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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Hog Islands

These past 10 days I've been accompanied by a quirky little Quaker boy from Pennsylvania who sometimes meets with the Mennonites. I probably shouldn't say little, he towers over me and is a Black Belt in Karate...I know a Quaker/Sometimes Mennonite with a Black Belt in Karate. I said he was quirky. Anyway, enough about him, there will be more about his exploits tomorrow. For now I wanted to show you some photos of the Hog Islands, though they don't do the place justice. My dear Karate Quaker friend wanted to see some islands in his time here but in that traveling to any one of the 3 main Bay Islands is at least a 2 day, $100 dollar affair I axed, no, I karate chopped the idea. As he was sobbing and begging me to reconsider, something hit me, an idea...they seem so few and far between these days. Turns out that there are these little cays about 2o kilometers of the coast that are absolutely stunning (or so the they tell me, I had as of yet to see them) and the round trip tour can be done in 8 hours and for about $35; I had always wanted to visit them but had just never had the time or reason to do so. Upon hearing this option my blubbering companion perked right up and then laid right down for a nap. We invited 2 of the kids from Laureles to come with us and the next day, bright and early, we found ourselves in a 15 foot long motor boat headed out to sea. An hour or so later we arrived on the main island, signed in with the park authorities and then spent the rest of the day snorkeling and eating fish on one of the inhabited islands. It was an absolutely perfect day, the best snorkeling I've ever done and for the price it couldn't be beat. We got back around 4pm and took a nap...who knew paddling around in Paradise could be so exhausting.

one of the tiny little cays on the outskirts of the collection with the mainland in the background
another of the tinier cays, probably about the size of a high school gymnasium

the mountains of the mainland

one of the 2 main islands

we brought carlos and oder with us for the day...don't worry they didn't have school, turns out the public school teachers here prefer to strike over the right to be compensated while on strike than to actually go to work. that's a topic for another day. yay quakers! yeah, so like i said, the photos really don't do this place justice, it really is absolutely perfect and pristine. i'd love to go back so if you're a quaker or a mennonite or a karate expert or a combination of the 3 and want to come visit me i'll be more than happy to accommodate you, so long as you pay my way to the islands. yay frugality!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tati's 13

Tati is an interesting character and in a lot of ways I see myself in him. He's shy in new situations but as soon as he knows someone or feels comfortable he'll make a spectacle of himself and try to be the center of attention. He's quiet and submissive at home, especially when his father's there but out and about by himself he's always causing mischief. He's not terribly athletic, though he does try, he lacks that very essence that I too lacked at his age, aggressivness. And he loathes school, refuses to study but does like socializing there...also me. So it turns out that little Matthew Levi turned 13 the other day and in true Matthew fashion chose the richest chocolate cake that La Ceiba had to offer for his birthday.

matthew, i mean tati

sisters and cousins

carmen his mother

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scenes From A Birthday in Los Laureles

guiselle the birthday girl taking the first whack

uncles carlos, edwin, samir and elvin stand on

not the most endearing pose

some neighbor kids observing from the dirt wall

quite the happy little girl

other kids taking their turn

father, grandmother, great aunt

uncle darwin

he's 2 years younger than guiselle

grandmother marta

guiselle's father

almost ready...

go for it

wishing he could be there

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pepe's Birthday

Josepe can be a headache sometimes but he's also warm and quick to forgive, 2 traits that can be hard to come by here in Los Laureles. He also has a voice like a mature Sicilian, something that just endears him to me; we call him the Godfather but he never understands and just gives us strange looks. Anyway, we celebrated as we always do with the cake and the singing and the prayer and his cousin Neto wrapped up our time by showing off his dance stylings.

el mero mero

boon with his piece

pimpona thoroughly enjoying his cake

and posing for the camera

neto showing off his moves
(he absolutely loved my father by the by, he kept burying himself into his body and wrapping my dad's arms around him)

calm yourself


Friday, August 20, 2010

Lost Your Keyes Behind a Massive Padlocked Door?

Call the Nimble Little Children of Los Laureles to Get Them Out!

pato, bairon & tolo doing their best

they'll use any means necessary short of ripping down the door until you're reunited with them...and jamie moon will supervise

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Panoply of Colours in Bottle Caps

and my good friend soplo is responsible for about half of them.
unique wonders in the garbage dump.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Swim Team in Paradise

This past week I was accompanied by part of a Swim Team from Williamsport Area High School (both my former High School & Swim Team actually). While they spent most of their time simply playing with and building relationships with the kids of the Garbage Dump they did take a few days and build me some sturdy tables and benches for the tutoring program I run there. I was blessed to have them there, it was a neat way to reenter the country and the community and I know the kids have been impacted...they're already asking when the swimmers will be coming back.
The following sequence of photos is the table building process but in the next few days I'll be posting some of the group's other exploits in and around La Ceiba.

we measured and cut the wood, bill (my father) cut the wood, at marta's house because that was the best place to get electricity. she also acted as night watchman going so far as to chase would-be thieves off with a machete.

the ever-smiling dariana

haley and dariana waiting for the wood to be cut

claire talking to someone inside marta's house

shaun and jakin trying to find relief from the heat

we then hauled the finished products up the hill to the building where they'll be used for the tutoring

taking a rest
team work
showing off
yet another break
sanding the tables and benches


and then painting

juan carlos, one of the sweetest kids i've ever known

the boys enjoyed helping out our girls

the finished product

tired and hot but satisfied