We finished up our last sessions in Gracias this week and are going back to Siguatepeque tomorrow. The content of classes and other general news since my last post isn´t all that interesting.... another really busy week with lots of stuff to worry about, the main thing being a ¨fiesta de despedida¨ (departure party) for our host families in gracias, where we cooked them food and presented them diplomas for their good work in being host families and whatnot. They tell me that diplomas are handed out for damn-near everything around here, which seems about right. Every family has a picture or two in their house of their children in tuxes for their graduation..... from one grade to the next.
So the party was kind of fun; I made dad´s chili which turned out pretty well (I thought) which makes it a success by my standards. We hit a piñata and made some speeches and thanked God that the week, along with probably the most stressful part of training, was over. Today, we hopped a bus to Santa Rosa de Copan (where I am now). We´re going to have a little party at a house here that some PCVs rent as a communal gathering place. Supposedly a lot of the PAM volunteers from around the country are going to come over to meet us, so that should be cool. Then we´re heading back to Sigua tomorrow.
I feel like I´m getting boring with all this straight news so I´ve been thinking about a few random topics I´ve wanted to talk about here.
Things I like About Honduras
Openness. People like meeting, talking, sharing, and things like that. A lot of the personal questions that we might consider overly curious or prying are seen as friendly, and I kind of like that.
Family togetherness - their family ties are a lot stronger here. Maybe part of it is because you just don´t move across the country when you grow up, you get a job in your hometown and most likely do the same thing your dad/mom did. However the way they keep in touch with and especially look after each other within families is something I wish we had a little more of stateside. Parents spend more time with their kids too, I think.
Humility. This can be seen as a good trait and also as a drawback, but it´s refreshing being in a place where you hear people using the word humble all the time as a compliment. ¨Es un hombre muy humilde y sincero¨ is one of the best things you can say about another person.
People here are also very easygoing. You hear the expression ¨tranquilo¨ a lot, which people use to describe Honduras in general, their little town, or as a positive response when you ask them how they´re doing. They´re almost never in a hurry and don´t stress themselves out much.
The last and most important thing for me is generosity. And this is specifically something I found interesting to contrast with the United States, because for all our money we´re twice as reluctant to share anything with other people. People will share their house and food with a stranger - not just a few very open types do this; it´s how people are. It´s like all the money and stuff that we have in the US ends up dividing us from other people. We value independence so much we never like accepting help from other people, and in turn we´re reluctant to give it. People in harder circumstances know they need each other.
I am of course talking about the Red Wing work boots that Dad bought me as a birthday/going-away present before I left. I try to be anti-materialistic and not be too attached to things and whatnot, but it´s interesting the psychological effect certain objects can have. I´ve always had kind of a fascination with shoes - I used to be obsessed with my feet size as an indication that I was growing up. Ditto when I got my first baseball mitt.... the smell of the leather and the way it looked on my hand was like the coolest thing ever.
This sounds really stupid, but these boots has a similar psychological effect in that wearing them just makes me feel more like a grown man, ready to face the world. It probably has something to do with all the years growing up and knowing that when Dad put on the high leather boots with lug soles, it was time to go to work. Maybe it´s just the fact that they fit me so great and I love leather too, I dunno. When I lace these things up and step out the door I feel invincible.
ps - no, Red Wing, you may not put this in an advertisement.
Actually I can´t think of a whole lot more right now. I started writing this stuff down in a notebook but I forgot to bring it with me. Til next time then. =)