I arrived in Tegucigalpa at about 5:30 central time on Fri. eve, Jun 2. Other than a rough landing, traveling went smoothly. It was a beautiful flight with mountain after mountain covered in green trees. The mountains are so steep here that you can't stand on them with out falling off, unless you hold on to a tree.
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It took me about an hour to get my luggage and to get thru Customs. This was my first encounter with the Spanish-only culture. I was greeted by a man from International Aid holding a sign with my name on it. He spoke only Spanish so it was difficult for us to communicate. He took me to a nice hotel in the center of the city.
The streets of Tegucigalpa are crazy! There are not many road signs or lights and what signs and lights there are, no one obeys. I asked the driver why it was so crazy and he said nobody obeys the laws and the government is very corrupt. The streets are extremely steep and some are made of blacktop but most are made out of stone. The police walk the streets with shotguns and automatic weapons, which made me feel really safe.
Sun. a.m. I had a meeting with Rony Meza from International Aid. He told me they need my help at the health clinic at La Unión and that the water project will have to wait. I was a little disappointed but I told him I would help out wherever I was needed most.
I arrived at La Unión on Sunday afternoon, Jun. 4. La Unión is only 120 miles away from Tegucigalpa but it took us about 5 ½ hours by truck to get there. The roads were very steep with lots of curves through the mountains. I took some pictures of the beautiful scenery.
You should be able to see them in this journal. Once I got to La Unión we drove to a church in the center of town.
This is where I will be staying for the next couple of months. I live in a dorm-like room and have a bunk bed with a really thin mattress, a sink and a shower. Right now I'm sharing the room with a dentist and a doctor.
They are both very nice but neither one speaks English.
Mon. thru Fri., I worked in the clinic here at La Unión. The clinic is being financed by International Aid and is in the red.
They are not trying to make a profit but need to break even if possible. The clinic is not as bad as one would think.
They have lots of equipment, though it's all outdated. Most of their medicines are samples that have been given to the clinic at no charge.
My job at the clinic is to be the administrator. I will be teaching the supervisor how to use the computer and how to do the financial statement at the end of the day and month.
I will also be supervising all of the employees and making sure they have everything they need and that they are doing their jobs.
So this entire week I followed the supervisor and learned what he did on a daily basis. I also learned how the clinic is run and all of their processes. International Aid sent someone to La Unión to teach me the software systems and to teach me how to do all of the ending statements.
It's all very simple but it's difficult for me to teach other people because of the language barrier. I have found that my Spanish is not that bad and it gets better every day which makes things easier.
The climate here is actually pretty cool considering how close we are to the equator. It stays about 70º during the day and night. So far it has rained every night and twice during the day. I'm getting tired of all the water but I guess I will have to deal with it. We are in the wet season in Honduras which is like our spring in the USA.
Overall, I'm doing pretty well and I'm enjoying being here in La Unión. The people here are really poor and need lots of help.
I took a couple pictures of the average house here. Most of the floors are dirt and the windows do not have glass. The kids run around with no shoes and sometimes no clothes. It's pretty bad and was a big eye opener for me.
Please follow my e-mails as I will try to keep you updated every Monday. I hope everyone is doing well and I look forward to seeing you when I get back.
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