Tuesday, March 15, 2011

All I want for my birthday...is for you to Donate!

This St. Patrick's Day (March 17, 2011), intead of asking for a gift, a drink, or a card, I am urging my family and friends to donate to disaster relief in Japan.

My suggestions for agencies/organizations to donate to:

Humanitarian Coalition:
Under the banner of the Humanitarian Coaliation, four aid agenices -- CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Quebec and Save the Children Canada -- have joined together to raise funds for Japan relief operations.

Phone: 1-800-464-9154

Canadian Red Cross:
The Canadian Red Cross is also encouraging Canadian to support relief, evaucation and emergency response efforts with donations to its Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami fund.

Wireless users can text ASIA to 30333 to donate $5 to relief efforts.

Phone: 1-800-418-1111

Doctors Without Borders:
Medical and logistics teams from Doctors Without Borders were racing to the worst-hit areas in Japan's Iwate and Miyagi prefectures by delicopter, as roads are blocked by flooding. The organization relies maily on donations to support field operations for medical assistance.

Phone: 1-800-982-7903

International Development Relief Foundation (IDRF):
IDRF is in the process of making plans to facilitate a response from our supporters to the immense devastation in Japan.

Phone: 1-866-497-IDRF(4373)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother´s Day in Copan

May 9, 2010

Had a lecture in the morning with John Donaghy (whose blog can be found at http://www.hermanojuancito.blogspot.com/).

In the morning at breakfast, our host mother told us that she wouldn´t be home for lunch because their family (and extended family, we thing) were going out for Mother´s day. I tried asking if Anisa and I should go with them...which didn´t seem to get across, so we just said that we would make other plans for lunch. She said she would be back for us to have dinner at home, though.

John talked to us about Missionary work in Santa Rosa, Honduras and the presence of the church in Copan-Central America. We discussed more about poverty, development, wealth, and lack of opportunities among the poor. John gave us some unbelievable statistics. For example that in Honduras about 40% of the population is poor. Among Maya Chorti in Honduras they make up 60% of the poor population. John also gave us some interested analogies. For example, the saying: ´Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. But teach a man to fish and feed him for a life time.´ John reminded us that in order for the man to fish, he has to have access to a place where he can fish (which is where land claims comes into play). Also, that we have to consider whether or not the area to fish is polluted. We learned that there is a Canadian mining company near Copan that uses cyanide to extract gold.

We talked about how being an oppressor is oppressive. John quoted Lilla Watson who said that ¨if you are coming to help me you´re wasting your time. But if you´re coming because your liberation is bound with mine, we can work together¨. He stressed that it is most important to learn and to listen. That we should be willing to accept gifts from the poor as a sense of mutuality. John told us that he takes a 3-step approach with everything he does:
  1. see
  2. judge
  3. act
He continued that usually a two-foot approach is taken regarding charity and justice but the missing peice is integral human development (which he described as a 3 legged stool). John closed by telling the group to find what gives you life. He encouraged us to connect your greatest joy to the world´s greatest need.

On our way back home, Anisa and I bought some roses for our host mom and gifted the Calgon spray I bought and some nice coasters that Anisa bought that are hand made from leaves in Victoria Park, London, ON.

We went swimming again that afternoon.

Girls in Action and Adventure expedition

May 8, 2010

This morning we had Girls in Action at Arte Accion. It´s a program they run on Saturdays for girls. The girls that came go to bilingual schools and they are a higher class than the ones we teach at the rural schools. We made CD case photo frames (for mother´s day gifts), flowers out of tissue paper and beaded jewelery. (Mom would you be so happy to see the beads I brought going to good use). A lot of the Huron in Honduras students made stuff for themselves too! The hemp was a big hit! These girls seem to have a high self-esteem and self-confidence. When asked to wait their turn they replied in Spanish (maybe because they thought we wouldn´t understand) that they didn´t have time to wait. It was a completely different audience than what we were getting used to at the rural schools.
That afternoon, Anisa and I went to Danielle´s and Shannon´s house to see if they were home. We decided to take a small hike to see a waterfall where we could swim. But since Danielle and Shannon didn´t come in the morning, Anisa and I wanted to attempt to find them to let them know what we had planned for the afternoon. They weren´t home at the time, but we successfully told their host mom that we were planning to go to see a waterfall. We later found out that she said our Spanish was good. Yeahhhh!

We took a bus to get to the spot were we would start hiking... The hike was actually a mountain climb. Anisa and I lagged behind most of the time! Elisia told us that it was advertised for extreme adventurists! and I was like... haha that´s not me. It took us about an hour just to walk to the spot where the waterfall was. But it was worth it when we got there... We swam for a bit in this pond like pool of water at the base of the waterfall. Josh decided he wanted to carry me across the water (maybe showing off a little) and when I was like no-no-no... (since my shoes were already soaking wet), he picked me up anyways and almost immediately we fell backwards into the mud. Josh got the worst of it...

That night Anisa and I chilled with Shannon and Danielle at their house. We just got there as the power went out. But we had a chance to see their cute little puppies!!!!! The mama dog barked a lot as us, at first. Guess she saw us as a threat, since we were knew to the house. This woman is staying at their house who is an archaeologist. After we chatted for a bit we went to Richard and Elisia´s house and played some sherades--in Spenglish. Later we went back to the place beside ViaVia for a mother´s day ´party´. There was a live band, but I was really too exhausted by then to enjoy it so Anisa, Danielle, Shannon, and I went home for the night.

To tired to write

May 7, 2010

I dreampt a little in Spanish last night, but it was mostly a bunch of children coming up to me and asking me stuff and I was trying to reply them...but had a hard time as usual. :P

Mother´s day fiesta at our school today (El Sinai). We were asked to buy plates, cups, and napkins for the food. The mothers of the children were invited to come to the school. As soon as we arrived, the teachers kept asking us for something to buy... we couldn´t figure it out... but Richard when by taxi with his host brother (who he actually just met that day, and maybe is married to one of the teachers) to go back to our town to get it. It was balloons - they wanted to use them to decorate the school. We didn´t have to prepare a lesson plan for that day. We watched/listened to the children sing a song for their parents (I took a video...which ended up being 11 minutes long!)

In the evening (after dinner) we had a meeting at Arte Accion. We talked about Food Aid(because the three schools that we are volunteering at ran out of food). We collectively decided to buy enough food for each school to last them a month from the money that we fundraised. We also were informed about the ¨situation¨at Santa Cruz. Apparently, since the coup the teacher was fired because she supports the opposite political party (liberal) to the current political party (nationalist). They were considering closing the school down and they were looking to replace the teacher. When we were discussing Food Aid, we talked about how it is a sort of ´band aid´solution to problems in countries that are stricken by poverty. We dicussed how lack of education and opportunity keep indigenous Maya people in a cycle that is structured to keep them poor. In spite of the negative things that we realized were masking Food Aid and Development Aid, we were all happy that we could provide food for the children to eat.

Went to Richard and Elisia´s house to have a few drinks in their ´out door living room´. We had so much fun and listened to some music...dancing, etc. Richard´s host sister really likes to dance (she is so good)... She showed me some latina moves and I found that we like the same type of music. There is also a guy from the states living with them. He is volunteering as a missonary in Santa Cruz and will stay with them for about the same time we are here in Honduars. We ventured to a place in town afterward to continue dancing. Everyone thinks I´m a good dancer, so I try teaching them my ´cool´ moves


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Falling behind

I have missed writing in my journal for almost 5 days now... I am trying to remember and backtrack so that I can continue to write it here. Bare with me :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Changing impressions...

May 6, 2010

This morning ending feeling like the worst day of my life :(

We went to the school for the second time--this time we taught a class. The 5th grade (we think). Our lesson plan was to have the kids cut and decorate hearts and butterflies as a decoration for mother's day at the school on Friday.

It was complete choas. They couldn't share the paint and we gave them sparkles (which was a horrible, horrible idea). It mostly ended up on their faces and all over the school. The older boys were really rough with the other students.

The teacher at the school yells at the kids a lot... She has a lot of trouble controlling the kids and they don't seem to listen to her all the time. It's difficult for the children to pay attention to us, also. They have trouble waiting their turn. So far most of the day, it was quite frustrating. After we attempted crafts (which was semi-successful, because they did decorate hearts and butterflies) we took the kids outside to play games. The boys tried hitting a beach fall as many times as they could without it touching the ground (they really liked the ball) and the girls tried "What time is it Mr. Wolf". Just as they were all getting into it, the teacher called them to form a line (tallest to shortest) and then asked them to look for their song book. No one was able to get it and we ended up just standing around for a bit. The song was for Friday; for the kids to sing to their mothers.

Today I switched classes with Anisa so that I could be free for El Sinai's film festival. I feel like I learned more from her teacher in 2 hours then I did since I arrived. The key differences were was the use of flash cards (which were really helpful).

At 5:00PM we met at Arte Accion but didn´t end up leaving until an hour or so later. Kelsy and Deanna got some fries, they were willing to share but I ended up going without dinner tonight.
We took the projector equipment to the school by motortaxi and set up a white sheet as the screen. The children all grabbed their chairs and little by little the parents came out to watch the movie, too. They started with 2-half-hour short films by Arte Acción about Maya Chortí culture. We couldn´t understand much but laughed a lot and the children turned to watch us some of the time. After we watched some super old movie about ´The Indian Maria´ (a 1940ish movie). It was definitely a comedy. We think that about 120 in total came out for the movie night.

During the movie until clean up the kids really opened up to us. I made funny faces and I aksed some of them if they liked Maria. They laughed and they smiled and eventally started poking and tickling us. We helped Lóndon clearn up and we came back around 8:00PM.

We meet the rest of the group at the bar that plays music. Even after we were all exhausted. I danced a lot so people commented on that and we meet two girls. One from Norway (but for the longest time I thought she was from New Zeland) and the other from England.

I was telling the other girls what started out as feeling like the worst day EVER suddenly became the most fun because of the film festival because the kids really opened up.

Tomorrow on my way to Arte Acción I need to buy 100 plates, cups and napkins because the mothers will be coming to the school for Mother´s Day.

We prepared a few games and a craft just in case but tomorrow we´re just going to wing it.

Completely exhausted.

P.S. cockroach in my room this morning. The black sandals I bought from Mt. Co-op did an excellent job of killing it :)

First day of school and I am exhausted!

May 5, 2010

Today was the first day at the schools. 6 of the girls rode in the back of a pick-up truck to their two schools (Chonco and Santa Cruz), the rest of us took two tuk-tuk's or motor taxis. I filmed the way there as we peeled around corners and skidded over the rocks and dirt. It was pretty scary, but I laughed more of the way. The scenic views on the way are so beautiful and we passed a tomato and jalopeno farm.
Our school is called El Sinai. there are grades 1-6 and it has 3 classrooms. We met two of the teachers today, the third teacher we found out broke her leg and will not be at the schools for some time, but we don't know how long.
The kids are so shy! But when you say 'hola' to them, most of them smile. Some of the older boys played football (soccer) with us during recess. Kelsy is like the 'mother'. She helped this boy who was being bullied. Richard's Spanish is the best, since he took 1st year Spanish this year. But we're all learning. We helped/watched Elsa (from Arte Accion) teach about Maya Chorti culture, to practice for tomorrow.
After lunch I took a nap. Had a hard time getting out of bed. Think the heat is making me sleepy. When to Spanish lessons at 3:30PM so I was a bit early. I got my homework book today and reviewed some grammar, but I mostly end up just talking (or trying to at least) with my teacher. When asked, I tried explaining that my parents were teachers (I didn't know how to say vice-principal), but now they are retired and that my brother wants to teach English in Korea
After class we went to Elisa and Richard's house. They have an 'outdoor living room' and their uncle speaks very good English. He studied at University in the U.S. and in Germany, as well. He let us try some bananas that taste like apples!
At dinner, Anisa and I spoke a lot of broken Spenglish to our host mother and showed her pictures of our friends and family. Anisa had a picture of us from the grad banquet and she didn't even recognize me in the photo! She also thought that Jason was very handsome! After dinner we met most of the students at Arte Accion. El Sinai is inviting the mothers to school on Friday so we started preparing a lesson plan for that. We made templates for hearts, flowers and butterflies (to decorate the school). And we will ask the kids to write their name and "I love my mother because..." in the different shapes.
Afterwards we went to this bar called 'ViaVia' for salsa lessons. Danelle and I burned the dance floor. I led her and we made up a 'combo routine'. Elisa recorded it and we think this random guy at the bar did to... some white guy was there trying to dance with all the girls. He asked me first and I didn't. Actually no body from our group danced with him... Maybe next week I will. We had a few drinks, I had a mojito (which was amazing) and we left for our big day tomorrow.
There is a film festival tomorrow night at our school, El Sinai and no body got a clear instruction of what we are to do in preparation for that... I switched my Spanish class with Anisa for tomorrow, but forgot to tell my teacher, so I'll have to do it later.

7:00AM start tomorrow! I wonder what time the rooster will wake us up though...