Wednesday, August 29, 2012

He is Always Good. Life is Tough Sometimes.

Long post warning... I am currently sitting in my room as a dog barks below from my neighbors one room small hut. It doesn't make any sense to me.... I get the joy of writing and sharing my journey with all of you and others who are kind enough to care and read, while my neighbors sleep on a dirt floor. I didn't choose to be born into the home I was born into. We dont get to choose where we are born or who we are born too.  Certainly circumstances in life may get worse but sometimes it just seems not fair that I was born with a roof always over my head, two parents that love me well... that is not the case here. Life is just that I suppose, not fair, out of our control, and so good and beautiful at the same time. I write this as I learned of some very unfortunate news of a dear friend today. I want to ask for your prayers of my dear friend Amy Patwa.  If praying is not your thing I ask that you keep her, her husband and her sweet 2 year old in your mind. 

I had the joy of knowing Amy when I was a Freshman in school and we worked at a Younglife camp in Florida for a summer. Amy is strong, Amy is not giving up, but cancer is eating her body, but not killing her spirit. Amy wrote these words below in her caring bridge journal as a reflection on her most recent news with her now lung cancer battle (she was found to have a tumor in her lung only 2 months after finishing 8 months of chemo and radiation for breast cancer, her lung is now surrounding by a large tumor). She writes:

"Through tears our doctor told us she is scared for me.  That now is the time to shoot videos for my daughter and write her birthday letters.  This made the 4 hour wait worth it.  She was severely honest with us, and incredibly kind as she cried with and for us. 

We are weary, overwhelmed, sad, scared.  I have to say that the peace I had 4-6 months ago has waned.  And what I've felt lately is fear.  I feel like I knew this was coming.  As if the Lord was preparing me.  This is very surreal for the both of us.  How do you take the news that "this is killing you" and "we are going to fight it with all we've got" and marry those two competing thoughts?   I'm not giving up.  I'll try anything once.  Ultimately I want to live in peace.  I want sweet time with my beloved and sweet little lady.  I want treasured time with family and friends.  I want to live each day clinging to Jesus.  And I will still pray for a miracle. "

Visit her caring bridge,

I write this with tears streaming my face because it is all a bit overwhelming at the moment, the reality of it all, that the world is so broken, so much is needed and so many are hurting and there is so much to do, and I am so not capable of making even a dent in the mix. I certainly do not know the solution to the worlds problems, nor would I be one to make judgement as to what should be done, or what you are or what you are not doing. Perhaps my prayer is that we can cling tightly to those around us, love others well because this life is short, hard and weary but if we act as though others don't matter things are surely only going to get worse. My favorite book I read recently is called Kisses from Katie and she writes the quote below and writes this much better than I could:

"Sometimes working in a Third World country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper. And just when I have about half a cup full of water it rains: More orphaned children from the north migrate to where I live, more orphaned and dead babies are found, more people are infected with HIV. It is enough to discourage even the most enthusiastic and passionate person. And yet the discouragement lasts only a moment and God tells me to keep going. That He loves me. That He loves these people. That He will never leave or forsake any of us, not one. That my work is important-to Him." Kisses from Katie (book)

Every child and every face you just want to sweep up in your arms and clean them up, give them a bath and give them lotion to make them feel better. Rooms with dirt floors, homes without a roof, no shoes on children...but the quote above puts it best, there is so much need, and so many people, so many starving.

Yesterday we spent the remainder of our day trying to go to the bank to find out we needed our passports, buying shelves for my room to then forget that the man gave me my 10 limpiras back and I then accused him of charging me more, where then it was as though he grabbed the store manager....and I saw that the money I put in my purse. SO EMBARRASSING. I then repeatedly said “Lo Siento, Lo Siento” I am sorry, I am sorry. 

Today was spent at the school, looking at our books and trying to figure out where we are to begin planning lessons with only two more days until school starts. Not all of our textbooks have teacher editions.. so we are still working through how we are to teach. The rest of our evening was spent beginning to make classroom decorations. I have opted for a sports theme room in one and a traveling/traffic theme in the other. You may be asking why two classrooms? We are one teacher short which means I am teaching both classes of 2nd grade, 50 or so children. Math, Science, Reading, Phonics, Grammar, Writing. I have no idea how I will do this or be ready by Monday but ready or not they are coming on Monday! Other teachers will step in to help while I am with the other classroom and then Classroom A is in Spanish or PE for example. I will write my schedule later so you can get a better idea.

As well we got a huge water tank installed on our porch. All i took was 4 men, climbing a tree, using rope to wrap around the post in our apartment through the door to leverage the massive thing up to our porch. Quite a sight to see to say the least.

I am exhausted today.. more funny stories and information about the school and pictures to follow.

Muchas Bendiciones para tiMany blessings to you

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

La escuela. Some Pictures Finally.

Llegamos a la escuela hoy y consiguió nuestro tour. La escuela es preescolar hasta octavo grado. Aprendí que yo enseñando a todos los temas, no sólo en inglés. Rogad por mí, por favor.

I am working very hard on my Spanish so may be practicing while using a online translator. The above says. We arrived at the school and received a tour. The school is preschool through 8th grade. I learned that I am going to be teaching all subjects, not just English. Pray for me, please! More details on this below.

After living here only three short days, I have quickly learned that there will me many things that are, "You know you live in Central America when?"

For example:

  • It is raining and all of sudden it is as well raining in your house. (true story)

  • You go to the bank. and 8 men with machine guns are on all corners of the block as you approach. You then must show your ID, get your bagged searched to go inside. Where then they lock the door behind you and a man stands inside with a gun as well.

  • ATM; Inside where the ATM is located in one of the few places in the country where it is air conditioned.
  • A dead cat, is flattened like a pancake on the side of the road, everything all laid out.. and you know if only happened moments ago before you walked by (RIP kitty in Pena Blanca today)

  • Oranges grow above your porch and that is breakfast.

  • Trash is well everywhere and there is no concept of picking it up.

  • You sweat in the morning, in the day and at night but grow goosebumps in the shower because its as though someone imported water from the Arctic Ocean and brought it here.

  • Beer is very expensive but spirits (My fabulous British roommates call liquor spirits, love that) is very cheap.

There will be many many more of this I am certain but for now that is all I can think of. In other news I now know that I am teaching 2nd Grade. This will be my home room class. I get to start decorating and hopefully will get the textbooks with the curriculum tomorrow to start laying out my plans. I will teach Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Math, Science, and not sure if I forgot something... The kids as well go to PE, Bible, Music, Art, Agriculture, and Spanish as elective courses. While my 2nd grade is in Electives I am also teaching 8th Grade English! YIKES!

Myself along with the others were very shocked to know that we are teaching ALL subjects. Not sure where we either misread or misinterpreted but we thought we were only teaching English courses but we have quickly learned this is not true.

Our school has 2- 1st grade classes, 2 2nd grade classes, 2 3rd grade classes, 2 4th grade glasses, 2 5th grade classes, 1 6th, 1 7th and 1 8th. The only other teacher besides the 4 girls here now and the four boys is a lady that is from England but married a Honduran 30 years ago and teaches at the school. Crazy I know. She was wonderful and providied very helpful information about the school, the area, traveling in the country, going to the beach. Lots of things to look forward too.

All in all though I am so excited to meet the kids, their beautiful faces, love on them well and hopefully give them a great school year. I must say though it is all a little bit overwhelming.. So much to share and so very little time... I must get some sleep.

With lots of love and joy.... blessings to you from Honduras.Newest 2nd grade teacher and 8th ;)

Entrance to our house. You are probably thinking this is very nice and let me tell you it is.. All of the windows used to be stores and this was the hallway to the inside mall. They converted this to our apartment.

My bedroom. This is a work in progress. No shelves or wardrobe (Another word my British roommates use often) but hopefully soon!

Our outside wash basin on our porch.

Our kitchen, only one fridge works :)

The view from our porch outside.

Lake Yojoa, the largest lake in the country. We live 2 minutes from this. Incredible.

Overlooking the bridge in the middle of town.

This channel of water goes to the lake. Most locals bathe and wash their clothes in this because they otherwise do not have running water.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 2 ish... So Incredible.

Day 1 

Warning... Internet is a bit questionable at this point. But my roommate and I are stealing from the shop downstairs ;) So if your reading this.. consider yourself lucky ;)

After saying goodbye to my dad in Houston i had my last cup of Starbucks, Einsteins and waited to board for San Pedro Sula. I was fortunate to have a whole row to myself so I slept the whole plane ride, only to be woken up with horrible dreams. (dreams about coming down here... not very convenient considering my plane was in route). We flew over the Island of Rotan and the coral reefs. It was beautiful. The crystal blue water.. In that moment I looked over the window, as I sat on a plane with a group of people none of who spoke English...... and I realized how great and big the god of the world is. How he looks at even the smallest speck on the worlds map and designs and creates it so it has his image impressed upon it. In those moments as well I remembered why I was coming, why I chose to move here and that each day I hope I look at each face and each person as though god did the very moment he created them.  He says you are beautifully and wonderfully made.. he whispers in their ear and tells them you are mine.

I quickly overcame my fear as I passed through customs smoothly,  grabbed my luggage and walked out of customs. I looked and looked and could not find anyone wtih a name for the school so I decided to walk around a bit. The airport has 3 terminals only and was very small… not scary as some mentioned. I have found that Wendys, Dunkin Donuts are staples in Honduras. Good to know :) I soon found our group, Faye from Manchester, Matt from Ohio, Thomas from Houston, Nick from North Carolina and his friend from Munich… Along with them was Shelly who drives the van each day to take us to school... He drove like a champ in what was similar to a horrible nascar race...

We piled in a 15 passenger van with all of our things and ventured on what was a bit of a typical central american car ride… no concept of traffic, man in the road in a wheel chair, broken down cars, children running on the side of the road. THe country to say the very very least is very poor. Average Honduran makes 300 usd a month. We stopped by a similar superstore to that of Walmart in the states (that was for you Meagan) to stock up on things for our house, my list included, flip flops (yes I forgot them), a yoga mat, coffee pot, towels, a pillow, a football and well… that was it. We were told our apartment is being finished at the moment so it was tough to anticipate what to buy.

We stopped quickly at wendys for lunch and an hour half later we are at the lake in Pena Blanca. The school is nestled back by the lake and is simply beautiful. Town is shaped like a T and our apartment is above a Chinese Restaurant and consists of what used to be retail shops they converted to our bedrooms.. HUGE Rooms. Parents from the school who's kids are on scholarship were cleaning and building the apartment as we walked in. Around 8 people or so, all working hard for our arrival. We have beautiful tile floors that will be dirty I am sure all the time… dust seems to collect. Faye and I died laughing at how we will live in such a large place. ( at this moment about 12 different men are trying to decide how they will install Internet in such a large place)

We have a patio/ deck. No railings yet so it is a bit scary but it overlooks a yard of green lush tress, bushes, trash and our neighbors are cooking breakfast outside right now. Stray dogs are everywhere, the rooster crows and unusual smells fill the air, often times the smell of smoke. There is no tax and or organized government so therefore their is no trash pick up so you must arrange for it yourself or burn it in your yard.

We then stopped by the boys house to see there pink cottage and yard filled with all sorts of fruits. We piled in a truck and drove to the nearby hotel that is owned but the same family that owns the school. They fed us for free and we then felt as though we were on some incredible resort. They took us out on Lake Yojoa and we watched as others danced and sang the best of the 80s and 90s. Pure joy and the lake was beautiful.

I learned that I will be teaching all subjects!!!!! YIKES!! and all in English. I do not know yet the grade but either way it will be fun. I can't wait for PE. Suppose I am still a kid after all too.... When in doubt recess will be extended for the day.

This morning Monday, I mopped the floor and waited on one of the guys to go on a run and he never showed up. So instead I came back in, (We don't have phones and I didn't want to wander off alone to find him) and did some yoga inside… Faye washed her clothes on our porch this morning while I picked oranges from our tree and ate them. She already told me there won't be any left because I will have eaten them all. (They are so good)

We are going to wander town today.. buy cell phones and a variety of things for our house that we need. The list is growing….

Towels, floor mats, paper towels, mirrors, place to put my clothes or build a clothes line...

With incredible joy and excitement from what is one beautiful country.. Many blessings to you all..

Pictures will soon follow :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Travel Day 1

I am sitting at the airport, with my sister and her husband waiting on our plane to California. We are delayed... seems I have not had the best of luck traveling these days but in an hour we are on our way. You may ask Why California? Well, My cousin David is getting married in Long Beach so my final days in the states will be sunny Southern Cal with my family.

I turned in my keys to my apartment yesterday, drove my car up to winter park to store it (had a tough time finding the house, it was super dark and Meg and I got lost, funny story, but so not funny at the time), with the help of a recently acquired dear friend I was able to disconnect the battery, i have successfully  slept on the floor for four days and spent the last week with friends, all wishing me well in my new adventure. Thank you all for spending time, making time to say your goodbyes, I so appreciate all the kind words and encouragement. As for my goods, they are all in storage and all that remains are....two bags and a backpack. Nothing like cramming a year worth of life in a two bags.

I am not sure if excited is the right word to describe how I feel, in all honesty its the unknown and the change that I look forward too. I tend to forget that I will be teaching (Sounds silly I know, but when you are packing your life up to move for a year, your focus tends to be on the present and that is to make sure everything gets done in time before you have to leave; car insurance, notify bank that you will be country hopping, cancel your energy bill, pay final water bills, make sure your bills are paid, move out of an apartment, put your things in storage, say goodbye to friends, laundry... etc. the list continues......

Many of you have asked lots of questions and to be honest I do not know much at this point, rumor has it that I may teach 2nd grade! Which would be fantastic! However I am certain whatever classroom of children I am given they will be the perfect fit for me and teach me much more than I will ever teach them. I will post more on details, what my housing is like, what my life is like... so much to look forward too! I am told I will live with two other teachers but at this point I still have yet to know who they are.... so more on that as well.

As for a bit of timeline, I am in Long Beach until Saturday night, where my dad and I will take a Red Eye to Houston. (Business has him changing is plans which selfishly I am glad because we will fly together and he will see me off in Houston).. I leave the States at 8:49 Central Time from Houston..I arrive in San Pedro Sula on Sunday morning at 10:42 am. My bags are packed. Super excited that my big duffle, came in at 45 lbs. (50 is the limit) and my pack was 26 lbs only. (WHOO WHOO) Small victory that made my morning!

I will share more I am sure.. for now I will hang with my family..

My room for the last 4 days...

My battery.. Thanks to one of the greatest people I met, I was able to disconnect the battery and my dearest Meg Day drove me to Winter Park.

Will miss you car.. So long 8 months.

DIA Thursday Morning.. pre 8 hour delay....

Me and my life packed for 8 months.

Just me.. nervous, excited, afraid... all of the above.

Warmest Regards sent from the Rockies for the last time.
Will surely miss Colorado, it has been so good to me.

*** Should provide a disclaimer, that grammar, misspellings, mistakes are going to be frequent. I figure i am teaching kids how to properly speak english so I figure its ok if I have a place where I can just let my thoughts fall...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Like This One. Worth A Read.

Stumbled upon this quote below by Martin Luther King. You should read it, so so good. I am off for a Sunday . Enjoy your day.

"If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral.

 And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.

And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important.

Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important.

Tell them not to mention where I went to school.

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.

I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.

 I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity." -Martin Luther King Jr.

So profound, make me want to live a life close to this.