2009.04.15: April 15, 2009: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Blogs - Honduras: The Daily Titan: Peace Corps Volunteer Citizen_K writes: Living in Honduras for the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: Newest Stories: 2009.04.15: April 15, 2009: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Blogs - Honduras: The Daily Titan: Peace Corps Volunteer Citizen_K writes: Living in Honduras for the Peace Corps

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Peace Corps Volunteer Citizen_K writes: Living in Honduras for the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Volunteer Citizen_K writes: Living in Honduras for the Peace Corps

"Here is a typical morning. At 4:30 a.m., I am woken up by the rooster crowing, the dogs barking, the neighbor's horses doing their horse thing and Marguerita waking up to start stoking the outdoor wood-fired stove for our breakfasts. I'm lucky as a man, and also as a guest, I don't have as large a role in the morning routine, and so I get to sleep until 5:30 a.m. When my pocket alarm clock (aka cellphone) goes off, I roll out of my sleeping bag in the dim light coming from the one inch gaps above and below my door, which leads into the front yard. I slip under the mosquito net (Malaria and Dengue Fever are both very real threats here), and slip into my sandals to avoid the floor, which is freezing. If I'm lucky, today is one of the days we have electricity, and I turn on the bare bulb in the middle of the room. If not, my headlamp stays on the bedstand for just this reason."

Peace Corps Volunteer Citizen_K writes: Living in Honduras for the Peace Corps

Living in Honduras for the Peace Corps

Special report by Citizen_K

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Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tomorrow, or more precisely in under four hours, my Peace Corps service begins. Officially, I've been a PCT (Peace Corps Trainee) since I signed the final papers at 3 p.m. Feb. 24. However, at 2:30 a.m. (tomorrow) we check out of our hotel, take a bus to the airport, and at 7 a.m. fly to Miami, then off to Teigucigalpa, Honduras. If all goes according to plan, I'll be landing just after noon, local time. (Central American time, two hours ahead of the west coast).

Moving on I flew into Washington, DC yesterday, traveling via Chicago, where I spent a grand total of 45 minutes, barely enough to take a leak before hopping on another plane. The first leg of the journey East wasn't bad; I sat next to two 14-year-old girls from Rhode Island who told me about boys and pop culture. I told them stories about college and high school and generally felt old. Later on, I showed them pictures of my brother and they said he was hot.

From Chicago to DC was all of two hours, but the ride was hellish. I sat next to 200-plus pounds of fat, anger and smell pretty much the most unpleasant man I've met in a few days. Flying cattle class, I squeezed up against the window and tried to sleep, but being between a wall and a squishy place is not conducive to rest, and I only napped about 20 minutes. The rest of the flight I spent leaning on the wall, breathing through my nose and being pitched up and down 20 to 30 inches at a shot in such wicked turbulence. Fun times were had.

Landing was hairy: Buffetted by wind, we dropped the last 15 feet to land jarringly and fishtailed to a stop on the Tarmac. Feeling distinctly airsick, I marched down to baggage claim, got my stuffed pig of a duffel and made it into a cab, collapsing into the back seat with weariness and relief.

My cab driver, a huge fellow named Raul, talked shit about the Peace Corps and about me, asking at one point, "What's a rich white boy doing going to the third world?" Good question. Probably white guilt. I thought he was hilarious, and tipped him four bucks, saying "Here's for Manifest Destiny," which sent him into hysterics. Raul and I got each other pretty well, I think.

At the front desk, I got my room key and an Ethernet cable, then headed up five floors to my room. Inside I met my roommate, R, a real class act. He's a fellow wandering soul, lives all over, travels and chews tobacco (gives that up today). He's going to be one of my good friends, I can already tell. We talked for a while, but I felt like a shit sandwich, and under the guise of taking a nap, passed out hard at 8 p.m. local.

Aside from a brief wake up to call my mom and shower, I slept until 7 a.m., waking with the sun. Worked out for a bit, stretched, and generally adjusted to local time. R and I went to breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then wandered down to the river (Potomac? I don't know) to kill time. It's bitter cold here, 35 or so, and I have no cold weather gear aside from a jacket and gloves. R wore flip flops, and ended up soaking his feet in the sink for a while. Bitter weather, but Georgetown is pretty.

Around one in the afternoon, R and I wander back down to the lobby, and into a hailstorm of people and luggage and noisy nervous chatter. Easily 100 people are milling around, looking to make friends. We find the line for Honduras volunteers (Equador is here too, but we don't mix with those types), fill out our papers, and presto, we're in the Peace Corps.

(From) 1:30 to 7 p.m. we're in a conference room, learning, ice breaking and getting excited. It's such a trip to be surrounded by like-minded, smart and motivated people. I've yet to meet someone I don't like. I play the clown a lot, making jokes, volunteering, presenting, reading out loud. Really, I'm just trying to get noticed and it works. At 7 p.m. they give us dinner money, and I convince 16 of our 50 people to come out to sushi.

We drink and make merry at this wonderful restaurant, Sushi-Ko, which I'd recommend to anyone. I end up at a table with three girls, Kat Pee, Moneybags and Lis. We drink a lot of sake, gorge on sushi and find out tons in common. It's really weird I've been here 24 hours, and I've made four fast friends. More to come, if it keeps up.

So that brings us to now. I bought some gum and probiotics and miscellaneous goods at CVS, then came home to sit down and write this. In three hours we leave.

This will probably be the last e-mail I send for a while. Once in country, I'm not going to have access for a while.

Dairy # 2

Hola a Todos!

As I begin this letter, it is Monday, March 2, my fifth day in Honduras. It's really difficult for me to believe how far I've come these five days. Everything has changed so rapidly, and I've done so much that I'm already viewing my life as BPC and APC, that is before and after Peace Corps.

Last I wrote, I was in my hotel room in Washington DC last Tuesday night. I had Internet, the heater was on, I was watching some bad movie on TV and I was lying on a bed of white linens and memory foam. I had a half dozen lights, room service at my beck and call, running hot and cold water only a tap away, a flush toilet and a dozen other amenities.

Right now I'm writing this sitting in a room, 10 feet by 10 feet, which serves as kitchen, living room, dining room and pantry for a family of six. La Familia Cerrato, of which I am a temporary member, consists of Marguerita, her husband Elias, and their four children, Jeny (17), Gaby (15), Elias Jr. (12) and Marcela (11). The seven of us share a three room house with bare concrete floors, electricity but no running water, an outdoor toilet, bare plaster walls, a tin roof (part is shingled) and windows with wooden shutters and no glass.

Here is a typical morning. At 4:30 a.m., I am woken up by the rooster crowing, the dogs barking, the neighbor's horses doing their horse thing and Marguerita waking up to start stoking the outdoor wood-fired stove for our breakfasts. I'm lucky as a man, and also as a guest, I don't have as large a role in the morning routine, and so I get to sleep until 5:30 a.m. When my pocket alarm clock (aka cellphone) goes off, I roll out of my sleeping bag in the dim light coming from the one inch gaps above and below my door, which leads into the front yard. I slip under the mosquito net (Malaria and Dengue Fever are both very real threats here), and slip into my sandals to avoid the floor, which is freezing. If I'm lucky, today is one of the days we have electricity, and I turn on the bare bulb in the middle of the room. If not, my headlamp stays on the bedstand for just this reason.

After pulling on a sweatshirt, I open the plywood door separating my room from the rest of the house, and greet my family, most of whom are in the main room. The rest are on the other side of a curtain separating the main bedroom from the rest of the house. Our usual conversation goes a bit like this:

Yo: "Buenas dias mi familia! Como estan ustedes?"
Todos: "Buenas dias K! Que Duerme?"
Yo: "Duermo como los angelitos! Y ustedes igualmente?"
Marguerita: "Si, igualmente! Quieres duchar?"
And so in that vein.

In english:
Me: "Good morning my family! How are you all?"
Everyone: (sometimes in unison) "Good morning K! How did you sleep?"
Me: "Like the little angels! And you too?"
Marguerita: "Yes, the same! Would you like to shower?

The accents are missing from the Spanish part, but this is more or less our usual morning routine. The Hondurans are very passionate people, and so we all put a lot of emphasis and emotion into our words.

For the rest of part two, check out Thursday issue April 23.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: April, 2009; Peace Corps Honduras; Directory of Honduras RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Honduras RPCVs; Blogs - Honduras





When this story was posted in April 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:




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Story Source: The Daily Titan

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

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