Our experience in Jesús de Otoro has been a bit different than that of our companions in Yorito. We spent the first week going with the FIPAH staff to various surrounding communities to do work – planting lettuce and corn, harvesting broccoli and cauliflower, and meeting with government officials to negotiate for a FIPAH bean contract. We had quite the time racing up and down mountains in the bed of the truck, hiking up even further on foot, and then trying not to fall down an almost vertical plot of land while chopping broccoli with a machete.
After our first week of adventure we settled down into our teaching schedule. Well, “schedule” as defined by our FIPAH coordinator Omar, who will occasionally, give a 20-minute warning before swinging by our hotel for the day’s mystery activities. While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, we do have a pretty unpredictable schedule. We plan our teaching schedule a few weeks at a time, and it is highly subject to change. We generally take day trips to nearby communities and overnight trips to the two “Campanarios” higher up in the mountains. There is no electricity or running water in the Campanarios, but almost every house has a car battery and a converter so they can charge their cell phones and power the fridge. Pretty cool, although it’s a long trip into town to get the battery recharged. What’s really cool is the house with a solar panel on the roof to recharge their battery system.
When we’re not teaching English in the surrounding communities or teaching computer classes in the FIPAH office, we might be out climbing the 1600 meter peak of San Juanillo, answering some questions on FIPAH’s Otoro Radio program, or attending a Honduran wedding. Of the above activities, we were surprisingly most helpful at the wedding. We woke up to a text from Omar saying that he was coming by a half hour early so we could help dress the groom, Lupe (the FIPAH employee who took us to harvest his broccoli and cauliflower). We raced up the mountain in the truck and jumped out at Lupe’s house. Omar supplied the tie, Zan tied it, and Andrea, Kristin and Avani surrounded Lupe and pinned his flower, straightened his coat and tie, and had him looking professional within minutes. We piled in the back of the truck with Lupe’s extended family (the bride and groom got to ride inside) and headed uphill to the church. When we arrived, Zan was notified that his iPhone qualified him as the official wedding photographer, and he was posted at the front next to the ring bearer and the priest. The wedding lasted a couple hours, and afterward everyone went back to Lupe’s place for delicious pork, rice, and tamales.
We’ve had a great time so far, and we’ve felt quite privileged to be included in the local events. The classes are going great, and we recently met with the president of the FIPAH youth committees about a project to do with our funds. Their needs were pretty simple – a table for their computers, a whiteboard to plan on, and a small, bio-diverse plot in each community for new crop strand experimentation. They seem just as excited about it as we are, and we’ll let you know how it goes.
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