Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If I had to my way....

Day 34-July 18, 2011
Welp, somehow, I was convinced into going back up to Paraiso (Paradise)--remember? the 2.5 hour hike up the mountain? yeah...haha fun stuff. I figured, I found it discouraging all of the times people say that they cant come to your dorm room because "its cold outside....i cant walk 20 yards from my building to yours" or "your room is on the 3rd floor"....then i thought, "think about how many MORE people refuse to go up to visit the people of Paraiso just because the hike is too difficult"...thus, i sucked it up so that i wouldnt dissapoint them--especially for how much they do for us and for how often they walk down the mountain to see others and back up in the night time.

Poor Dr. D hurt his back, so he couldnt go up, so we went with Brad (who works on the farm for the hospital) and Seth, a Dr. from the US who is coming down to Honduras to see what long term missions is all about. THEREFORE, there were 7 of us: Brad, Seth, Bekah, Will, me, and 2 guys from the NJ group: Aaron and Drew. Good news was that Brad's pace up the mountain was not nearly as fast as the last time we went, so it was challenging just because of the hills, but it was not that painful! When we were about 1/3 of the way up, Fredi (a friend from paradise--19 years old) met us there with 2 horses: Grano de Oro (Piece of Gold) y Intocable (Untouchable). It was so sweet of him to bring them down. To add to that, he told me that he started walking back from Lucinda (where we live) the night before at 11 pm. He climbed up to Paraiso at night. I asked if he had a light, and he replied, "Solamente la luna" (ONLY THE MOON!) haha. SO....he got up to Paradise around 1 am or later, then he came back down in the morning to meet us with horses. How kind and what a sacrifice!
All of the guys refused the horses because they wanted to be men haha, so bekah and i took them for the middle part of the trail--why would we take it on the flatter part beats me...but we did (stupid! haha). We then walked the last part--or the part dr. d always says "you gotta go through hell to get to paradise"--the steep switchbacks.
When we made it to the top, the kids were standing there waiting, and when they saw us, they ran to us. How precious! We all ran back to their house and surprised everyone because they didnt know if we'd actually come. The smiles on their faces are incredible--they all are so full of joy and their laughter is so rich. One of the guys who is a teacher at a school in Paradise, Ever, took us up to the highest area near the house so we could look down on the mountain and the carribean. I wish i had brought a camera, but 1. i didnt wanna be too touristy & wanted to give them my undivided attention, and 2. i decided that i had to carry as little weight as possible up because, well, it's a tough'n.
We then ran through the rocks and mud and some animal poo poo where one of the boys, Albaro, got up in the tree about 30 feet in the air and was catapulting oranges down to us so they could make some fresh juice! We then went back up and sang through the Bible songs, while Brad and Seth installed the solar panels that they earned in the Olympics.
Of course, after that, they had a meal for us. SO KIND. there were 7 of us and they gave us SO MUCH FOOD (rice, beans, corn tortillas, bananas (they call these ones "manzanas" or "apples" because they taste like an apple!)--brad got 3 because he's "guapo" (handsome) and i got 2 because im "bonita" haha hey, whatever gets you more food ha ha jk--fried plantains, orange juice, carrots, oranges--YOU NAME IT. Only Brad and Will were able to finish their plates--THATS how much food they gave us. They then cut down sugar cane and we ate it (not a huge fan--its like chewing on a stick that just happens to be sweet haha). We then went up on the high point and played soccer...literally like 14 people on a maybe 10 by 10 field with rocks to mark goals. there was barely room to move...but i'll tell ya, for the entire time we played, there was constant laughter. Loud, genuine, rich laughter. Everyone was happy. Everyone was happy to be together to be enjoying each other's presence. That rich laughter is what everyone needs to hear. Every time that we complain that things didnt turn out the way we wanted them to....every time we say life is boring...every time we think we're "poor"...that laughter would be the cure to all of that. Poor? Only being poor in spirit will make you truly poor. These people are part of a small village--in fact, most of the village is this one family--2 parents, 6 kids, 1 grand kid all under a roof better defined as a 2, maybe 3, room mud hut. What we would define as impoverished, they would define as their everyday life. When we think that we're running low on cash, they think, "we have more than enough food to feed visitors, even if we know they have a lot more than us". Again, like i said last time i went to paradise, we tend to see poverty as lack of material possessions. Other see it as presence of things: loneliness, hopelessness, etc. These people might be "impoverished" by our definition, but they are not impoverished by their definition. They are rich in life and the Spirit of God. They're servants of God. It reminds me of this passage in Mark 12:41-44:
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Would you be willing to give all you had? I know I'd struggle with that, and I'm sure most people would, too. Perhaps that's the key, though. Why have I not heard laughter more pure than up on that mountain. What they lack in possessions, they are overflowing with eternal richness. Think about how you're living then think about how they're living. Do you feel any guilt? Don't feel guilty for having money because you have been blessed..but have you been using that money for the wrong purpose? How much is used for God or serving others compared to serving your material desires? How much money do you use in place of giving others your time, attention, love, or laughter? If I had it my way, I'd have everyone visit Paradise.


Weekend as a Honduran

Day 32/33-Saturday, July 16, 2011--Sunday, July 17, 2011
We got up and caught the 7 am bus. We asked Bictelia to not get up, but of course, she had to get up and prepare us breakfast. GOSH! haha
Took the bus back home. Chillin' for a while, then getting ready to go to Balfate for a volleyball tournament on the beach and then to see the school coronation, a little princess pagent!
BUT...the guy we were supposed to call for details didnt pick up his phone....which was ironic because he's usually glued to his phone...so after a few hours of no response, one of the missionaries who lives in Balfate radio'ed us and said that we could go to Joseph's house (the guy we were trying to call). Amanda drove us down, and we watched the Uruguay vs. Argentina soccer game there (btw, Uruguay won in penalty kicks...just in case you wanted to know). We then got a tour of Balfate by Joseph. Everyone is related to everyone here...i swear! haha "theres my cousin. those are my nephews, those are my cousins, thats my grandma's house, etc." hahaha We then went to watch the pageant....basically a small procession of kids & the princess is the girl whose parents raised the most money for her to be the princess haha.
After the pageant, we went back to Joseph's house. His kind girlfriend, Yvonne, made us delcious coconut chicken, freshly squeezed lime juice (SO GOOD), plantains, and rice/beans. Then we walked to the beach and hung out there for part of the night. Joseph said that nobody ever goes to the beach except for La Semana Santa. If i lived there, i'd have bonfires out there or something...itd be fun!
Anywho, we went back and stayed over Joseph's house. There was AIR CONDITIONING in our bedroom, so all 4 of us (Chrystal, Bekah, Will, and myself) decided to sleep in that room. We got up the next morning and Yvonne made us literally the best breakfast i've ever tasted. Some type of eggs/potatos/etc. inside of bread that looked like a pierogie haha. Then we got some mamones for our walk back, and walked a good 45 minutes back to Lucinda. We went to church, taught the new team from NJ some of the Bible songs, and that's that.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Love is a universal language

Day 31-Friday, July 15, 2011
Went to Rio Esteban again today. Joseph, the 5th and 6th grade teacher, decided that he didnt want to come to school. When he told us the day before, i just laughed..then, when we got to school, i realized that with him not there, chrystal and i were in charge of his whole class. not funny anymore. the kids had to write an essay "if i were rich, i would..." for homework, so we went over those. A lot of the kids wrote about helping the poorer people in Las Niguas and giving money to the poor which is interesting to read. We then helped them try to speak better english because their sentences were very choppy. Basically, chrystal tried to fix sentences on the board while i tried to get them to pay attention. it was a nightmare! the kids were looking up inappropriate words in the dictionary, moving around to different seats, kicking each other, yelling, saying inappropriate things, etc. etc. needless to say, we were very stressed out today. i then helped fernando write his essay since he decided not to do his homework--it was a nice break from the crazy classroom.
Then, we took a break from teaching and had bekah and will teach 3/4 grade math while we let our stress die away haha. Then, Dr. D came and we sang the Bible songs and all of his songs. and thats where i saw kids laughing at one of the girls in the 5th grade class-i asked why. they said she had lice. sure enough, i took a peek and saw some nasties crawling around. yeah...apparently 3 of the girls from the class have it....i freaked out initially, but thought of Jesus not being afraid of the lepers, so we shouldnt be afraid of lice. think about how much more serious leprosy is than lice. God will protect those who trust him. and...no worries...no lice here.
We then came home and cleaned the house, getting it ready for the group coming in tomorrow. Then, we went to Rio Esteban--to Bictelia and Delmi's house. We walked through Rio Esteban and then got Deslin (another teacher in the school--19 years old, knows pretty good english!)--we met her family, then we went to the beach and watched the end of the sunset. We went back to Delmi's and, of course, Bictelia had a feast for us--some type of hard Honduran bread, that plantain and beef delicious dish, and pizza hut pizza (haha---someone went to la ceiba that day i guess) Unfortunately, Delmi didnt inform us that when we ate, she missed her Friday night Bible group, so afterwards, we went on the porch and had our own small bible group--sang a couple songs and Bictelia talked about the life of Moses and how his mom had to abandon him and send him down the river, and what looked like a disaster was just part of God's bigger plan. She said that in our lives, sometimes we wonder why certain things happen--she said for us, maybe we wonder why we're even in Honduras---but she said it's all part of God's bigger plan for your life. She then went to talk about how Moses had a speech impediment, and how he sometimes had trouble communicating, and she said that she feels that barrier with some of our group because she only knows spanish and some ppl only know english, and she feels that barrier. We then concluded, though, that love is a universal language. You dont need to know each other's tongues to love each other.
We then all got sleepy--at like 10 pm--wimps, i know haha. and we stayed over their house. They are the most generous people. You say thank you, and they dont want to hear it. They were thanking US for coming..but they had us over and they fed us and everything. it makes no sense! so kind!

Volcanoes!

Day 30-Thursday, July 14, 2011
Went to the Rio Esteban school today. Chrystal brought diet pepsi and mentos so we could do a volcano experiment with 3rd and 4th grade...explosion! woo! haha We helped the 3rd graders with science---learned about different types of fish. I tried to help Bictelia with chemistry bc she's helping her son...if you thought chem was hard to teach in english, dang...spanish threw me off a little, but together we worked through it. Overall, it was a good day at the school! Came home and had fellowship in the evening where one of the families was celebrating their daughter's 1st birthday--so precious!

En Casa

Day 29-Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Stayed en casa today to complete an imovie out of the powerpoint called "pilgrim's progress". Now Dr. D can take these movies (Pilgrim's Progress in English and Spanish, Soccer Evangelism in English and Spanish, Birthday Cake in English and Spanish)--no no, i definitely didnt do all of those...amanda did most of them, then bekah, will, and i did some others. That's about it for the day!

-Cara

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Because I've seen myself in the mirror

Estaysy being a character, as usual! haha I don't have any non-silly pics of her as of yet.

Day 28-Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bilingual school again today. I got to work with Estaysy for most of the day 1 on 1. We read the Spanish and English Picture Bibles- she needs some work on reading Spanish and she needs a ton of help with the English. All in all, she was excited to read the Spanish book, and a little bit reluctant to read the English. She did a good job, though, and worked very hard. We then practiced conversations in English. I taught her different words and phrases to use for practical English. She was able to ask about my family and vice versa. She says she lives with her aunt, uncle, and dad and her mom lives in NY. I know her mom's in America, but i didnt know if her dad was in the picture or not...i dont know if she made up that her dad lives with her, too. Not quite sure yet. Then, after Recess #1, I went to work on an iMovie we were assigned to create called Soccer Evangelism, but with many distractions, i got nothing done. SO...i went back out to work with Estaysy more. She was very eager to learn today, and, of course, still cracking me up. She kept trying to put spiders on me, though, because i FREAKED OUT when a red spider was crawling on me--in my defense, theyre REPULSIVE. We then went to the AC room to work on more English, using a little chalkboard. She then started writing sentences on the chalkboard in Spanish. I was about to tell her to focus until i read what she was writing. She wrote (in spanish, though): "I'm ugly". [keep in mind, this is an 11 year old kid]. I erased it. She then wrote, "Do you want me to go away?" because earlier i told her to go back to her class when she wasnt being nice. I said no. She then wrote, "Don't you love me? yes or no?" and i said, "yes i do" and she wrote, "im ugly" again. I said, "why do you say that?" and she wrote, "because ive seen myself in the mirror." I started to cry, but i had to hold back the tears so she didnt see me. I told her that she's beautiful inside and out and that she shouldnt think that. I had to get bekah to work with her for a little while i went outside because i just didnt want her to see me crying about what she wrote. An 11 year old girl shouldnt be thinking she's ugly. Nobody should. When i told someone about it, they said, "its a part of growing up. she'll deal." but how can you say that when you see how it bothers her? I'm starting to think that she doesnt work hard not because she thinks she has to be lazy in America, but she feels worthless. I bet she doesnt get the support she should at home. She probably feels like a doormat, making her perceive this all that she's worthless and ugly. I talked to Mrs. Rumbaugh and asked how i should deal with this, and she gave me some tips. I want to try to show her the love of God...especially before this goes too far and could ruin her life. Pray for Estaysy and pray for me so that I may say the right things to lead her to hope in Christ. The Lord is throwing out challenges to me, but through Him, I can face them and succeed. He loves so that we, too, can love others.
When we got back from the school, we worked on more projects (iMovie, painting sheets for our Missionary Bible School, and made tortillas). There was an H-M (Honduras al Mundo) meeting, where about 25 people were present, including 4 from Paradise (Ever, Fredi, Linda, and Glendi--it was little Linda's 21st birthday and she walked 2 hours down a mountain and 2 hours back up on her own birthday!). When we were cooking the tortillas, Bekah had a little mishap with the gas stove...let's just say some of her hair is singed and she THREW HERSELF on the ground faster than ive ever seen anyone before. I couldnt stop laughing. hahahaha
We all enjoyed fellowship and the good food, then we came back up and worked more on the projects, then called it a night.

Egg Shell Experiment

Day 27-Monday, July 11, 2011

Went to the bilingual school in Rio Esteban today. The kids I normally work with were kept in class most of the day, so we didnt end up doing much. I got to teach math to Marcos (who apparently goes by Manuel, too, haha) and Mauricio (the son of Eduardo)---these are the boys i taught science to last week. They are such cuties...Mauricio has the sweetest little smile, and they are well behaved kids. I read both the Spanish and the English picture bibles with Estaysy for a little bit, then we came back to casa. Delmi and Walter came over to play volleyball, but i forced myself to study for the stinkin' GRE haha, so i didnt play, but they stayed for dinner, too, so I got to spend some time with them, there. Delmi refused to take a sweatshirt to borrow even though she was freezing-so stubborn! they give give give to us all of the time, and they wont let anyone give back! silly geese! haha we ate, delmi and walter left, and amanda did a science experiment of a child...we put an egg in vinegar to see the shell disintegrate over a day....and thats about it!