Alright so we are here in our last week. I don't have much time, but just want to mention that I have finally come to discover that I LOVE it here and I will be sad to go. Its a bummer that it is my last week here and I now finally feel adjusted, but now it is time to leave.
I will write a few more long updates once I get back to the states!
Amber and I have now completed our greatest accomplishments. Yesterday we fixed a washing machine that had been in service for four months, broke, and they then had out of service for 6 months. Their only working washing machine was a scarily old beast that spewed as much water and soap out the side as it retained in. A technician had previously been there to work on the machine but told them that the problem was an error with the program and they were about to throw out the machine. Fortunately we took a look at it and it turns out that the only issue was with a small switch that connected to the door to let the computer know that it was shut. So we fixed that by bending it a bit and that solved the problem. We were running through the diagnostic program and at part of it no water came in so we were about to start taking things apart, but then we realized that it was because there was no water line attached to that inlet. Thank goodness we didn’t start taking everything apart because we could have seriously screwed things up. Anyway a lot of people were incredibly impressed, even the director stopped by to thank us. It was pretty great feeling to fix something that people were really dependant on. Today we had a similar experience fixing a sewing machine for some of the women. They were not able to get their machine to go zigzag, so we worked on it for a while and were able to get it to work. Again their incredible enthusiasm was astounding. Not to mention our feeling of successfrom starting with a machine that we had little to no idea how it worked to stepping through each of the functions and finding out where the problem was and how to fix it. It is somewhat of a slow process for us because of our limited knowledge, but so rewarding when we do finally succeed. Furthermore, I feel like we made leaps and bounds of progress with building relationships and getting people to trust us. I don’t feel like we will really have a whole lot of time doing nothing now because people have seen what we can do. There is still always that fear that we will not be able to repair the machine though.. and I hate promising them anything that I cannot deliver on.
Last night Amber and I were invited to dinner at one of the nurse’s house. We got to hang out with her daughter, who is our age, and teach her English while she helped us with our Spanish. I LOVED hanging out with her and chatting. She was really great to talk to because she understands the difficulty of learning a new language so she was really easy to understand. We talked about our prince charmings, or “Principe Azul” and she taught us a lot of the common phrases they use here in Olanchito. That was extremely helpful because those are the words that people use frequently here and we don’t understand.
I think we are finally starting to feel like we somewhat can fit here in this hospital, and now we have just over a week left here. It really flies by when you finally feel like you have adjusted to things. I wish it was easier to feel this comfortable earlier, however some of these things I think just take time to happen. I am just so glad that we have been able to build the relationships that we have, seen the incredible kindness of the people here, and been able to make a bit of a lasting impact.
Next week our professor is coming to town and will hopefully be able to help us with fixing an autoclave, so we are quite eager to see that happen because it is a brand new autoclave that they have had for quite a while but are unable to use because they don’t have the proper power input. I am quite hopeful that we will be able to do some good, so we shall see.
Also this weekend I am traveling to Chuluteca to visit an organization that works with prosthetic limbs as this is what I am doing my senior project on next year. I am pretty eager to take a visit to that organization and see how we will be able to be most helpful next year. Please pray for safe travels as I will be traveling by bus for almost 20 hours this weekend… so long…
Just one more week here, praying that I make the most of it and continue to do good work.
Just got back from the Copan Ruins. It was a crazy whirlwind trip, but well worth it! To begin with, Friday we went to a festival with Dilma, one of the women from the hospital. Her daughter was participating in the “most beautiful Indian” competition that was put on during the festival. One girl from each grade (and a few of the boys) each had handmade costumes made with all sorts of natural materials including beans, corn, seeds, wood, etc. They were absolutely gorgeous and it was pretty incredible to see the detail put into each of the costumes. It was also really fun to be there and see all the little Honduran kids just hanging out and having fun. It is amazing how kids of every culture are exactly the same. You see the same cliques and the same stereo-types. They also had a lot of typical Honduran food that I was really hoping to try, but sadly we had to leave before we got to try any of the food.
So we headed off to San Pedro Sula where we were expecting to meet up with the rest of the group. It was quite a long bus ride, about 6 hours, which put us into SPS at around 6pm, right around the time it was getting dark. Just as we were pulling into town I gave the others a call to double check our hotel reservation, only to find out that they were all already in Copan Ruinas and we did not have a hotel reservation in SPS. Needless to say I was somewhat concerned because I have only heard terrible things about the safety of San Pedro. So we hopped off the bus with little to know idea of where we were going to stay, and I was praying hard that all would be well. This is a good segway into talking about one of the huge blessings I have seen here; I am daily thrown into extremely challenging situations where I am forced to come to my knees before God and beseech his protection and provision. I truly see him constantly providing these. Even things as small as the fact that I usually don’t know whether there will be a bus at the time that we need to take it, but it has always been provided at the right time. Anyway, so we hopped off and made our reservations for the bus for the next day and got a recommendation for a hotel. The taxi driver that we ended up with was great, however he had no idea where the hotel we suggested was. But he was dropping another couple off at a different hotel, so we decided to just check there to see if they had room. Turned out to be a great hotel with a wonderfully cute couple working there. I felt very secure with the hotel and the taxi driver (which has not always been my experience) and it was such a relief to feel well taken care of. The only bummer is that somewhere in the midst of the shuffling around I lost my sandle and umbrella. Fortunately fairly small things but still so frustrating nonetheless.
The next morning we got to the station an hour early for our bus, however we were not certain where we needed to board. So we waited inside the station for an hour, and when we finally got on the bus it was just about to leave and was entirely full. We were a bit baffled as to why no one told us the bus was here sooner so we could actually have a seat, however such is life. So we ended up standing for the first few hours. However I saw some amazing acts of generosity toward myself and Amber and it was just incredible to see how caring people are. One man offered to hold my bag on his lap because I was fighting with it a lot (ok sounds kind of sketchy but he was a very amiable older man who didn’t look like he could hurt a fly). Then a few others offered their arm rest for Amber and me to sit on. Later two guys offered to move over so Amber could sit in a seat with them. Turns out they were part of a church band and were on their way to do a concert. It was cool talking to them for a bit, though I had to chuckle when they began discussing how they thought it was possible that 9/11 as God’s judgment on the states for not teaching the bible in schools anymore. It was a tough conversation to have with the language barrier, let alone the fact that I couldn’t really hear what they were saying. I have not had much opportunity to really delve into religious conversations with people here as I would like to. It appears to me that the last thing Honduras needs is more missionaries, they appear to be overflowing with those. I think they need now is people who are working hard (in the name of Christ) to rebuild this society.
It appears like this country has had periodic spurts of development, but everything that appears like it was at one point nice is neglected and run down. It feels like there is very little hope of things getting better soon. It’s so hard for me to figure out why these countries have such an impossible time developing.
Anyway, so we made it to the ruins and met up with the rest of the team to take a tour. They are incredible ancient Mayan ruins and it was just gorgeous and awe inspiring to be there. The rest of the team had taken a horseback riding trip prior to arriving at the ruins and were rather worn out, so I felt like I had the better end of the deal because I was fresh and very much enjoyed the ruins.Later we took the most sketchy/amazing ride in the back of a truck to some hot springs. We piled in like cattle and were all quite eager for the ride holding on to the sketchily affixed railings of this truck. It wasn’t until about 10 minutes into the ride that we would be standing there for an HOUR before we arrived at the springs… I was really quite convinced that either we were all going to die or the truck would just stall out and die. We had 16 people piled into this tiny truck. The bed had holes developing where we were standing, and every time the driver turned the corner and we were thrown against the railing the whole sides of the truck began to sway as if they would fall off. When we arrived at the springs the truck was smoking. The hot springs were… nice? About half of us decided we didn’t want to pay for the expensive springs so we stayed in the janky pools down below. But we still had plenty of fun. And just when we thought the ride there was bad, the way back was even more ridiculous! It was dark and had begun to rain. Then the fog came… We were all in the back soaking wet, muddy, and the ground was even wetter. Also the way back was considerably more uphill than the route there and halfway up every hill the truck sounded as though it was about to die. Somehow, still not sure how, we made it back alive and nearly all of us considered kissing the ground when we returned. It was the greatest roller coaster I have ever been on, the suspense and adrenaline lasted for an entire hour!
When we all returned we were starving, but pretty much everything was closed. There were some street vendors selling food, and I wasn’t convinced at how safe it was, but since it was the only thing available I decided to take a chance, and it was actually fairly tasty considering what it could have been. The stray dogs there, however, are a force to be reckoned with.I realize now how incredible it is to have animal services to pick up all the stray dogs. They really can take over!
Sunday morning we had breakfast at an amazing little café. We had nutella and banana crepes and fresh fruit. The city is actually quite incredibly beautiful. The roads are still cobble stone and the roofs are tile. It is a beautiful place surrounded with green hills. Though I was only there for less than 24 hours I enjoyed every minute of it! The ride back was fairly uneventful, but LONG 10 hours of bus travel in one day can certainly drain you. Fortunately I have a wonderfully active mind and can keep myself entertained with just thoughts for a few hours ;) All in all, a great weekend!