Cameron and I are working on our Spanish. We stopped today to photograph a culvert that is in the process of failing. (Curt and Chris stayed in the car because for some reason they are tired of me going on and on about every drainage system I see. Cameron still has to appear interested at least until he passes my class in drainage this quarter!) We managed to talk to the landowner who stopped by and confirm that the problem was caused by water running over the road even though he didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Spanish. It’s amazing what you can communicate with “Hola” (hello), “aqua” (water) and a LOT of pointing and hand gestures.

We’re all feeling a little more encouraged today. Yesterday, the municipality mobilized their project team and today when we got to the site about 9:15, they had made real progress. We talked about some tweaks to the design and got to an agreement on how it’s going to be finished up. The biggest problem has been getting materials. We think we’ve worked out a way to get the pipe they need so if that goes smoothly, we should be in good shape.

It was really interesting to talk to the engineers and officials. Some of them speak a little English, with others it was gestures only. Poor Chris was trying to translate three conversations at once. A couple times, we got to the point we thought we understood each other, then went to find Chris to be sure that we really were talking about the same thing.

We were getting pretty quick results today. At one point, we agreed, “the ditch needs to go here.” 5 minutes later, I turned around and there was a man with a pick axe putting the ditch there. It looks like they maybe able to complete the project in time to fit with our schedule after all.

After our inspection at Luis Garcia, we visited the site at Nuevo Suyapa where we’re hoping to do our next project. We clarified what they are hoping we will do and what we need from them. If all goes well with Luis Garcia, a group will be coming back in March to work out the final community agreement.

Then, Chris and Curt headed to the bank after dropping Cameron and I at the hotel. They get the joy of standing in line at the bank while I get to blog. (Works for me!) Cameron and I visited the store down the street from our hotel since we didn’t have time for lunch today. They have some amazing bread and cheese. And for the first time ever in Honduras – I found Mountain Dew!!! It was SO exciting. But their jalapeno bread was even better than Mountain Dew. They also had some chileno pastries. We could not communicate well enough to find out what was in them. They showed us some chileno cookies which looked like carmel but these were with the savories. So Cameron got some anyway and it turned out to be olive, onion and spices in the filling. They were really good but we weren’t sure what they had in common with the cookies. Our theory at this point is that they both came from the country of Chile?

Curt has the cord to upload pictures so we’ll have to upload pictures later.
I’m sure you all are eagerly awaiting all my pictures of sewers and storm drains, but Curt will probably insist on using some of his pictures that have people in them!

I’m still pretty tired since yesterday was such a long day, but I wanted to give you a quick update on what’s happening. We seem to be making good progress so we’re happy about that. And we’re having interesting adventures and eating great food which makes it even better.

One last food story – yesterday our guide told us that when the Spanish met the Mayans, they gave them a hot drink made from cacao beans and chili peppers. When they gave it to the Spaniards, they said “chocolate, chocolate”. As we all know, the Spaniards took the deliciousness that was chocolate back to Europe and improved everyone’s quality of life. What we didn’t know was what “chocolate” means. Apparently, we’ve all been enjoying “be careful, it’s hot” for the last 400 years. (I don’t know if that story is true, but I want it to be!)

Thanks for all your prayers and support. Tomorrow we meet with Rotary club, finish up our revised agreement with the municipality and meet with the school on their maintenance plan. We’ll keep you posted as we can.

– Melodie