Kathryn's Peace Corps Adventure

The opinions expressed and experiences described in this blog are mine personally. Any musings that you read here are not affiliated or endorsed by Peace Corps or U.S. government. Or Starbucks. And I'm not making any money from any of this, so don't send a lawsuit my way. Got it?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

scary stories

Thursday night I had dinner with my host family. It was nice and family like. After dinner some of the girls at the house wanted to put my hair in braids for fun, so as they did that I watched cartoons with my brothers and acted as an interpreter for Tom and Jerry. After the cartoons and a head full of tiny braids we all sat around and they asked me,"Have you heard about all the people who have been killed in San Ramón"?

It went downhill from there.

I listened to guys who were shot or killed by machete and how their spirts are still in San Ramón out for revenge. I was told a story about how the devil came walking through and his footprints are imprinted in the dirt here (not so sure about that one). Then Brayan busts out with, "Did you know that someone died in your house 10 years ago Cati?"

Why? Why do you tell me these things???

Apparently, a man was killed for having an affair with the patronato's (town representative) wife. It was a hit, or at least that's what could understand. The assasin just entered the house and shot him. That was it. Is it true? Who knows? One thing though is that is scared the hell out of me at 9 pm. I told my brothers that I was not walking home alone (even though it's only 3 "blocks" and safe). They walked me home and said, "We're too scared to go home now", pulled my guest bed into my room and slept at my house. As I was falling asleep, they kept making noises after a good amount of silence, which made me scream and had them laughing. They woke up the next morning at 515 am, normal for them and left to get ready for school at their own house.

I am such a fraidy cat.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

lost in translation

That wonderful Kristofer Bayona surprised me with a phone call yesterday. He is the first successful person to call and not get my voicemail. My brothers were over and here is how the conversation with Kris went:

Me: Kris?! I can't believe you called me.
Kris: How are you Kathryn?
Me: Good. How are you?
Brayan (in the background): Hello! Hello! Cat , Dog!
Kris: I'm good. I finally found a phone card that works. But I only have 5 minutes.
Brayan: Yes. Yes. I espeak English. (saying it in my face while I'm on the phone)
Me (to Brayan): Stop! I'm on the phone! (in English though)
Brayan and Kris: What?
Me (to Brayan): Dude I'm on the phone. Stop making me laugh. (In Spanish though)
Kris: Hello?
Me: (laughing) I'm sorry Kris. I'm just so confused.
William: Hello my name is William.
Luis: Son of a bitch! Hello! What?
Brayan: Chicken! Oh no!

And it continues on like that for the 5 minutes. I was so happy to talk to Kris except I didn't really get to talk to him because los locos (the boys) wanted to hear me speak English and kept shouting out words in English. Telling them to be quiet in Spanish, talking to Kris, and laughing was a disasterous combination. My mind was so busy trying to process all this information at once in both languages. It was funny though.

And Baby B-you're a sweetheart. I really appreciated the phone call.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

the mystery of faith

Good Friday is the big day in Honduras, with all bus service coming to a halt and most stores (even pulperias) closing. My neighbor Sandra, who is becoming a good friend, invited me to attend the procession with her. I agreed thinking that I'd be walking around San Ramón with people singing or praying, kind of like Our Lady of Lourdes did on Good Friday (just minus the van with the loudspeaker). How wrong I was! It first meant going to church, which I haven't done in a long time. I have been to church for weddings and baptisms but actual mass?
Here's the lowdown:
1. Luckily, I did not burst into flames the moment I walked in through the door, considering what a sinner I am.
2. In San Ramón, they stand up for all the readings, not just the gospel. Seven readings. I don't mind standing but when you know there's a seat, well, you want to sit but the microphone just kept getting passed back and forth and in my head all I thought was, "This will be the last reading. No? Ok, THIS one will be the last one, right?"
3. Church is church no matter where you are in the world. There will always be kids screaming at the top of their lungs.
4. Church is also a fashion show as most people wore their best clubbing outfits to mass. Denim mini skirts, high heel shoes, halter tops, tube tops. I was waiting for the lights to go out and for the reggatón to start blasting out the speakers.
5. Some things never change. English or Spanish, people mindlessly recite prayers outloud while looking around and not aware of what they're really saying. It reminded me of when I was in 7th grade and we would say the rosary after recess and then the teacher would call on someone asking for the "4th sorrowful mystery" and everyone would draw a blank.
6. I still have the same habits in church that I did when I was younger. I look around and count how many people had banana clips in their hair, I counted how many dogs entered the church, I watched other people have their independent conversations, I made a mental list of what else I was planning to do during the day.
7. The priest invited everyone to come up and kiss Jesus's feet and I was overcome with fear that I would have to go up there, just like in grade school. I hated doing it in grade school and not much has changed in 11 years. I looked at Sandra and she said, "I'm not going up. Are you?" Saved!

After mass, some of the town people took Jesus off the cross, folded his arms down and placed him in a clear coffin covered with fake flowers. We all left the church and began the march around San Ramón, which took about 90 minutes because we walked so slow. Every 10 minutes or so we would stop and the guys carrying the coffin would place it on a table of flowers to rest. A group of people would circle the table, not to look at Jesus, but to grab the flowers the moment the coffin was lifted again. Women were walking around with boquets of flowers that would make funeral homes envious. It was ridiculous. After the procession, Sandra and I walked back and she told me that there will be three soccer games on Sunday and I have to go. (San Ramón won on Wednesday, 2-1, both goals scored by "my future husband". I also managed to fall down a rocky hill in front of the whole crowd. Some things never change.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Since it's holy week, most of San Ramón has shut down. No classes, no health center, no cute teachers in town. I came to Santa Rosa Monday morning on my best jalón to date. My friend Juvini, a teacher at the colegio, saw me walking down the street and told me to not take the bus and ride in a jalón with him and his friends. Juvini and I were in the flatbed which had a mattress in the back! We got to lie down and watch the sun rise on the way to Santa Rosa. It was excellent.
In Santa Rosa, I haven't done much except bake cakes for my friends Connie and Blair, who are both celebrating birthdays this week. Some other people from our group passed through Santa Rosa on their way to Guatemala and it was nice to see them in the wild west. I was planning to travel with Connie, Blair, and our friend Desirae, who lives in La Ceiba, to El Salvador but there are no buses running to El Salvador on Thursday or Friday. So I will have to travel to San Salvador, with it's famous salsa nights, another time.
I am headed back to San Ramón today because I promised to attend San Ramón's last soccer game of the season. Luis has told me that there is a player on the San Ramón team who is perfect for me, who I should marry so I can stay in Honduras forever, though I highly doubt it. I attended a game on Sunday which was actually pretty exciting. San Ramón was down 2-0 and tied it up in the second half. When the second goal was scored, the drunks pulled out their guns and started firing into the air in celebration. Me, being the nervous gringa that I am, got really worried that they would misfire because they were drunk and careless. Obviously, nothing happened but it was one of those cases where I was thinking, "Does anyone else think this is strange besides me?" No, it was just me. The game ended in a tie and I left before a drunken fight broke out.
This means the rest of the week, I will be at home just chillin' and trying to sleep in, which means not waking up at 5:45 every morning. I know I shouldn't be so excited about having time off considering my first two months in San Ramón were nothing but a vacation!

Friday, April 07, 2006

la suerte de mi vida

Monday night the host brothers came by with their friend William, who is a student at the colegio and is aboslutely adorable. They were telling me stories about how the previous volunteer let them try guaro (Honduran for "one whiff of this and you will be drunk") and they asked, "So when are you going to drink with us Cati?" That's a question for another time, like 2 years from now....After, they raided my fridge and would say stuff like, "Never in my life have I eaten a pear/pancakes/peanut butter!" Now how could I deny them the wonderful world of peanut butter? But they said, "Because you gave us all this food, we will dance for you." I put on some punta and they tried to teach me how to dance but I don't know if I will ever be able to learn how to move my butt independly from the rest of my body. Then I put on a merengue CD and they performed this song "Nueva York" by Los Hermanos Rosario. One of the lines translates to "This is the luck of my life in New York..." and all I could think was how lucky I felt at that moment to have such great kids in my site.
This morning I attended a civic pride program at the grade school where I teach English. It was first taste of what it would be like to be a parent. Brayan danced in a danza, a traditional Honduran dance with brightly colored costumes and it was just so cute. I almost started crying because all I could think was, "He's so cute! I was there when he first started learning the danza and helped him practice!" I felt so proud of him, even though we are not related in anyway and I am the crazy gringa that lived with his family for 11 weeks. Like an idiot, I forgot to bring my camera so I have to rely on my memory for that moment. During the danza, I began to think, if I feel like crying now, who knows how bad it will be when I actually leave forever? Obviously there are things about San Ramón that make me crazy but when I think about Brayan's cute smile I get a little sad knowing that it's only for a short time.