Aug 21-30: The past week and a half was long and challenging but also filled with culture as I took in the last of my experience in Honduras. On Monday the 22nd, Rony and Fernando (employees of International Aid) arrived in La Unión
in the late evening. They informed me that we would be starting a new project in Lepiera. This project occupied the rest of my time here in Honduras.
Project Details: A two week trip to Lepiera, located about 2 hours south of La Unión. Lepiera is a town but is also a Department (state) of Honduras. Our mission was to make contact with the leaders of 58 towns in Lepiera and to record significant information such as: general population, population under the age of 2, number of houses, additional aid received through other organizations, water conditions, existence of latrines, existence of a town pharmacy as well as other physical facts. The information gathered will be used by International Aid to project future budget expenses.
On Tuesday the 23rd, Rony, Fernando and I headed to Lepiera. It was a short trip on the winding dirt roads that I have grown accustomed to. Our hotel was a nice 5 star resort in the center of Lepiera :)
[click on thumbnails to view enlargements]
The week went by quickly as we gathered the data that was requested by International Aid. No serious problems occurred and the trip went smoothly. I did not take any pictures of the villages because they were the same that you have seen in my past journal entries. I did, however take a couple of interesting pictures of things we came across during the week.
Photo to your right: these are children to which I gave hats, sent by family.
Photo to your left: This is a nice view from a trail on which we drove earlier in the week.
Photo to your right: This is a picture of a bridge on which we walked across to get to a village. It was hanging about 30 yards above river called Rio Blanco ("white river").
Photo to your left: I took this picture from the hanging bridge. In the background you can see the tallest peak in Honduras, called Celaque.
Additional facts about Celaque: At 9,273 ft above sea level, Celaque is much taller than the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, but lower than Mount McKinley in Alaska (20,320 ft). Since 1987, Celaque has been recognized as a National Park but legal protection of Celaque has been controversial. Some Hondurans feel that deforestation should be acceptable both for the lumber as well as the farming of coffee beans. Others feel that the protection will preserve one of the countries greatest natural resources.
These are pictures of me standing underneath the bridge crossing over Rio Blanco.
This bridge was extremely dangerous and scary. It was made only of wood and metal cable wires. When we crossed the bridge it shook and swayed in the wind.
On Sunday we took a break from work and drove to Copan, a destination I have wanted to go to since I heard about it during the second week of my trip. Copan is the home of ancient Mayan ruins and was built around 600 A.D. Honduras has a large ancestry of Mayan civilization. Copan is specifically significant because of its vast number of hieroglyphic texts which have been helpful in deciphering the Mayan code. These texts have also revealed much about the royal history and the Mayan culture as a whole.
It was amazing to see the huge carved stone structures and to know that they were made by hand hundreds of years ago.
Coming to Honduras has been an exciting adventure for me. I have experienced things I will never forget. I have witnessed many situations and lifestyles that I didn't know still existed in this world: mud houses, children with no clothes or shoes, families living solely on corn and beans, people living without bathrooms or even a place to shower, and other disturbing things that I feel no one should have to endure.
I am so glad I took the time to come here and help these people. I have not only helped the natives here but they have also helped me. I appreciate more things that I took for granted in the United States. Smalls things that are hard to come by in countries like Honduras, such as running water, bathrooms, and food variety.
I thought that what I would miss most during my time away would be modern conveniences: food, a nice bathroom, and a house. This was far from reality. What I have missed most are my family and friends and the relationships we have. Through my own experience, as well as my observations of the people here, I've learned that relationships are far more important than any materialistic thing. Despite the living conditions and primitive lifestyle, the Hondurans seem very happy. They have God, family, friends, some food, and few materialistic things and with these things they are satisfied.
It makes me sad to think that many people have the mentality that happiness is achieved by acquiring more things…things that so obviously provide only temporary happiness and never a feeling true of contentment. My experience has firmly planted within me the belief that the things that will make you most happy are free and they will always be there: God, Family and Friends.
I want to thank everyone for their support. I have had so many people help me in my journey to Honduras. My family, friends, and co-workers have been a tremendous encouragement, both financially and emotionally, and I would not been able to do this trip without everyone's help. Please be proud of yourselves for helping so many people here in Honduras. The people that we have helped want to thank you and so do I. Thank You so much for making this opportunity possible.
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