I did it right. I had them work out some of the guess and check on a separate piece of paper. Sounds okay right? That's what we do here in the US, but I'm not sure if they were supposed to or not. I got the impression they were supposed to do the multiplication for the guess and check in their head. Even though it was 56 times 7 and other problems as such. We tried a couple without the paper to work it out and I just couldn't keep up, so we used paper. And the whole time I thought, "I hope I'm not ruining some the methods of some other teacher." Constantly a teacher!
2. Music The kids LOVED music. They loved singing and dancing. They sang Justin Beiber, the songs on the radio, the songs with our lessons, and even the commercial jingles. Sometimes I wonder if they didn't prefer singing to speaking. They also loved dancing as evidenced by our last night there. We had an impromptu dance party. They showed us their dance to Baby by Justin Beiber. We tried to imitate it only to find out that they showed us the boy part and not the girl part. We tried anyway. After Justin, I showed them the merengue, which was also danced to Justin Beiber. They loved learning something new and all jumped in to try it. My students are NEVER that eager to learn it. Then Maya showed us the Scottish Sword Dance. To me it looked like Irish Step Dancing, but around swords instead of a pattern. Of course, we didn't use swords. It was a mop and a broom. Then Keith and Katie, another couple visiting Casa Hogar, showed us their swing moves. The kids REALLY loved this. I think for many of them they enjoyed seeing a loving marriage in action. They don't get to see that often. To make things better, music and dancing were involved!
1. Kids being kids These kids were not worried about how cool they looked or acted. They weren't worried about being dressed right. They weren't worried about having the right music on their ipod or watching the right TV shows. They were just kids that ran and jumped and played in old clothes without thinking twice. They were just kids who were excited by suckers, Jello, and Kool-aid. (Sugar is a rare treat.) They were kids who liked playing with duct tape, paint swatches, and potato chip bags. Or at least they pretended to enjoy our crafts. They loved playing with the bubbles Ashley brought and even created their own bubble wands with grass or their mouths. They took jump ropes and made 3 different games out of them and created tournaments among themselves. This is how I remember the best moments of my childhood. And I wonder do our kids here in the US experience enough of this or do they grow up way too soon?
If you want pictures and details head over to Katie Hawkins' blog. Start with Wednesday and read through until Tuesday. There are lots of videos and photos. It is totally worth the read!
One last thought. Honorable Mention goes to afternoon rain storms and bilingual church services. A little rain to cool things off in the afternoon is never a bad thing. Some of the kids even walked home from tutoring in one of these storms. And unlike storms here in NC, they actually cooled things off instead of making them hotter. We went to church while we were there and it was amazing. The music was nice, but the sermon and the prayer were AMAZING!!! They both spoke directly to me and had me in tears. God works in all languages!
Another few thoughts on Honduras are in this post from Katie Hawkins. Even with all the amazing things, she picked up some bad habits. Can you believe it? Head over there and read all about them.