April 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Water: Statesman Journal: Peace Corps worker Patrick Allen says field-based training in Honduras a blast

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: The Peace Corps in Honduras: April 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Water: Statesman Journal: Peace Corps worker Patrick Allen says field-based training in Honduras a blast

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-242-91.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 6:06 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps worker Patrick Allen says field-based training in Honduras a blast

Peace Corps worker Patrick Allen says field-based training in Honduras a blast

Peace Corps worker Patrick Allen says field-based training in Honduras a blast

Peace Corps worker says field-based training a blast


“Making do” is part of the creed of the Peace Corps. A foreman shows the volunteers-in-training how to bend a section of pipe in Potrerillos, Honduras.


Patrick Allen helped design a water system and build a dam, among other things.

Special to the Statesman Journal
April 19, 2004

The month in Siguatepeque for FBT — field-based training — seemed to absolutely fly by. I could not believe that it was time to come back to Santa Lucia. FBT not only went by very quickly; it was a lot of fun, too.

We went through the process of designing a water system almost from start to finish. We surveyed from the source to the location of the tank, we dug the trench for the tubes, and we placed and glued the tubes. One of the most interesting experiences was when the pipe needed to bend right in the middle of an 18-foot section. The local foreman took the pipe to a large rock, shoved one end under the rock, had four of us push on the other side and bent the 2-inch steel pipe on the spot.

We also got to help build the presa, or dam, for the community. This was a really fun experience, except the time I had to carry the 90-pound bag of cement on my shoulder for 30 minutes as we walked from the community to the dam site. We also worked with SANAA, the Honduran water agency, on chlorinating water tanks to make the water potable and safe for the community.

Last week was Semana Santa here in Honduras: the week from Palm Sunday to Easter. Technically the official government holidays were Wednesday to Sunday. This, however, can change with each administration. Most Hondurans, however, took off of work on the Friday before Palm Sunday and came back Easter Sunday, if not later.

All of the Peace Corps trainees and the training staff were off of work Thursday and Friday. In Santa Lucia, there where a number of activities throughout the week, mostly held in the church, which culminated Friday with a re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross held through the streets of town. The enactment was extremely detailed, with different families setting up monuments at various locations in the town and ending with the crucifixion on the hill in the center of town.

The following Saturday, Jon, Silvie, Subarna and I decided to go into Teguc for lunch and to use the Internet, as the Internet in Santa Lucia can be, at times, excruciatingly slow. The usual method for getting to Teguc is to take the bus from Santa Lucia, a 35- to 50-minute ride down the mountain. There is another route, however: the old road to Tegucigalpa, or Teguc for short. It leads out past the church and down the other side of the valley and into Teguc and has apparently amazing views of both Santa Lucia and Teguc.

There are no buses that run on this road anymore, as the new road is paved and this one is dirt. We thought, however, that we would be able to walk to the distance without much problem. When this idea was run past our host families, we were told that this was a very bad idea. This route is apparently a gang hangout and there have been many muggings on the road. After some deliberation, we decided that the middle of the day during holy week would be the safest time of any to make the walk, and so at 10:30 Saturday morning, we set off.

We had been informed that it would take only about an hour to reach Teguc, as this route is much more direct than the new paved road. The road starts out fairly level and continues this way for some time with only a minor drop in elevation.

After 20 minutes or so, there is a wonderful view of Santa Lucia that shows exactly how little and quaint the town is. Jon was able to see his house from the road. After admiring the view for a while, we continued on.

The view of Teguc from the top of a hill farther down the road was astounding. The city, however, was quite some distance away.

After about another hour of walking, we reached the outskirts of Teguc, a barrio (district, or section of a city) called La Sosa. La Sosa is located on a hill overlooking Teguc. As we walked down through what are usually referred to as shanty towns or squatter settlements, I was struck at how quickly one’s ideas can change.

La Sosa is, by any measure, a community struggling with poverty. There is no trash collection; dead animals were lying on the street; most of the community had no electricity; the houses where made from sheets of tin and cardboard. However, these did not seem as foreign to me as they once would have.

What I noticed more were the people who would ask us how we were doing and wish us a good day, the kind response we got when we asked for directions, and the young boy without shoes walking through trash in the river, who I talked to about the weather, his house and where he was going.

After walking through La Sosa for a while, we spotted our first taxi and, as we were quite hungry after walking for almost an hour more than we had planned, we flagged it down and rode the rest of the way into the city. The following Monday, we found out from Silvie that according to her parents, La Sosa is the most dangerous barrio in Teguc and that most Hondurans wont even go there. I am myself still a little skeptical.

On Friday, we found out our sites, our homes for the next two years. I am going to be living in Marcala in the department of La Paz. It is a city of about 12,500 with another 15,00 in the surrounding aldeas (villages surrounding a larger town). There is another water and sanitation volunteer from my group who is going to be living in Chinacla, one of the aldeas close to Marcala. Her name is Melissa, and she is going to be working with me to do surveys and water board trainings in the Marcala area.

Next week, I go on my site visit and will know much more about the town and what I will be doing there. The week after site visit is swearing-in and moving out to our sites. I am sure that these last two weeks are going to move even faster than any of the week before as the excitement of getting out to site grows.

Patrick Allen, a former Salem resident, is working for the Peace Corps in Honduras.

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Story Source: Statesman Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Honduras; Water



By Dirk Breuer (dialin119092.server4you-dsl.de - on Saturday, June 25, 2005 - 5:33 pm: Edit Post

Dear Sirs,

I would like to know if Mr. Patrick Allen in Honduras (PATRICK ALLEN, Special to the Statesman Journal, April 19, 2004) is the same Patrick Allen who I met in Berlin on new years day 1999 in Berlin, while he was doing his peace corps service in Poland.
We lost out of sight and I would like to contact him.
Sincerly, Dirk Breuer

By malo (161-kahala.dialup.guam.net - on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - 1:41 am: Edit Post

Hi there,

I am from Tornabe, Honduras... I met a peace corp volunteer in 2004, by the name of Subarna. -She was servingh in my home town -Tornabe. I would love to hear from her. I now live on the Island of Guam USA



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