A Weekly Journal Chronicling My Life
As It Intersects With The Garbage Dump Community Near La Ceiba, Honduras

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Daddy's Little Guerrillas

before they learn how to dress themselves they know how to use a gun

and by the time they're 8 they know how to assemble and operate bazookas

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

School Supplies

So here's a gripe I have with this country of Honduras. Goodness knows education doesn't come cheap, the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere and in the U.S. it comes out of the pockets of taxpayers. In Pennsylvania, how wealthy and deep a tax base a school district has determines the level of education it can offer. The system ain't perfect but it sure beats Hondie. Here each family is required to provide uniforms, textbooks, gym uniforms and a list of school supplies that boggles the mind (do 4th graders really need 6 notebooks, markers, pens, pencils, caligraphy books, crayons and colored pencils?). For a family with more than one student this can turn into an expense of hundreds of dollars. Not to mention that for high school if you want your child to learn anything other than how to buy and sell drugs and lessons in petty theft you need to enroll them in a private school which means tuition fees and even longer lists of school supplies and required textbooks. This then has the effect of making a real education, one that goes beyond 6th grade, virtually unattainable for a huge swath of people in this country. How can a family that struggles to survive from day to day be expected to round up the funds to send their children even to the local public high school? Compulsary Education here is nominally free and actually a pay-to-learn system that perpuates the cyclical and deep poverty that can be found just about anywhere in Honduras. It's frustrating, saddening and mind-numbingly stupid. And life goes on.
We've done our best to help families out with some of the costs but providing a few notebooks here and some pencils and crayons there only does so much.

down at market with bags full of notebooks for a slew of kids back at the dump

our scholarship high schoolers were given a list of required texts and supplies that I could not believe. for one student the supplies and books alone cost $150. i spent the night before the first day of school sorting out everything into 7 piles.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Santa's Little Helpers

So one of the kids that we're closest with, Sergio, turned 15 last Saturday and we decided to treat him and 3 of his closest friends with a trip to the mall and a meal in the Foodcourt. A real treat I know, walking around the mall and eating fast food - but that's what our little buddy opted for. Anyway, we (Sergio, Duke, Bairon, Cristian, Konrad, Becca and Myself) ate at the mall and then spent the afternoon hiding from the rain in my apartment. It started tranquilly enough but quickly devolved .

our birthday boy, checho

mall rats

duke grew so exhausted from walking the mall that he just threw himself on the floor and had to be drug to the exit.

chinese food in honduras with a bunch of gringos

going up

playing cards, it's kind of taboo here...what isn't really

this is where the trouble began, duke began to wrestle with konrad...

which led to biting?!?

which led to duke being clobbered and a freeforall between the whole lot of us...

and that broke my bed frame.
not to worry though, santa's little helpers flew into action. they searched the yard for scraps of wood and old bent nails.

they broke the wood into a piece small enough to create a brace, they pounded straight the old nails and then hammered the whole thing into place with rocks they found outside.
these are the advantages of befriending kids that have to make their own fun.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Rain

Yet another cold/rain front settled over Honduras last week which kind of put a damper on our activities in Los Laureles. We weren't able to hold our devocionals or game days, instead we sat on porches, drank coffee, chatted with people, tied up some loose ends that had been left untied for far too long and occasionally joined the kids as they played in the rain.

the garbage men/boys working in the rain

one of my next big projects is to build the recycling center a shelter so that sorters don't have to work out in the rain or glaring sun

and by sorters i mean children

having fun in 2 inches of water

konrad giving out free rides

and feeling the sorrier for it

apparently they chicken fight here in the streets, it's more fun without the protection of a swimming pool

dopey konrad kept complaining that he couldn't reach chita with his arms...i told him to kick but he declined...thus the children beat us.


water fight

a fight between 4 brothers

the oldest and youngest were on a team and the 2 middle ones were on the other

their niece was content to just stand in a puddle

getting a running start

she just doesn't get what all the fuss is about

they took a break once the rain started in earnest

dariana took cover

chita did not

hanging out under the eaves

staying dry on the porch

and belting out one of our favorite songs...again, guiselle the niece does not seem to understand

apparently neither does becca
blessings to you all this week. peace!
- mlk

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Soccer Practice

I've mentioned before that we recently formed a soccer team of about 35 kids that will begin playing in a local league here in La Ceiba starting in March. A very generous and beloved donor sent us a significant amount of money so that we could purchase uniforms, cleats, balls and sundry other necessities; without this aid we wouldn't have been able to get off the ground. I found a coach from the community who agreed to train the kids on a voluntary basis and we began practicing about 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately the field that we have in the dump, if you can call it a field, is pitifully small and thus not well-suited to training in upwards of 40 kids at a given time. The Mennonites here though have a massive field about 25 minutes away that often sits vacant so we decided to make the trip out there about once a week to give our kids a feel for playing on a full-size field. This past Sunday after church we made our first trip, we loaded 35 kids onto a public bus and made our way out to the Mennonite Retreat Center in Bufalo. The kids were giddy with excitement and in that this was the first time that they would be playing with their brand-new cleats they were practically beside themselves with anticipation.

having just arrived and already exhausted
trying on the new cleats
ripping into them
and getting caught in the act
they took a while to get themselves organized
and opted for shirts vs. skins
konrad played with the youth from the church while they waited their turn
nano waiting patiently for a chance to play

cristian with a shot on goal...unfortunatey for him practically nothing gets past this goalie

memo enjoying the wet grass

watching all the action from a safe distance
bairon trying to dance around jimy

apparently somebody saw something of importance

duke and yuco fighting for possession

we brought some of the girls along to be cheerleaders but the were content to simply indulge in vanity and take pictures of themselves

after our game we stayed to watch the mennonite youth play some of the locals

anwar inspecting his new cleats
we stayed longer than we should have and ended up having to hail an out-of-service bus and beg him to take us back home

chucu taking a break on our bag of cleats

ever the victim of o.c.d. here i am sorting and organizing the cleats

while the kids look on

but daddy's happy

Blessings to you all. peace!
- mlk