Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Feliz Navidad de Guatemala

Well, we arrived safely, Beto and I, with our Guatemalan friends who also study at Baxter.
After 2 days, or 12 hours total, in a bus, we finally made it and are staying with Beto´s family. I love it here, so simple and his family is so loving and fun. His mom reminds me of the mom in the movie, ¨My Big Fat Greek Wedding¨because if she asks you if you´re hungry and you say, ¨Not really,¨, she says, ¨Good, come eat!¨
Last night I serioulsy woke up with a stomach ache we´d eaten so much yesterday. I´m just going to have to learn to be honest and slip some food to the dogs.
So we´re here 3 weeks just kicken it and i won´t be doing much blogging, so Merry Christmas and Feliz Año Nuevo to todos! I´ll have a lot of fotos to post in January.
May God fill you with His Spirit and peace this year and may we all be more in love with Him!

Much love to all,
Laura

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Feliz Cumpleanos!








All right, here are some fotos from Beto's birthday night out. We went to a really nice steak restaurant where we at like royalty. this queen even had leftover steak for 2 days, and she shared with the king! I could go on and on , but i won't bore you about food. But listen, it really wasnt that expensive, and we got salad! oh how i miss those! being from Cali, I was spoiled with the freshest of the fresh, knowudimsayin???
tambien, garlic bread! mami!
So afterwards, i surprised him by taking him to the marriott, where i heard there was live jazz with wine, cheese, and such on WEd. nights. But when we got there the door man said there was an art expo instead. I told him I called and the man on the phone told me Wed. night jazz, but Beto's an artist so he liked it better anyways. Then we had fun taking pictures in the lobby, drinking coffee, which we both LOVE! mmmmmmm....and by the beautiful Christmas tree. How pagan of us...it was a great night.
by the way, i didnt realize until a week later that we went to the hotel on TUESDAY night, so of course there wasn't the wed. night jazz concert. No wonder the man smiled at me funny. He thought i WAS "funny", but not funny "ha-ha".

Random update









All right, four are from a friend's wedding we went to December 2. The bride, groom, and their wedding party. Here it's more traditional to have girls from the church in the wedding than for the bride's friends. Beto and I with some awesome boys from the youth group that Amber works with mostly everyday. Beto comforting a sad boy, and us outside the church. Amazing view, not so great in the foto. It was a fun time, but of course it started late so as we waited, we got bored and took some pictures to share with the world.
The picture of my students was taken one day during a short break between classes. If you've seen the movie, "Legally Blonde", you'll recognize the "bend and snap." Too hilarious!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving at school




Here are some pix from our thanksgiving celebration. Xavier was our excellent narrator. We had some help from some 5th and 6th graders for the act. They did well even though they were really nervous. yes, that boy doesnt have no shirt! he's in my class and i thought it was the best costume for an indian. at least he DID wear pants! yikes!
And my small cute class, minus one, eating a typical Thanksgiving feast! They pulled through and brought all the things I asked them too! it was a lot of fun!

Panqueqes y Elecciones...ole!



Aren't those the most beautiful pancakes you've ever seen? And I made them!( Well, with a little help from Aunt Jamima herself). they look just like the one's on the box, just what i've always wanted. I had time to fix them finally on a day off for Thanksgiving.
The other picture is from my balcony of the street during elections. A lot of people were lined up on the left all day to vote. The red party, Mel, won. He's who I would've voted for if I could've, but I don't know why. Red is my favorite color, though.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Soccer and Thanksgiving



We went to a real FUTBOL game in Tegucigalpa the day after Thanksgiving. The red lights are the flares held by the crazy people who had their own section. there were'nt any other crazy people in any other section.
Thanksgiving was wonderful this year with all the trimmings made by Jeanne on the far left. Her husband is president of Baxter and she made everything and invited americans living and visiting here, and a couple of girls who are married to students here (one on the far right).

Another bathroom


But this is from the hotel in San Salvador, El Salvador where we went for our little vacation. Read the blog below for more info. You can see the lock on the OUTSIDE of the door, and the shower pipe going up the wall, with the nice invisible separator between it and the toilet. nice.

The Bucket Brigade


A typical scene once one enters the bathroom. Pick a bucket, any bucket, to wash yourself!!! The possibilities of ugly buckets are nearly endless, unfortunately. but fortunately, at least one can be found now adays!

Feliz Cumpleanos


This is karen, the girl who used to be "Cinderella" of the house. She's so sweet. i don't think she'd ever had a pinata, maybe not a party even like this, with pizza and cake. it was real fun. We did have a "Hello Kitty" pinata and beat the crap out of it. That made for a real great afternooon.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Living it up!

Upstairs, that is. As I have mentioned other happenings in the house before, I decided to write again, at the encouragement of others. I have been a little skeptical about whether i should or not. I don´t want to make it sound worse than it is, but I ain´t gunna sugar coat nothin neither!
I did promise some pictures in a recent blog but the feature wasn´t working and as I can´t do it now, pictures will have to wait, but i do have some good ones saved up!
I´ve been living with a pastor and his family since late August. It was pretty good at first, and I still am thankful that there is water, although it´s sporadic, that I have a bed, though a little uncomfy for my bad back, a room, though i have no lock or door, and therefore no real privacy, electricity, food, and cable, which means shows, although out of date and with subtitles, in english!
Recently, however, i´ve taken more than i can bare. There were 4 women family members staying awhile, one of whom is 27 and mentally retarded. She was also treated like Cinderella by the rest of the clan, literally, screaming and all. The five year old ruled the TV, nearly all day long, and I couldn´t exactly sit down with her. She wasn´t a huge fan of Friends or Gilmore Girls.
The mother, eh, ¨wicked stepmother¨, rather, was hardly ever home and left her five year old and fifteen year old girls in the charge of the mentally slow woman. No names will be mentioned to protect the innocent. When she was home, she yelled at others to do things for her from her room where she moped. Clothes of mine, jewelry, and food was taken by one of them. They have sinced moved out...across the street, but we don´t see much of them anymore.
Now I have more mice, cockroaches, and gnats to keep me company, all of which are just about as welcome as the former family. My food still gets taken but they, the pastor and his family, have my permission since they are letting me live there free, although i´d rather not them drink my only 2 pepsi´s left in the fridge, or ALL my macaroni that i had planned on eating when i got home.
As I said, sometimes there is water, but usually not. I have to get it out of the huge sink outside but it´s dirty after sitting there for over a week. I´ve begun to heat up my water though lately which has been nice since it´s been cold here lately, like in the low 70´s. But colder at night and early morning when it´s bath time.
I am hoping to move out in January, where I can sit in my living room without getting 20 bites on my leg in 15 minutes. I only have three weeks left where i am at, then i go to guatemala for 3 weeks. When i get back i hope to move. I am praying for a place just big enough for me with a kitchen I can cook and clean my dishes in. I´d rather not leave my dirty dishes with food int he kitchen to invite all the critter´s that want to join me. No gracias!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You don't see this everyday

Yesterday as I walked to school as usual, I saw something, or someone, quite unusual...a naked lady. and of course, once again i didn't have my camera! seriously, yes, I didn't know what to think. This had never happened to me before, which is weird being from southern california. i couldn't believe my eyes, was i dreaming? what do i do? help her? give her a sweater? she did have underwear on, but not even shoes. She didn't try to cover herself or walk fast or hide herself. I do hope that I don't ever see a naked man walking on the way to school!

San Salvador

The capital of El Salvador...Amber and I have to leave the country for our Visa's every three months, so we went together to just relax. We didn't know anything about it really or where we would stay, but knowing it's the capital we were sure we'd find something, and were willing to put out about $40 per night for hotel. We didnt' know what there was to see and didn't really want to wear ourselves out sightseeing, so we planned on staying in and reading or what not.
It started with a great, comfy bus trip complete with pancakes and juice, and Pepsi! On the way back it wasn't as satisfying as they served us a quesadilla and Twinkie for breakfast. The breakfast of Champions, eh mom and dad? The seats were way more comfortable than on an airplane, although the service wasn't quite as nice. One stewardess got a little upset with me for putting my water bottle in the overhead bin, which really isn't a bin since there's no door protecting things from falling out. Afterwards, I fell asleep only to be woken up by the two stewardesses talking about me putting my waterbottle up top. I went back to sleep and when i woke up again it was gon! oh the orror! someone stole my nalgene with an in n out sticker! but alas, it was on the back seat safe and sound.
When we arrived we asked a worker at the bus station for a hotel that wasn't ugly(literally the word in spanish) but isn't too expensive. He told us about a place around the corner that cost $15 dollars a night. We walked away thinking, ok probably not going to be as nice as we want, but let's see. Well, we ended up staying and only paid $8 a night!!!!! So much money left over for foood!!! We even had cable, from the states! ya hoo! we spent almost half our vacation watching TV!
We dropped our stuff off and then went the mall, yes, a mall, which is 3 times bigger than the mall in Teguc. It was huge! We walked around so much just looking for a map of the place, of which there was only one! Que feo! How ugly! We just browsed and then took "home" pizza hut for dinner while we watched our cable.
The next day we slept in and spent the whole day at the mall again, eating, trying on beautiful dresses that we couldn't afford, went to a movie, ate, etc.
Here's a picture of our bathroom. Everything all together without a barrier between them. and the funny thing that you can't see is that the lock is on the OUTSIDE of the door! huh?
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lo siento

so, there were parent teacher conferences last saturday where we gave the parents the report cards. another ¨rule¨from the minister of educ., to meet on saturdays´. not! since the director says so much the minister requires us to do, i aksed for a copy of hte rules so we could know what we need to do. i´ve yet to be shown them or see any posted anywhere in school like i suggested. hmm...
so some parents came who i didnt expect to come, and now wish they hadnt, but what happened was mostly my fault.
every friday we send home weekly report cards with grades. wel, up until the last 2 weeks, i thought they were only to report behavior and i didnt put much thought into them. so this one kid in 4th grade had mostly excellents every week. bbut his final grades, which were mostly avaraged from tests, were horrible. the parents were shocked, understandably, and i felt horrible. i kept telling them over and over the truth, and they kept asking the same questions over and over, then complained to the director, which i didn´t know about till yesterday. but she didnt seem to upset and my honest explanation was acceptable. so now i have to keep better in contact with these parents everyweek and include everything, not just behavior.
tomorrow we´ll be having a pizza and movie party for good behavior. i love my fourth graders!
please pray for them, some of them are really slow academically, but for the most part, sweetharts!

Como?!

Let me get this straight...you want us to...LIE...to the parents?
This was my question to our director at our meeting last friday. The high schoolers are failng most of their classes and so that the government won´t shut the school down, she wanted us to tell the parents a different grade and then change their grades so that they wouldn´t fail, or at least maybe they could fail with a 59 instead of a 18. no lie, there were grades that low. the kids are lazy, don´t study or do homework. teachers work hard, but i don´t think they should work harder than the students. at least it should be equal.
I said, ¨no i can´t do that. i´m not going to lie.¨i was in shock. What? come again?! i´m much more vocal and confident in our meetings now after my meeting with the director ...see previous blog...
another teacher spoke up and agreed that was wrong...duh, doesn´t take a Christian!...but maybe we could do a curve so that they kids with the highest grades could pass.
ÖRrrrrr...said the director, we could keep the real grades on the report card for the school to see and send other higher grades to the minister of education so that the school won´t shut down.
um, sorry, not doing that either. how about we tell the truth, because the kids earned these grades by doing nothing, and we can´t let them get away with it. call me an idealist but maybe that´s what the school needs, to start afresh with the kind of kids we want in here.
in the end i agreed to give the kids another opportunity by giving them extra work, and if they did it all they could raise their grades.we´ll see how many turn it in!

What a relief

Well, i don´t know how much i´ve expressed about my director over the blog but something happened last week that i want to share. in case i´ve not shared much, in brief, it´s a very stressful environment and many of the teachers i talk to are unhappy. last thursday a note came to my classroom via secretaria, another interruption i try to avoid by having a sign on my door that read ¨do not enter¨in spanish and english, because so many people were entering during lessons for stupid reasons that could wait. but alas, i guess somehow people got hired without being literate and continue to ignore the sign. So anywho, the secretary brings a note that says there will be an emergency meeting from 2.30 to 3.00 about grades, because report cards were about to come out. i am so tired of the director calling things at the last minute and i didnt want to sign it, which is why the secretary came in, so before signing i wrote a note showing my annoyance at this once again event. about 10 min. later another note came saying the meeting would be cancelled till the next day since some teachers had prior arrangements. i didnt really have prior arrangements and i didnt say i did in my note, but apparently other teachers complained too.
now, we usually meet afterschool thursdays to plan, discusss the week, etc. but i knew this ¨20minute¨meeting would set us back at least another 30 minutes, and i had no planning to do and didnt want to stay.
so the director comes to my room after school very buffed and it began what ended up being a 90 minute ¨talk¨about all the things i don´t like about her and working there. but i was able to say it calmly in a discussion format, to speak honest answers to her questions, and she took them in stride. she also said a lot of things i don´t need to go into boring details about, things i´m not sure i believe because she´s done so much stuff in the past that has led me to distrust and disbelieve almost anything she says, especially promises to do things by a certain time.
after ward, i felt so much better and was glad i´d stayed to talk, although part of me wondered if she kept me out of spite since in didnt want to stay for the 20 minute meeting. not much has changed and i still don´t particularly like her, but it´s a much more enjoyable and peaceful environment, at least for now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Working?

What´s that?
Well, here I am at school during a break. Usually I teach 7th right now but they have final exams today and are gone, they only have half day, but primary has regular day. I have time to write, finally! I had 80 minutes free this morning but of course the internet at the school wasn´t working. I´m surprised it is now.
So, cold weather we´re having. Yup, it´s probably only in the 60´s, but it feels cooooold! The days are so super beautiful, though. The crisp air and breeze makes the air clear, the sky crystal blue, and the big puffy white clouds are so pretty. THis is how I remember Latin America from my first trip.
I´ve been having knee pain lately in my right knee so I´ve been walking only once a day to school and taking the school bus home in the afternoon. I think the pain is really from that time i freaked out when I saw a huge bumblebee coming at me and jumped and hit it on the cement sink outside.
This morning I left late but some friends saw me and gave me a ride. As soon as i got out of the car about five minutes from school, where they had to drop me off, another friend came driving by and took me the rest of the way. It was a reminder that God is always watching out for us, even when we may not pray about our needs, and He provides even for the littlest things we need. I felt loved.
Today I also learned not to try to heat up 3 items in a microwave at one time. Two students tupperware boxes and my instant soup equaled a soup tumbling over in the micro and onto the desk which the micro sits on. AFter the kids left to eat i got to wipe up the mess and had tasteless soup since all the seasoning had spilled out. And since those 5 little dried pieces of vegetables spilled out too, my vegetable quotient for the day was also shot.
In conclusion, 2 prayer requests...
For a seventh grade student who has trouble making friends and feels no one here likes him. We´ve been able to have some good talks lately and I feel God has spoken through me to him.
Also for the student in 4th grade who I tutor on Saturdays, that I can be used to minister to him.
Praises that I have gotten to know some of the students better and that God works out everything for our good in His perfect timing. He never makes a mistake!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

link

if you notice to the right there´s a link for wanting to know more about Honduras. there if you click on the right side of that page, under Honduras-News, you´ll see an article come up about Gays not being popular in Honduras. At first this sort of struck me as humorous. Gays not popular, like we should be sad b-c they don´t run with the in´crowd down here. Or that it´s a big surprise in this highly masculine-macho man society. But as I read it, about how the churches put a stop to passing a law allowing gay marriages, i was struck by their effectiveness, especially in contrast to the church in the States.
Well, better go. I hear a lot of buttons being pushed.

Misc.

So today at school I had 3 periods of break. Usually I do lesson planning, but today I really wanted the internet so I could blog because I had some good things in mind, so of course the internet wasn´t working. yahoo!
I did think of blogging when I was pouring water down the toilet to flush it, a normal thing at school. Also normal is having to wipe all the water off the seat with toilet paper before you go because the previous person hasn´t perfected their water pouring-flushing skills. Que divertido! How fun!
Michelle and I took the school bus-minivan, home today because Guillermo´s truck is broken. By the time we took 4 people home, we could´ve walked home faster. We saw guillermo walking to the school too as the bus was leaving, but we couldn´t get the bus to stop. When we got home he came in 5 minutes later, but I was on my way out to do internet. He didnt´look happy. Michelle said she told him we´d take the bus, but I´m glad i wasn´t there for their conversation.
today in 4th grade I gave a pretest for spelling, and the words this week are homophones, like ¨too¨, ¨to¨, and ´two.¨ I realize the more I learn spanish just how crazy english is! One of my students, kept repeating in his cute accent, ¨Meess, eets too mawch. I cawn´t daw eet.¨And with that he proceeded to lay his head on his desk. pobrecito.
It´s been cold lately. I don´t ever remember being cold in Honduras because I´ve never spent more than one week here during the Fall or Winter. Last night I slept in 2 pairs of thick socks and a think sweater, with two blankets over me, and i still managed to get bit by a mosquito! On my hand of course. Guess i need to buy some gloves, which I´ve never seen sold here.
And in conclusion, I didn´t get to buy donuts on Sunday, but sure thought about it! I woke up by the noise in the house and the sunlight through my window, but don´t have a clock in my room and was too tired to get up to see what time it was. The night before I´d gone out to eat with friends and got in around 11, so I was tired. I was suposed to go to meet Beto at a church where the Baxter choir was singing. I could´ve taken the church bus from Baxter at 8, but didn´t get up till 8.30. I thought, oh well, I´ll just take a taxi, but I don´t know what I was thinking because taxi´s don´t know the city as well as they should!
The first taxi driver said, Oh yes, I know where that church is! Get in.
Well, I knew he was lying, but I got in thinking we could find it eventually. Well, after 30 minutes of driving around and us both getting very frustrated, I paid my fare and got out at the mall, hoping for a better taxista. There were 3 men with radios who radiod somewhere in space to another taxista. How many Honduran men does it take to decide where a Church of Christ is? They decided they´d finally figured it out. so into another taxi i go. I had never been to this church before and had horrible directions. After another 45minutes, frustrated and near tears, I had him leave me at home. by this time chruch had already been going on for at least 30 minutes. and my fare was climbing. When the taxi dropped me off, he says ¨100 limps¨. instead of the 40 he quoted me when we started. I said, ¨no, you said 40.¨ ¨But, we had to drive around and around for more time!¨ at this point i should´ve said, ÿes, but you and all your homies said you knew where the church was! you´re the driver!¨ Finally, i said, ök i can understand 80 limps but not 100. and he accepted. limps is short for limpira, the currency, and about 20 limps makes one dollar. I took a two hour nap, then Beto came by a little upset for not showing up at church, but we worked it out and had a nice afternoon together. Is it like that in everywhere, that you have to know how to tell the taxi where to go? i thought they were like omniscient and knew everything about the city. i´ve learned my lesson.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Apartamentos

no, not mentos the fresh makers, but apartments.
Went looking today with my friend Michelle who is the daughter in the house where I live. She also attends the school where I teach, 8th grade.
She went with b-c i was supposed to meet a man i talked to on the phone about the apts. We were meeting at a gas station and i didnt know what kind of person he was and didnt feel comfy going alone. So I talked to Michelles´dad about it this morning and he said to ask her if she could go. Oh, ok, so if this guy is a raving lunatic, I and your daughter will be killed. Great! But it was fine. WE took the 2minute bus ride(luckily it´s close) to the gasolinera and the guy was a bonified professional. The apt. was cute but too small for the price and too far from the school.
We looked at another which i loooove and has a great view. I need to think about it because it´s not real close to the school and is kind of expensive, for here. The house I´m in now is ok, as in freee, but i don´t have my own private space and sometimes people enter my room when i´m not there, which i find out later.
Today I was talking to Karen, another family member in the house, and just shooting the breeze, asked her how old she is. She showed me her ID and low and behold her bday is today! So Michelle and I bought a pinata and cake while we were out, and we´re all going to have a partay tonight. I´m excited! Also Michelle and I, while we were out, treated ourselves to 50cent smoothies that came in huge glasses like you get a margarita in. NOt that I would know from personal experience, of course, just by watching movies. yea. not that i watch those kind of movies. but you know, i´ve heard, from my pagan friends. yea.
have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

busses

busses in espanol is the same except you say the ¨u¨ as a long vowel instead of short.
the busses here are interesting and comical, yet an organized mess, if you will.
most of them don´t have signs telling where they are going, and if you arent´a local and don´t know where the busses stop, you just ask, or stick out your thumb as you´re walking and they´ll stop for you. That´s why taxis are more convenient, becasue they don´t stop for anyone and everyone at anyplace, but they are much more expensive. So once you find a bus, you ask where it´s going, and usually it is going where you want, but that means ¨eventually¨. Once on the bus it´s smart to sit up front with an old lady who´s already by the window. That way you can get off quick and don´t have a chance of some creepy guy sitting next to you. They pack as many people as possible, standing in the isle, sometimes there´s no room even for the Holy Spirit. You don´t pay as you get on but one usually sketchy looking guy walks down the isle collecting the money, even if he has to crawl over everyone. the music, well, usually blasin regatone, b-c it´s up to the driver. THe money collector also is the ¨yeller¨who yells where the bus will be going and he never sits down, but hangs on out one of the doorways, which never close. Last sunday we had to switch busses b-c a drunk man fell off a bus and our driver had to take him to the hospital.
Well, the lab is closing. more later.

busses

busses in espanol is the same except you say the ¨u¨ as a long vowel instead of short.
the busses here are interesting and comical, yet an organized mess, if you will.
most of them don´t have signs telling where they are going, and if you arent´a local and don´t know where the busses stop, you just ask, or stick out your thumb as you´re walking and they´ll stop for you. That´s why taxis are more convenient, becasue they don´t stop for anyone and everyone at anyplace, but they are much more expensive. So once you find a bus, you ask where it´s going, and usually it is going where you want, but that means ¨eventually¨. Once on the bus it´s smart to sit up front with an old lady who´s already by the window. That way you can get off quick and don´t have a chance of some creepy guy sitting next to you. They pack as many people as possible, standing in the isle, sometimes there´s no room even for the Holy Spirit. You don´t pay as you get on but one usually sketchy looking guy walks down the isle collecting the money, even if he has to crawl over everyone. the music, well, usually blasin regatone, b-c it´s up to the driver. THe money collector also is the ¨yeller¨who yells where the bus will be going and he never sits down, but hangs on out one of the doorways, which never close. Last sunday we had to switch busses b-c a drunk man fell off a bus and our driver had to take him to the hospital.
Well, the lab is closing. more later.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

random

has it really been a week since i blogged? so much happens here that i think about as i´m walking to or from school, but once i´m at the computer, i either don´t have time to write adequately, or the events of the day seem too boring to write about. so this here will be my thoughts flowing as they come but i´ll try to make it interesting.
WEll, happy birthday as well to my dad, Oct. 7th, brother in law Dave Groh Oct.12, and sister Mary...no she´s not a nun...Oct.17th. Laura Heida´s also coming up Oct.24th.
So I walk usually to and from school and it never fails that i get some kind of verbal appreciation or honked at, although honking is like breathing here so i never really know if they are honking at me. Today was a half day and Pet day at school, which meant no teaching, basically. Sorry again for forgetting my camera. We teachers had to stay for a lecture about how to lecture...no lie...and i don´t believe in lecturing, so i didn´t really pay attention, plus it was in spanish. i mean, if we´re bored hearing you lecture, what makes you think the students want to be lectured at. Besides, most of them don´t understand very well what I say in English. Anywho, so after that meeting we had a small party for all the teachers who have bdays in Sept.and Oct. After that I tidied up some things at school and by that point I was leaving at the same time as a normal day. As I was walking home thinking about what I would do with my free time since there´s no school tomorrow or Friday, I heard yet another honk, but this truck stopped. Just keeeeeep walking, I told myself. Well, it was the preacher of the family I live with. I asked him yesterday if he could take me to immigration today. I had forgotten but thank goodness he hadn´t. He was going to the school to pick me up. Luckily there´s only one main road to the school. I have to pay to renew my VISA each month so I was just going to pick up my passport.
I went to church again last Sunday with Beto and Gary. Gary preached and Beto led communion. There were some new faces and after church I met some precious little girls who I hope will keep coming so we can be friends. While Gary taught the teen class afterwards, Beto ministered to a woman for about an hour. She seemed to have some kind of problem with her knee. I talked to her daughter for awhile, but then they had to go. After church a new lady showed up desperate because she had been kicked out of her home by her brother in law. We prayed with her and talked to her for awhile. Hopefully she will start coming to the church. This coming Sunday Beto is singing with Baxter choir at another church.
With all the hurricanes lately, it´s ironic that we havn´t had much rain in the city and that the school hasn´t had running water for over 10 days.
My students in 4th grade love to pray. They beg to pray before school, snack, lunch and before going home. They almost fight over it. Can you imagine, a fist fight over praying?? What have I begun?! It is great though and I enjoy my students. This week was simple for high school since we just reviewed for the first quarter final exams which begin next week. Please pray for them.
I have also begun tutoring one 4th grade student on Saturdays for 2 hours. He is a good kid, actually lived in the States most his life, but is one of my worst readers, yes in English. Why am I not surprised? But it´s a good chance to minister to him. Please pray for him and his mom as well.
Thank you to everyone who keeps me in your thoughts and prayers. I keep you in mine too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ode to Seth

Before I begin, let me just say that this picture was all from the digital´s that Seth´s family could find of him in a hurry for me. It´s not the best I know. We are on one of the best U.S. beaches in Florida.
It was 20 years ago today, in 1985, on a brisk Fall day. Well, it probably wasn´t all that brisk, really, being in So Cal, but imagine with me. The beautiful Fall leaves were falling, their orange, red, and brown tones painting the streets and sidewalks.
I was only in 1st grade, a fragile 6 years of age when my first nephew was born. I remember vividly being in the hospital with my parents, and my sisters the day he was born. I got to hold Seth Jeffrey Groh and life was never the same. He was, and is, more like a little brother to me than a nephew.
We grew up together in the same house until he was 5. We got to play together and I loved holding him when he was a baby. I try to hug and hold him now but he just won´t have it (as can be seen in the photo). I guess we smothered him with too much affection when he was younger. My sister Mary and I loved to grab him after his bath and run around the house with him in his towel screaming, ¨Papoose! My little papoose!¨. We all loved it. I´m not sure my parents loved it, but we had a lot of fun. He loved anything about dinosaurs, especially calling unpleasant people he met ¨Dinosaur Breath.¨
When he was just a toddler he was sick for a long time with a rare disease called Kawasaki. He was completely healed of it but for awhile our family was hanging on pins and needles to see how he was going to come through. God certainly relieved us and I certainly learned not to take Seth, or anyone, for granted, though I don´t perfectly do that as often as I should.
Although I think I traumatized him by being a mean older ¨sister¨and aunt, he has turned into a fine young man. And although he nearly traumatized me by perfectly lining his toy cars bumper to bumper around the edge of our old long coffee table and screaming, ¨NO! Don´t move one car!¨, we have a good relationship today, for which I thank God, even though he lives in Florida now...Seth, not God, and I guess it doesn´t really matter much now that I´m in Honduras.
Now Seth loves sports...rather, eats, breathes, and sleeps them, and dreams of going pro someday. I am right behind you in that, Seth. He can eat everything in the house if you let him.
Anywho, I digress. I just want to dedicate this blog to my handsome, Godly, gentle, hilarious, caring nephew whom I absolutely love and adore. I have prayed for you much, Seth, over your life and have seen God answer many prayers. Keep working hard and continue to be the great example of an older brother that I know you are. I love you and miss you much!
Portate bien!

Monday, October 10, 2005

McDonalds

This will be quick, but I just wanted to share my excitement over McDonalds. Now those who know me well must be thinking ;¨What? Excited about what? noooo¨but yes, I was craving it! I don´t ever eat it in the states unless someone pays me, which has never happened. But I told amber to call me next time she went by there so i could go. Well, next time she called i wasnt hungry, but the next day of course I was craving it. So I called her and she graciously took me. Did I ever tell you you´re my hero?
So we thoroughly stuffed ourselves. RAther, I guess I should speak for myslef.
There´s also free internet access there! Ah, the perks of eating fast food. Now I have even more reason to return! mmm...mmm...

Asignacion

Each student in Baxter gets an assignment every 6 months to work at a different church, preaching, evangelizing, leading songs, etc. to get the experience of what it´s like to work in a church. Some churches are 4 hours away, and others are a 10 minute walk from Baxter. They work every Sat. and Sun.
Beto´s asignacion this time is in a little barrio called Nueva Australia about a 25 minute car ride away but in the public busses about an hour. Yesterday I went with him for the first time. It´s a small but nice, typical building, simple one room with uncomfy wood pews, with the children´s rooms outside in an adjoining building. Everyone is real friendly, arrives fairly early and sits quietly, waiting for the service to begin. No coffee or donuts, but next week the women are going to sell tamales after church. mmm...
Beto preached from Luke about the story of the disciples in the boat trying without luck to catch fish when Jesus tells them to put their nets on the other side of the boat. He talked about needing to give up the hindrences in our lives that keep us from obeying God and just ¨Let down our nets and trust in Him, and the blessings will flow.¨I am so proud of him! After I told him he did great, and he said, ¨Oh you´re just saying that because you´re my girlfriend.¨Actually i wasn´t but I did give him a couple things he could do next time.
After church there was a class for the youth taught by Beto´s partner from Baxter, and afterwards we got to eat a yummy typical homemade meal in one of the church member´s homes. The only typical food missing was fried bananas, which i certainly didnt cry about.
Please pray for Beto and his partner in crime, Gary, and the church. It is fairly new and I can see it growing big, fast. Pray for the whole neighborhood to become believers. Thanks for reading.

Siguatepeque

This weekend I went with Amber and the youth from her church to Siguatepeque, another city about 2 hours away from Teguc. Of course, time is all relative here. It took us 3 hours to arrive there because we, well, the leader of the caravan who should remain nameless, not Amber, decided to take a ¨short cut¨ through a muddy construction site, which included a slight incline that caused her tires to cut grooves and slide around. I just looked down and prayed hard. We finally made it. Once at our destination, we stopped at one of the group members relatives house where we made fish soup. Amber and I were hoping they had forgotten the fish, or that we suddenly had a brain laps and thought that we heard wrong and it was really going to be chicken soup instead. We seriously considered visiting the new Wendy´s in town, but of couse cooking it in a house was a step above stopping mid-journey to cook it on the side of the road over an open fire, which had been said. So the youth played soccer in the road and the boys climbed in the trees to throw objects down it at the girls.
After we ate we drove about 20 minutes more to a natural cave which was really cool. I think I´ve only been in a cave once in my life. There were lots of bats, and water trickling down the rocks, which of course makes the smooth waxy look and fun formations. The tour guide was an interesting story teller. Thanks to Amber´s translating skills, I learned that he told a story about a man who robbed amillion dollars from a bank in the U.S. and hid it in the cave, which of course has never been found. Also that some U.S. hikers in the 50´s tried to find the end of the cave but never did. One got lost and was never found. Ok, so now I know why there are so many bats!Dont´they like to suck blood?
After that we let the kids play soccer in the park and then headed home. It was a good day! Sorry I forgot my camera again.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I love this picture feature Amber told me about!












The first pic of Jovenes was a worship service during the youth rally, Encuentro. We played and ate lunch with the resident boys. The next two are of another combined church service of area Churches of Christ last Sunday in a park about 45 minutes up from the city. Very cool.
stay classy

Wild and Crazy Kids













The first is of my 7th graders, the second of 8th, and third of 9th on crazy hair day. They're all crazy everyday! Gotta love em!

Friday, September 30, 2005












The first is of my 4th grade students at the Children's Day fair, and the second of us at school on "Crazy Hair Day". The third is of our school director getting her hair done for crazy hair day. Each student who had their hair painted paid 5o cents and the 6th graders raised money for microscopes for the school.

Pictures
















The first pic is of the winning team of drama, from Guatemala! And the third is of them performing their drama. The middle is of me and my friends from Jovenes.

Varias Cosas...Various Things

Well, I've been wanting to find a place of my own lately. I just started looking at apts. and houses to rent. Today I saw a real pretty one I really like for only $200 per month, but it's not furnished and I own nothing. But it had a cute kitchen and a hot water shower. It just might become home, although it's far from school and I like to walk. We'll see. Anywho, after checking out the house, we were on our way home when we stalled on a hill because we had no gas in the truck. Lucky for us we were able to buy gas nearby and didn't have to stand in the rain too long. It has been raining a lot everyday lately, for the last couple of weeks. This morning it was cloudy with some sun, which is a new thing.
Today in the school we had a big typical Honduran Folklorica Fiesta complete with tons of yummy, yet greasy, Honduran food and drinks, dancing, music, and costumes. The kids looked great and i'm sorry i forgot my camera!
Recently I did take some pictures of when we went to Jovenes en Camino, a Church of Christ home for young street boys. They go to school nearby but live on about 2 or 3 acres of land in modern homes, modern kitchen, a lot of room to play, and horses, cows, and dogs. During Encuentro we went with all the youth and had our church service there Sunday morning. I also am posting pictures from Encuentro, which is equivalent to a youth rally for kids from all over Latin America.
Much love from our Lord Jesus!

How to keep clean in Honduras, and other important happenings

Bueno...
As I have had such fun times just trying to take a shower lately, I thought I would share with you just for heck of it, and so in case you are in Honduras soon, you will be well prepared. First, I take my great big towel {thanks for the advice, mom}, my loofah, shampoo, soap, and go outside to the enclosed shower area...you can't really call it a shower, per say. Then I lay my towel on the washer, which is certainly a luxury, and my other things on the shelf and put my dirty clothes in the cardboard box next to the washer. I am all set, and turn the handle. Ah! No water today. What a surprise! So I put my towel around me and take the big bucket out the door to the large sink holding day old water that was filled up when there happened to be running water. I thank myself for working out so I am able to life the bucket filled with water, and carry it into the shower area. Now I am ready. No, wait. Where's the little bowl I use to dip into the bucket to pour the water on me? UGH! OK, get my towel again. Walk outside. No bowl in the sink. NO bowl on the table{which is used to hold all the "clean" dishes}. Ok, so I will use a small pot this time, to save time. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Ok, now i'm ready. Finally I "shower", pouring bowls of cold water. I'm done. Another successful cleaning brigade. Gracias a Dios.

Monday, September 26, 2005

"Courting"

Hola familia y amigos
This is my boyfriend, Beto, or to be proper, Jose Humberto Perez Monterroso.
We met last July when I studied Spanish at Baxter and he is a second year student studying to be a missionary. We kept in touch through emails and phone calls all year while I was in the States. In December I visited his family in Guatemala and now we are praying about what God wants for us in the future.
Please pray for us and him in his studies. He has two years left and we are seeking God about where to minister after he graduates. We would like to minister in South America.
Thank you for your support, love, and prayers!
Laura

Thursday, September 22, 2005

DR. PEPPER!!!

or i guess in spanish...el doctor de pimiento. Not the same clear ring.
Bueno.
How is everyone? I am excited to write today! I am usually excited to write but struggle for what to say. Well, not today! Today I bought a Dr. Pepper, in a can! And I can´t wait to drink it! I also got to touch a can of Mt.Dew and Root Beer, which I hadn´t done in over 2 months. Shoot, I don´t even drink them that much in the States, but just the fact that they were there made me excited! This was in a gas station with one of those mini marts, but this wasn´t just ANY gas station! oh no, especially for Honduras, this is IT! I know where I´ll be spending MY Friday nights now! My friend Amber came across this little jewel yesterday as she was driving through the city. She has lived here over a year and I stayed with her a bit when I first arrived. She used to live with the family I now stay with and is a missionary here. Today she picked me up from school and we went to immigration to pick up our passports, then drove over to the hot spot! I wanted to ask Äre we there yet?¨about five times, but did my best to wait patiently. When we arrived, I couldn´t contain my excitement any longer! I was like a little kid in a candy store, or rather, an adult in a minimart with Dr. Pepper! By the way, I didn´t buy Mt.Dew or Root Beer. I wanted to leave something to look forward to in the future. Of course, now that I think about it, if that´s all I have to look forward to...
Amber and I have been spending more time together lately, really enjoying going to the movies, eating together, making treat bags for children´s day, etc. and of course, buying dr. pepper´s. Last night we saw ¨Dark Water´s¨. I know it came out in the States awhile ago, but if you havn´t seen it, DON´T! It´s not worth it! Amber is an awesome girl so check out her blog. I still havn´t figured out how to make links.

amberinhonduras.blogspot.com

and while we´re on that subject, a couple other blogs to check out arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

greg england, preacher extrodinaire... stoogeman.blogspot.com

scotty vanAtta, the funniest engaged man i know... thatsawesome.blogspot.com

allan heida, famous half-latino, half-german, teaching english in china! how much more multicultural can you get than that?! allaninchina2.blogspot.com or allaninchina.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Encuentro

well, on my two days off from school i wasnt idle. there was a youth rally in baxter for youth from all over honduras, costa rica, guatemala, y nicaragua. it lasted from thursday night until sunday night and reminds me of lecturship, but on a much smaller scale, and for teens. the singing was great, of course, and a good chance to practice my spanish and learn spanish praise songs. there was also some friends that came from guatemala that i met last year when i was here. one is an american missionary and we got to stay on campus in the presidents apt., whom we are good friends with him and his wife, since they are vacationing in the states right now.
as for school news, please pray for Javier. i think i blogged about him recently. but didnt mention his name. he was in 9th grade and caused a lot of problems, so many that he got expelled. i wish the administration had given him more of a chance. i had planned on ministering to him but didnt get the time i thought i would have. that was a lesson to me to minister each day and not wait for the ¨perfect time¨. anytime we minister to another is the perfect time with God.
also, today, there was sudden heavy rain and my classroom flooded. i was able to mop and sweep it out onto the balcony, from whence it came, after the storm died away. that was something i had never done before,let me tell you! but i thought of the victims in new orleans and knew that my plight was nothing.
Things are going well. More pictures to come soon via email.

Friday, September 16, 2005

yes, i work

but there are so many holidays here! well, i miss the quietness of the city and seeing many many people walking around. the strike is definately over, sad in a way, but i was happy to go back to work, for about 2 days. This past Monday night i woke up at 3 and lets just say i got to be real good friends with the bathroom, particularly the round porcelyn structure. i slept some more however from about 4-6 and tried to get ready for school, but felt too sick. Long story short, Guillermo took me to their family holistic dr. who gave me meds, a cold drink like alkaseltzer, and a shot. i slept there an hour or so and felt better, but when i went home that night i was feeling worse. Nauseous, and total body pain, especially in the head. Think i had a fever. All the symptoms pointed to Dengue, a disease caused by mosquitos. But after a second shot and finally be able to eat something besides steamed veggies, which are very good and which i miss, by the way, i am doing a lot better. Still weak and tired at times, but much better, gracias a Dios!
So there was Independence day yesterday and day of the teacher today, so i only taught 2 days this week.
But never fear, i plan on working 5 days next week.
Thanks for your prayers. MORE LATER.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

No hay taxi´s o busses, pero hay lotion!

So I have heard some, but not nearly as much as I´m sure you´re hearing in the States, about the tragedy in New Orleans. And as is with life, we here in Honduras have our own event going on, but I am in no way even trying to compare it with what´s going on in N.O, only to inform you of what life´s been like here the last few days.

Gas prices went up throughout the country on Monday, surprise surprise. Immediately, busses and taxi drivers refused to drive. They stopped in the middle of the road, blocking even civilians from passing, or at least making it near impossible to pass. Busses full of people were emptied and those occupying them had to walk to their destination, some for two or more hours. As a result, school´s were cancelled, including private ones, like where I teach, because most teachers and some children arrive at school in busses or taxi´s. If they don´t they couldn´t get through on the main streets, or if they tried, they risked the danger of having rocks thrown at them. I saw on the news one man in his own car trying to get through but protesters put big rocks in front of his tires and a big booth on wheels in his way, so he was completely stuck.

Yesterday I enjoyed my day off by watching ¨Newsies¨in English with an american friend and relaxing, but I miss my students and do wish I could teach, although I can´t be one to complain about NOT HAVING to work today and tomorrow too.

Today the gas prices went down and busses and taxi´s are moving again. I heard from one person that there will be classes tomorrow and from another that there won´t, so today I´ll need to do some research on that.

In the meantime, I´m still using bug spray as my main perfume, but i found that right after shaving my legs is not a good time to put it on! oweeeeeeeeeeeee!

For the past 2 weeks, mas o menos, I discovered that humidity ruins a loofah´s ability to produce suds from soap. Interesting, I thought. Usually I can use less soap on my loofah but lately I had to use more because it wasn´t sudsing up. After 2 weeks of puzzlement, I finally actually looked at the soap bottle only to discover that it is body oil, like lotion! No wonder there weren´t any suds, and no wonder I had to use more bug spray than usual to keep the bugs away! Not really, but I decided that if Greg can share a whole blog about shaving his EAR HAIR, gross, then I can write a short paragraph about only bathing with lotion!

All else is well here, liking my job and schedule. Tomorrow if there is school we are going on a field trip to a fair in the morning and no classes are scheduled after 11:30. It´s ¨Children´s Day¨, which is a bigger deal here than Christmas. But really, isn´t everyday Children´s Day? Why do they need their own day of special celebrations??

Stay classy!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Viernes y Pepsi

mmmmmm...Fridays. gotta love ém. Today, I was feeling a little under the weather. I am glad it happened Friday when I mostly just give tests and reviews, not much work for me, and my fourth graders are good and trustworthy, so I can give them a page of review work, leave the room, and not worry about them. I know they´re not perfect, but at least I know I can leave them for about 3 minutes. Well, around mid'day, I was feeling worse, but craving a Pepsi. I held off awhile because I thought it might make my stomachache worse. I finally gave in and I felt 100%better! Amazing. Pepsi is huge here, the most popular by far, and now, my personal hero.

This weekend I plan on relaxing. All my plans and tests are ready for next week. Monday we´ll start full force, but until then I will try not to think about school.

One of the teachers told me today about the hurricane in New Orleans and Mississippi. I had no idea! I don´t watch tv at home but when it´s on it´s never the news. A teenager and a 5 year old control it. I will try to get some info from the web, newspaper,or tv today. i will keep all those affected in my prayers.

I am praying with my class everyday in the morning and trying to remember to do it also before recess and lunch to get them in the habit and to plant some seeds. Pray for all my students please. I do not know where they and their families ¨are at¨ spiritually, but prayer never hurts. Also, for one student in particular, i have been praying for him. He has a poor attitude and is a source of frustration to most of the teachers. He hasn´t given me many problems, but i am praying for a change of heart in him this year. I don´t know the eco level of the students but in general they are at least middle class or higher if they can pay for this school, uniforms, supplies, entrance fees, etc.

As for Teguc., it´s a lot like Los Angeles, which may be why I like it and feel pretty comfy here. It is rainy season right now, which they call winter because of it, and their only other season is summer, in march and april when it´s really dry. it hasn´t been too rainy this week but very hot and humid. our 4th grade room is upstairs and very stuffy, unless we open the balcony door, but then we get street noise, or the classroom door, but then we get hallway noise. but we have a fan, although it blows students papers to the floor a lot. you can´t winem all.

well, i´ve rambled enough for today. in conclusion, i´ll end with two more ways you know you´re in Honduras...
you use more hand sanitizer than soap
you always carry a portable roll of toilet paper with you.

hope i didnt mention those already. i´ll be sooo embarassed!
more for later
que le vaya bien...hope everything goes well!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dia de la Bandera

aw, flag day. that sure doens´t bring up any memories, but here in Honduras, Flag day is a day much to be celebrated. My kids in 4th grade made paper flags and a banner in their social studies class in spanish. They also have spanish, art, and music in spanish, but the rest are in english, except for german of course. these kids are so impressive.
Teaching high school as well is challenging. I like the students, but the extra planning and grading is tiring. I like the students ok but am not as excited about teaching them as 4th grade.
Recently for fun I´ve been able to watch cable since the family I´m living with has it. I have watched Elf and The Mask in spanish, among others.Even thought I´m not fluent, Will Ferrel and Jim Carrey are still hilarious in any language.
In the morning I don´t need an alarm which usually makes for a much more pleasant awakening, unless it´s at 3am by the confused rooster who crows every hour throughout the day. Only once i tried taking the public bus to school but later than i should´ve. i asked where it was going and they said they´d go past my school. Well, 3 minutes later, i was about a quarter of a mile out of the way from my route. i jumped off the bus while it was slowing down, causing me to dramatically, and comically i might add, trip over my feet and keep running trying not to fall down. i walked quickly back the other way about 10 minutes, with busses passing me, but not on the way to the school. out of no where, however, one of my students stops and he, his brother, and dad give me a ride! i was right on time, thank you God!
I´m also blessed to have a nice computer and printer in the house where i stay so i can plan lessons and type tests there.
Saturdays are usually spent running errands, grocery shopping, etc. Sundays I try really hard to do absolutely nothing. Usually I meet my goal and enjoy going to church. I can walk to the nearest Church of Christ in about 7 minutes. It´s a nice size, and they have air conditioning, as of 3 weeks ago.
last night the electricity went out in the city, because of ¨bad lines¨, Guillermo said. Guillermo is the dad-husband in the house. and by the way, to answer Dino´s question, NO, he´s not ¨THE¨GUILLERMO from City of Children, although I wonder what ever happened to him. Anywho, so all the lights go out and a roar goes up from the entire neighborhood. There was fear that more robberies would happen and the question of what and how we would cook for dinner. I suggested Dominoe´s becasue they deliver, but much to my dismay, 5 minutes later the lights were back on. I had to finish my lessons plans, then, and no Dominoes. oh well, a girl can dream.
hasta el proximo, cuidense ...
con Carino

Friday, August 26, 2005

otra vez

so folks i thought of some more things to say and haveto answer some questions.
the sink and bano are outside because that´s latin america. it´s very rare to have running water inside unless you´re filthy rich, which exists here. i´ve been to that hood and i thought i was in malibu, no lie. the bano is nice in my house. a huge sink with lots of water that sometimes works, like at the school too. sometimes i turn it on and no water comes out but i forget to turn the knobs off and two hours later water starts shooting out of the faucet in the middle of class. yes we have a bano in our class but it´s my storage closet.
the bathroom is enclosed but outside. it´s not too bad, but not enclosed so water gets all over the floor and toilet seat. i don´t understand that concept. it´s not that hard to rig up a curtain or build the border of the shower higher. oh well.
also, today was open house at the school and that was interesting since i had to talk in spanish. that´s the reason i came to honduras last year, to learn spanish to talk to my student´s parents in spanish in Watts. Now i´m really usin´it.
I really like my fourth grade students. I wish i could juust teach them all day but I also teach history-geography to the 7th'9th graders. the only class i´m not too keen on is 9th b-c there are some hotshot boys in there that make the experience unpleasant. where´s mean mr. heida when you need him??
Hope to write again mas pronto.
Dios les bendiga a todos!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

You might be in Honduras if...

For lack of another title, I have another list of characteristics, but it exceeds 10, so it can't be another top 10.
First, I am enjoying my job and my students a lot. I have 6 4th graders now and are really enjoyable. Most of them can do the work. I have two really bright ones, and one student who moved here from the States, and he is the furthest behind academically. Go figure.
The school is preschool - 9th. I also teach history/geography in high school.
I walk most days 30 minutes one way. It's good exercise and it gives me a lot to write about.
My living situation is really going well. It's a two story house in a pretty safe 'hood, for Teguc.
I have my own room, although it's open to the "path" the other residents take to get to the bathroom, residents just meaning family members, which are 6 others. I have a comfy bed and nightstand for most my things, and a closet, although I still have yet to buy hangers. I also need to ask where the iron is.
The 'hood is loud in the day but during the week people are pretty good about being quiet. In fact, it's pretty quiet by about 9pm, but i can hear the hustle and bustle outside around 6am. My bed is by a window so when the sun starts to shine in, I wake up. It's a good schedule. I get enough sleep and exercise.
School starts at 7:50 and ends at 2:30. It's different in that the teachers don't get there too much earlier than the students and they leave at 2:30. Today one gave me a weird look when I told him I was going to stay till about 3 to do some work. The school is on a hill with a fab view of the city. It's usually about 85 degrees and humid, but with breezes and rain in the evenings.
The classes are in english mostly except for some cultural classes, math, and German. These students may be trilingual by the time they graduate! Most of the curriculum is U.S.
Alright, enough about that.

You might be in Honduras if...

You ride sidesaddle in a skirt on the back of a motorcylce
You put your 5 year old daughter on the front of your motorcylce, without a helmet.
5 year olds drink black coffee.
You drink coffee for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
You bathe with a bucket of water and wear flipflops so you don't get "mushrooms" on your feet.
You put your handsaw in your backpack while you ride your bike to work.
You see men, all kinds, business men in suits, peeing anywhere, everywhere, anytime.
90% of the men you see on the street forget to zip their fly. I guess when you're peeing in a hurry...
Your principal wears the same shirt 4 days in a row.
You eat chocolate cookies and coffee for breakfast and sincerely consider that healthy.
You get honked at by taxi's wanting to give you a lift who are driving the opposite direction that you're walking. Hello?

Well, there are others but the computer lab's about to close and I forgot my list of characteristics.
I love you all my supporters and think about you all so much.
Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A day in the life

Yes, it's true, in case you've not yet heard. I have a job teaching 6 4th graders at a very small private school here in Tegucigalpa. I'm not sure if it is a "Christian" school, but I believe that the principal is. She is a native of Poland, so the school offers German as well as Spanish, but all the classes and subjects are taught in English.
Today I went at 8am, but once again, we didn't start our teacher meeting until about 9, and the director is Polish! But she has lived here for I don't know how long. Long enough to think be on Latino time. Our meeting was all in spanish which i understood but my speaking ability is lagging behind. It ended at 11, so I walked to "The Money Pit" house to get my things, but there's a lock on the front gate now that I don't have a key for. I think the landlady put it there since both my roomate and I havn't been staying there for two weeks. But maybe I could if she'd fix the electricity. Anywho, so I hopped the gate. Later I walked around the neighborhood for 10 minutes looking for the guard who said he could get me a key for the lock so I could get my suitcase out of the gate. Of course he wansn't around. So I walked three blocks to get a taxi and got a nice driver who helped me lug my giant suitcase over the fence.
The people I live with now live about a two minute walk from Baxter but they are not really affiliated with Baxter in any way. They are the same family that my roomate lived with last year. They pastor two churches in two different cities near the city. I don't know how long I'll liv with them or what I'll do when I decide to move, but all in good/God's time. I'm just happy to have a nice place and a job!
God is good. Thanks for all your prayers, love, support, and thoughts! It is so encouraging just to know people are thinking about me.
Love
Laura

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Top ten signs you´re in Latin America

1. You see billboards advertising machetes
2.There are vultures everywhere, especially eating dead animals on the side of the road. no chance for road kill cafes here!
3. If you don´t fit at least 10 people in the back of your pickup, you´re a weeny
4. There´s an obsession with honking, anywhere for any reason.
5. You wear the same 3 outfits over and over for 9 days...and you LIKE it!
6. You get used to bathing with cold water and holding your breath while you shower.
7. There are yellow diamond shaped road signs with sillhouettes of iguanas on them.
8. You see a woman walking along the highway wrapped in her bath towel, then notice the river near by.
9. Woman breastfeed, without a covering, in restaurants, church, busses, stores, etc.
10. Everyone seems to be driving drunk, but they´re only swerving around huge potholes. Wee!

Well, folks. What else does one do when they don´t have much else to do?? Go to Nicaragua, of course! Yup, that´s right, I went with a pastor´s family and got an intense taste of Latino culture. He said we´d leave at 8am, obviously that means 4pm here. We get there at 12 midnight but I couldn´t sleep because the adults were talking and their conversation started implanting itself in my dreams. I dreamt one was preaching, ¨Hayyyyyyyy misericordiaaaaa!!¨ meaning ¨There is lovingkindness¨, but like a Black preacher, except he looked like George Lopez. Yes, I do dream in spanish at times. It´s coming along steadily. I spent 4 days in Nicaragua without any english and didn´t get frustrated at all with that, but i did get frustrated with the timing of the latino culture.
We were going to return to Teguc. on Monday or Tuesday, which in my mind meant Wed. or Thur...just trying to think like them.. Well, the first morning they said we´d leavethat day, Thursday because we couldn´t go to the mountains like we thought becasue of the rain and mud it´s too dangerous, and where we were staying, with the pastor´s sister, was too uncomfortable. So we explored the city but left late and got back very late, and the pastor´s wife got sick. So Friday she rested and were were going to leave that night, but we explored the city of Managua and surroundings some more. Guillermo, the pastor, said we´d go to some hot springs that night. Well, night came around and he said we would be leaving at 3 am when it´s cooler. A few hours later he said, no, it´s too dark then, so we´ll be leaving in the morning, saturday morn. ugh! i tried to go to sleep after that i was so frustrated but the neighbors were having a drinking-regatone party, so i went and slept in the truck. that was much better. later, guillermo had to move the truck so i had to go inside the one room house with a dirt floor and sleep next to the drinking party. I don´t know how any of us got to sleep, but let me tell you, i was sure happy to get in that truck to go home! HOME! Tegucigalpa, I love you! Never thought i´d think THAT!
There were 5 people living in this small, hot, humid one room shack. We found a frog in our room. I don´t want to know what else was in there that i didn´t see.
Finally, we got backto Teguc. What should be a 6 hour trip took about 12, because we did stop at the hotsprings after all. Then we stopped to eat with some friends, then drove around looking for anther friend to visit with. Then we shopped at a market and i said 5 minutos! And i found what i wantedin 5 minutes, but alas, i am a foreighner and very rare, so of course our 5 minuto shopping trip turned into a 30 minute one. But I´m finally home and enjoying the cool 85 degree weather.
Blessings to all!

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Money Pit

Being alone in a house in the capital of One day without work or electricity and this is what happens. First, of course I can see a cockroach crawling on my wall by my bed in the dark. I don´t need to see anything but that. The next morning I truly appreciated the sun more than ever. As I wandered upstairs looking for candles, flashlights, anything to give light, i felt like I was in the ¨Money Pit¨house from the movie. There are tons of termites so everystep I was afraid I would fall through the floor. I won´t use the toilet upstairs because I am afraid ´the toilet and I will go down together. I did handsomly find some chocolate to console me in my boring day, which as you´ll see turned out to be not so boring after all. After searching around upstairs, I looked in the kitchen. I found two flashlights without working batteries. I slowly opened each cabinet carefully, to hear first for critters running around, then would open it more, but not reach my hand inside or move things around too much. When I tried openning a drawer under the sink, the whole cabinet moved and I thought, öh no, this is a big critter, coming out to get me!¨ But alas, the ¨drawer¨is one of those pointless fancy drawers which are baffling to me. Why waste handles? I didn´t even try the bottom cabinets as they were so snuggly tied together with plastic grocery sacks.
After finding candles, I was able to see a little bit at night. My candles were very nicely held in place in between bars of soap in a soapdish. It was the best I could find.
Things are going well. I´ve been working with another group from Arkansas this week at a church, building walls onto their addition and doing a lot of digging, moving rocks and dirt. Mostly I feel it´s just to look busy but Thanks for all your encouragement. I must go but will write again soon.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Beauty and the Beans

hey friends! Sorry it´s been about two weeks since my last post. I´ve been here 3 weeks already, hard to believe! I finally have some time and a fast computer with which to update. The past two weeks I´ve been staying mostly at Baxter with the U.S. youth groups. It´s more convenient to stay with them since I work on their schedule. I interviewed at an English speaking school but still am waiting to hear from them. I know God has something for me down here. I have had other opportunities knock so if I don´t get into the school to work, I have other great options, one being in a school but not teaching, which sounds right up my alley.
I have been able to speak a lot of spanish, translating-hard to believe, i know-for individuals, not for a sermon or anything elaborate like that.
this country is so beatiful! everywhere we go it´s so green, there are many mountains, cattle, horses-although i saw one on the road today being eaten by vultures, not a pretty site.
Mostly i have been working in a suburb,if you will, of Tegucigalpa. Many of the groups have built houses in the surrounding area. One group set up a clinic, helped add onto the church building, and built tables and desks for the church classrooms and for the houses that we build for church members. I made great Honduran friends there which I have missed the past 2 days, but I am hoping to visit again soon. They are very welcoming and funny. The past two days we´ve driven about 2 hours to a more remote area to do VBS and a clinic. People come out of nowhere! The houses are hidden in the mountains by trees but we saw over 100 kids and over 115 people at the clinic today. To get there we´re on a paved road halfway, then on a great dirt road, then it steadily gets worse, and we´re on a school bus. Yesterday the bad part was so muddy and slick the driver said no, he wouldn´t drive on it, but my roomate, who´s been here a year, said, yes you can! she´s done it before and when it was worse. But the gringos freaked out, me included, so we left 6 men from the group to walk in and start on a house while the rest returned to Baxter. But just to back up onto the great gravel road took at least 45 minutes.
Everyday´s an adventure, which is fun, but takes some getting used to for an American who likes to know her plans at least a week in advance! But every morning, I have no idea what´s going to happen that day.
My daily diet consists of either beans, eggs, and tortillas, or cornflakes, or pancakes or french toast for breakfast with cafe y o.j. For lunch the group provides p.b. and j., oreos, and chips. I´m missin the health here people! For dinner, more beans, rice, some kind of dead animal, hopefully not killed by vultures, and some kind of veggie sauted in butter..mmmmm...
Needless to say, i am looking forward to geting my own place and routine so i can buy lots of fruits and veggies! this country is definately not adkin friendly! Not that I´m on that diet, I´m just sayin...
It has been encouraging to watch the groups serve and love on people here with such amazing enthusiasm and energy. My housemate has been wonderful and I am so grateful to God for providing her and her house for me to stay so far. I am, however, missing mi independencia, mi carro, y mi familia y mis amigos, claro que si!
Thanks for those who´ve written. Keep the prayers coming and I will try to update again soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Aqui estoy

I'm here, in Honduras, finally! I've had a great half a week here so far, although it seems i've been here longer, but because i'm enjoying it so much! I have a great place to stay with super fun and friendly American girls, my own room, a comfy bed and in a safe 'hood.
This past Wednesday I arrived and Thursday through Saturday I worked with a U.S. youth group building an addition onto a church. It reminds me a lot of building houses in Mexico when I was in the youth group. The sun is fuerte and the work is intense, but the groups I'm working with are great and I am having a lot of fun. Last night we went to dinner at El Patio, a nice, somewhat expensive restaurant with american sized portions and mariachi's. Ole!
Today I went to church with some American and Latino friends and then we went to lunch at Popeye's chicken. That was only my second time eating there. The first was 3 years ago when I was in Honduras with Culver.
I've been talking to a few Americans about securing a job here in Tegucigalpa and I see God opening some doors already. Please continue to be in prayer for me about that, that I would be where He wants and doing something I enjoy.
I love it here. The people are so fun and friendly and this country is so beautiful. The heat and humidity havn't bothered me too much, except when I lugged jugs of water up a steep hill about 3/4 of a mile, but there was a great view fromthe top! I love the crystal clear blue skies with big puffy white clouds and the afternoon thunder storms.
I will be updating next Sunday hopefully con fotos!
Con mucho carino,
Laura
Romanos 15:13

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


"The Last Supper" with best friend Laura tambien.  Posted by Picasa

Our pastries are 2 for 1!


Our pastries are 2 for 1! Thanks to all who came out to wish me farewell!
So friends, I'll fly fast tomorrow morning, so in just a few hours I'm off to el aeropuerto(I hope you learn some spanish from this Blog!) I'm very excited, yet nervous. It all still seems so surreal. I'll be enjoying my "Last Supper" at In 'n Out tonight, of course. I'm a local,what can I say? I sure will miss 'da "LBC",or "StrongBEACH",as a good friend says, and LA (except the 405 at rushhour, or any hour for that matter!) I am so blessed with many strong supporters and am prayerfully looking forward to what God has in mind for the future. I will miss everyone so very much, but look forward to "blogging" at you about what God is doing! Thanks for your prayers!
Stay classy! Posted by Picasa

Honduranites...UNITE!


Chillaxin with friends in LA a few days before leaving(Allan,Art and Johnathan not pictured)
Thanks to my faithful friends with whom I enjoyed a fabulous and fun lunch remembering good times from our first trip to Honduras together (and maybe our last). Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 18, 2005


This will be me if you don't come to "It's a Grind" to say good-bye! Posted by Hello

Fiesta! Ole!

Hey there!
Only 17 more days 'till departure! I have been short of breath lately just thinking about all the things I have to do. I have started "packing" already (a bunch of stuff thrown into a big suitcase) but don't have much time as I am working everyday until I leave!
This blog is mainly to invite you all to come say good-bye in a creative way: At "It's A Grind" coffee shop in Cypress, on corner of Lincoln and Valley View Ave, across from Cypress College. I will be working, but come stop bye, grab a cup of Joe(or whatever, we have a variety of goodies!) and distract me from having to do my chores! yea! no, seriously we are slow Saturday nights. Oh, so yea, it's Saturday July 2, 6pm-10pm. Stop by anytime. I REALLY hope to see you there!

Con mucho Carino,
SPEAKS (Laura)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bienvenidos!

Welcome to the first entry of the Honduras update page for Laura Speaks. I'm writing to you all the way from sunny SoCal. That's right, I've not left yet, not for another month, but there are some updates to report and will be more in the coming weeks up to my departure. Thanks for checking in already!
I have a one-way ticket to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, for Wednesday, July 6th, at 2am from LAX. If you're sitting around the house with nothing to do, or with insomnia, I highly recommend coming to see me off. As of now, June 13, I don't know what exactly what I'll be doing there, but I have a place to stay and am excited about going and finding a job when I arrive. I don't know how long I'll be there, whether for just this summer or a year. I'd like to stay at least a year to become fluent in Spanish.
I sincerely ask for your prayers for the work that God has planned for me and for a smooth transition as I prepare to leave. There are a lot of "loose ends" (where did that come from anyways?) to "tie up" before I can leave.
Thanks for your support and love!

In His Grip,
Laura

Saturday, June 11, 2005