Hey all! Thank you to all of you that have been following our progress here in Honduras so far. The past five days have been a blur of bouncing around in the back seat of a truck like a kernel of popcorn while driving to and from our build site in Nueva Suyapa. I’m pretty sure there is a permanent imprint of the top of my head in the roof of their truck by now. As if that wasn’t enough to scramble my brain we have had endless meetings with the local engineers, the mayor, construction foreman, president of the construction committee, community members, and all manner of other important officials. Names, Spanish terminology, and the 500% humidity have successfully short-circuited my brain. The best part is, I can’t imagine having more fun!
We arrived here in Honduras after almost 24 hours of flying and layovers (mostly layovers) only to discover that our usual ride wasn’t coming to get us. A couple of the officials from the local Municipality came to pick us up and we were tossed into the glorious, albeit confusing world of translation. Despite my time spent in Argentina learning Spanish, I felt like I had a sign scrolling across my forehead that broadcast to the world my ignorance of language and culture in Honduras. We were whisked away to meet with the Mayor of the local Municipality who accompanied us to our “hotel”. By “hotel” I mean that we were put up in a 5-star cabin located on the grounds of El Parque Ecoturìstico El Ocote. The cabin has its own kitchen and mini living room as well as a front and side porch decorated with hammocks. Life is good.
As I mentioned above we have been very busy. It has been a blast to exercise my Spanish speaking inabilities again and I have even done some translating when Mary gets tired or just wants a good laugh… I love it though! There are many challenges that we have worked through but overall our work has gone according to plan, or better. Through the work of our EWB team at Luis Garcia, a strong relationship has been planted and we are already seeing the benefits.
Part of our plan this year was to translate the agreement into Spanish, both to make it easier on our translator during negotiations and to give the engineers and Municipality something that they could look over themselves. Of course we came up with this idea the night before we were presenting our plan to 100+ members of the 12 surrounding communities along with the Mayor and several officials. To achieve this, Mary and I set about the task of translating the document that Professor Roth had modified from years past. This task kept us up until about 3:30 in the morning. By that point we had each lost our minds and were distracted by the geckos that were chirping in our cabin. I decided to call one of them Gequito, which means “little gecko”. Later, upon having it proof-read by our host, we discovered that our minds had likely been abducted by aliens while writing the later portions of the document. I now know what professors think while reading term papers that students whip out the night before. Let me tell you, it’s not pretty!
We made some corrections and quickly printed off a couple of copies to give to the parties involved. That was on Sunday. To our great surprise, when we walked in to the Municipality on Tuesday to finalize the document, they opened the file we had created and proceeded to use it as the official contract! We were slightly embarrassed by some of the mistakes that we had overlooked in our early morning daze, but it was a great feeling to know that we had contributed to the project.
Most of the hard work is over now. We will be meeting with the Rotary Club here in San Pedro Sula tomorrow night after a quick trip the Mayan ruins in Copàn. You can look them up if you are curious, but I’m sure we will have plenty pictures after scouring the place in a paparazzi-like manner. More on that tomorrow. I am headed to bed! Buenas noches a todos!