Thursday, December 15, 2005

Security breach!

Welp, I'm back from the final coffee training event in La Fe. There seems to have been a trend with these things of gradually increasing lameness.... like, IHCAFE started off all nice and planned and organized, and gradually forgot about the project when other things came up. I got to the center a day early due to some misinformation that Lucas Dunnington, my contact with USAID/MIRA, had given me, so I hiked up to a sort-of-nearby aldea called San Luis Planes to visit some other volunteers, a married couple named Kevin and Kathy, that live there. It was a really nice walk (that part of the country is simply gorgeous) and I enjoyed the visit as well. So not a total loss. Then the classes we had yesterday and the day before were like, 50% a repeat of stuff we've had before and 50% new information, and 100% improvised on the spot. It's like they just sent a couple more of their techs down and said "uh, teach the CAFIN group whatever your specialty is". Did somebody actually plan this course out?

So I feel a little disappointed with that, but I still learned some very valuable information in pretty much all the topics I would have liked to except for grafting coffee varieties (and I want to do this in my community). We didn't do coffee nurseries either, but everybody knows how to do that. Well, besides me. :P

The other noteworthy event is that I got my wallet pickpocketed on the bus back from La Fe, or at some point in the journey, I'm not really sure when (hence the title). I discovered its absence when I pulled into the peace corps office in Tegucigalpa this afternoon to pick up my mail and drop something off for Josh. It's damn lucky I decided to stop by here, because I will be able to take care of the necessary steps tomorrow, which is going to Immigration and getting a temporary residence card plus requesting a new one. I didn't have any bank cards or money in the wallet so that is good. I've picked up the habit of carrying money just loose in my front pockets, and I don't even bother bringing my bank card since it's pretty much useless. Apparently what happens when you get things like that stolen is that people buy a crapload of gas with them at a gas station that has credit card pumps, and then sell that gas.

Anyhoo, I was in a pretty crappy mood earlier today but the fact is it could've gone a lot worse (like getting a gun stuck in my face, which has already happened to three people in my training group since August) and the damage is minimal. I also learned an important lesson and I think I'm going to start carrying a "ringer" wallet from now on. I might even use that goofy neck-hanging purse that mom bought when we went to Costa Rica. My faith in humanity was tarnished briefly, but the staff here at the peace corps office is so friendly and helpful, and then I had a great taxi driver who took me to the police station, that I feel better already.

Unless something truly stunning happens I probably won't update again til after some more time back in my site. Love to everybody, and happy holiday season. :)


At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... do most protect from theft in the cities? Suggestions for those of us coming to visit this year? One of my favorite activities while visiting other countries is to spend time observing the difference in the way the visitors conduct themselves (decibel level, tone when speaking, dress, carry themselves, behave in markets, frequency with which they smile, etc.) compared to the locals. In my limited experience in Europe and in Central Americans, Estadounidenses are in the groups that stand out, particularly in respect to their loud voices, and to the way they expect others to immediately pay attention to them and take them seriously while interacting in commerce. How about your colleagues? What do they notice differentiates us?

At 7:37 AM, Blogger pineconeboy said...

Actually I would say that being timid and waiting my turn is what distinguishes me personally from the Hondurans. And the distinction these days is more class than nationality. The businesspeople with dough behave just like gringos when interacting with other people (even more demanding I have found), and the campo people are timid and quiet and deferent. They are the ones that get taken advantage of in the big cities too, which is really a shame.

At any rate the main things are clothes and backpack. There are definitely pale people around here, but there is a certain Honduran dress code that us gringos don´t really adhere to (and I have to admit I probably never will). However if you want to maximize your safety I think that´s the way to do it. Although it´s still pretty hard to get away with blue eyes, no matter how pale your skin is. :P


At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the dress code? Like in Costa Rica? Simple cotton dresses for women? How do people dress?
On another note, I am looking into getting involved in Heifer International, and see that they have lots going on in Honduras. My buddy, Martha, has been involved for years and went to Honduras last summer. I may apply to go for a week this summer. Sounds like they have great ideas in practice for developing independent sustainable ecologically minded agricultural practice. Did you visit their projects? Bee farms?

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martha's blog is www.heiferhonduras.blogspot if you're interested. Her journal of the trip is at the bottom.


Post a Comment

<< Home