Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When you give a kid a camera...

Interesting things happen.

Thanks Rachael for the pic!

Being a photographer, I loved taking pictures of the adorable kids in Honduras. After taking a picture, I would always swivel the camera around, pointing to the image. While they loved seeing themselves on my camera, they also loved taking pictures. I loved seeing the joy on their faces as they hauled my huge camera up to their face and heard the shutter snap close, their creation briefly flashing on the screen.

They loved taking pictures of me-- I swear, this might be the most pictures of me every taken at one time.

I think I'm helping a little finger find the right button among many on my camera to press. It was a little difficult with the language barrier, but they all managed to get the hang of it. A day or so after this picture was taken a little boy was trying to use my camera. His finger was over the wrong button, and he was upset that no picture was being taken. I was trying to convince him to push a different button when he friend ran up, rapidly speaking in Spanish, pushing his finger to the right button to take a picture. It was fun to watch them help each other.

Right before the attack
As I was passing my camera from child to child, saying 'careful' more times than I can remember, kids were attacking me from behind trying to tickle me.

I said 'careful' so many times that a day later a little boy started mimicking me, thinking that the word for camera was careful.

picture of an adorable girl and my lovely braids

I loved reviewing the photos later, watching life from their eyes flash by. Pictures of the ground, of their friends, of their teachers all were there.

Here I'm bending my finger, encouraging the kid to push down on the button.

One little boy took my camera, yelled 'teacher!' and then snapped this photo. 

We left the wonderful country of Honduras on Friday, saying a sad goodbye to what had been an amazing mission trip. While we were all glad to get back home, especially after like a five hour delay in Houston, we were sad to leave all the children and people we had meet at La Providencia.
We all hope to make it back there one day, the sooner the better.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Being a Tourist in Honduras

Our last full day in Honduras was spent just being a tourist in the beautiful country. First up was a farmer's market.

Food was plentiful, though we didn't see many Hondurans actually purchasing anything, just selling. There were many stands set up outside, full of tempting delicious fruits and vegetables. There was a large metal building, non air conditioned of course, where more permanent stands were set up. These little shops sold everything from breakfast to soccer balls to women's clothing.

I didn't want to be obtrusive, lifting my huge camera to my face to zoom in a click away pictures of their life. So for most of my pictures, I just had my camera hanging around my hip, quietly pressing the shutter. While it does give a unique perspective to the photos, it also lowered my accuracy, making a lot of my photos blurry messes. 

On the left is Eddie, who was around our age. He volunteers at La Providencia and helped us with our construction work. Miziel (I have no clue how to spell that) on the right was the director of La Providencia, pastor to the nearby church and architect.

After the markets we headed to a waterfall resort type place to swim. The restaurant was sadly closed, but the breathtaking waterfall was amazing

Daredevil Colten! Totally thought he was going to die.

Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Building a building

Day three and day four in Honduras followed the same routine.

We all drug ourselves out of bed around seven to get breakfast at the hotel. It's hard to distinguish the traditional Honduran food from the American food they put on the buffet for us. Either way, I could probably exist solely on pineapples and live a happy life.

Then, around eight a van from La Providencia would come to our hotel and pick us up. One thing that has surprised me about Honduras were the nice roads. Well, nice road to be more exact. There is a nicely paved four lane highway that we travel on for the majority of the time. Any other streets that run off of the highway are gravel, but the highway is pretty good.

We pull off from the highway and onto the bumpy gravel roads, passing by houses, fields, and animals until we reach La Providencia. From there we grab the necessary tools and haul them up the hill to where we are laying the foundation for the fifth grade classroom. La Providencia sits on rocky mountain soil-- it wouldn't be such a big deal if we had a jackhammer. However, we just have some metal sticks, pickaxe, sledgehammer, and the like, to pound away at the rocks. Suffice to say, I think I have gotten my workout for the entire summer done and finished with.

Knowing nothing about construction work was a little hinderance but we all made do, learning as we went. It's hot under the glare of the sun, but nothing unbearable.

After a couple hours of work it's time for lunch, and a much needed break. We hang out with the kids and get some food before running back outside to play with them during recess.

They've really started to warm up to all of us, impatiently pulling at our hands, wanting us to all play every game with them. Some of us started teaching them little games, and they taught us one their games.

They were all so adorable, the younger ones rummaging through the few English phrases they knew to try and explain to us the rules of their games. There was one similar to ring around the rosy, except for when the song ends you had to freeze or you were out.

After the too short break we were back at construction, starting with digging trenches and ending with pouring concrete.

Tuesday night we headed out to a local restaurant for dinner. And when I mean restaurant, I mean some stoves sitting alongside the road under a canopy, with some people hanging out around front. We weren't really sure what to do so we passed the kitchen to where some tables were, though none of them were large enough to fit our group. Next thing I know we're following some guy in a white shirt back away from the street, into a dark backyard.

Oh great, I thought, we are all gonna get mugged. However, a couple seconds later the guy was flipping some switches and the darkness fled away to reveal another seating area, huge picnic tables meant for groups our size. Later, I'll try and post some pictures here.

[EDIT: finally added those pictures!]]

The food was delicious, authentic and cheap. I was really suprised how good it was, considering how sketchy it first appeared.

The 'kitchen'

I'll write about wednesday night later-- right now I'm off to take a shower and then fall into bed.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blood, sweat, and tears

All in a days work. Okay, so minus the tears.

Our third day in Honduras started with us having a devotional with the staff of La Providencia. That's the organization that we are working with. They run a k-4 grade school, orphanage, and plan on building houses for widows in the future. They are really focused on improving their community through education.

They gave us a tour through the campus, explaining the past, their struggles, and their hopes for the future. Their largest hurtle was the lack of education in the community. Some people feared them because they didn't understand them-- they told us a sad story of a father who wanted to pull his daughter out of kindergarten. When they asked him why, he said it was pointless-- there was no way that his daughter could learn math, science, English, it was too much for her to ever understand. 

Even though they had a rough time in the beginning, what really struck me was how optimistic they were about the future. They currently have two orphanages built, with plans for ten more. What I loved about their orphan structure is that they don't feel like orphans at all. Each orphan house has a married couple who lives there. The couple commits eighteen years of their life to raise the orphans in the house, like a family. We toured one of the orphan homes-- the couple that lived there was very sweet, even if they spoke no English.

The mother lined up six of us-- the number of her children. She then said that she hopes when her children-- two biological, the rest orphans-- grow up that they are just like us.

After our tour we went into their cafeteria-- a huge multipurpose building. We ate with the kids and then went outside to play with them during recess. They were adorable and very energetic, tugging, pulling, and laughing at us.

Sadly, we couldn't play with the kids forever. After recess the kids dashed back to their classrooms as we headed towards our construction job. Currently the school goes to fourth grade but they plan to add a class a year till they go through high school. We are laying the foundation for their fifth grade classroom. It is hard work in the 100 degree heat, but not unbearable.

After a long day we come back to the hotel. Of course, the first thing we all wanted to do was play ultimate frisbee! The only large lit space was the gravel parking lot. In less than an hour two of us had gone done, scrapping our legs in the sharp gravel. My first battle wound in Honduras; I somehow managed to not hurt myself at the construction site surrounded by sharp tools, but in a parking lot with a frisbee.

I have far too many photos and I wish that I could post them all, but time and wifi stand in the way of that. Once I get home, I'll post a ton more photos on facebook and might come back and edit these posts to put some more pictures up.

Stay tuned for for Honduran fun!

Check out my group's take on day three!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dia Dos

This morning we headed to a local baptist church, sitting in on Sunday school before attending the service.

Kind of hard to follow since it was all in Spanish, but still it was really cool.

No surprise, football is a huge sport here.

After church we headed to a local restaurant for lunch and enjoyed a taste of Honduran food and delicious strawberry shakes.

We hung out with some local kids at an Awanas meeting, singing some songs, doing a little skit, and then playing some games.

They didn't have much. A small enclosed concrete pad and some bowling pins. Somehow, though, they came up with a surprising variety of fun little games.

The kids were adorable, even though they spoke little English and I spoke even littler Spanish. It was rather hot in the glare of the sun, though the running kids seemed hardly to notice.

Okay so I've tried for the past two nights to upload three more photos to this post and it is not going to happen right now. Later, when the wi-fi is stronger, I'll add a couple more photos of the adorable kids. But for right now I'm going to nurse my first battle wound-- suffice to say, playing ultimate Frisbee in a gravel parking lot might not be the best idea.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more updates on life in Honduras :)

Check out my group's take on day two! 

[[EDIT: finally got those pictures up!]]

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Binvenidos a Honduras!

Two flights, three airports, and one bus ride later, I am officially in Honduras!

After a scant three hours of sleep I met the rest of my youth group, most who had enjoyed even less sleep, at the LR airport for our flight to Houston.

Sunrise above the clouds
We flew to Houston then boarded a plan for Honduras. The flight wasn't too long, around two hours flying over the Gulf of Mexico and landing in a large (whose name I have, unsurprisingly, forgotten) city in Honduras.

After a quick lunch the head guy from the organization we're working with picked us up in a huge van. The orphanage/school was a couple hours away, in the mountains. Immediately my mind went to images of rickety mountain roads with razor switchbacks promising a fiery crash with one wrong turn.

All my mountainous third-world images were proven delightfully wrong, as the road was nice and wide, most of it paved.The drivers were rather crazy, but our driver was used to it and didn't flinch like I did ever time a car decided to cut it close, nearing scrapping our sides on multiple occasions. 

The terrain took my breath away from the moment we landed, the slightly undulating land punctuated by impulsive bursts of mountains, shielded by a thin layer of haze.

Driving through the towns and countryside it was hard to understand what day-to-day life really looked like in this new country. People stared at us when we were out in public-- though I can't be too surprised, as we were a huge group of pale foreigners all wearing the same shirt.

My ideas of wealth and poverty were challenged as we flew past little shacks and large mansions-- though the shacks far outnumbered the mansions. Looking out the window I caught glimpses into their lives, a little girl in a pink dress furiously swept at her dirt front yard, two young boys splashed in the shallow end of a sparkling creek, a man swatted his horse as it rambled across the three lane highway, the cart packed high with goods.

It was incredibly hot and humid in the city and that was reflected in the people, many of them slung out in their hammocks in an effort to escape the worst heat of the day. To keep ourselves entertained during the ride we called out every farm animal we passed-- which helped improve my severely lacking Spanish skills. If I ever need to say horse, cow, dog, or chicken I am set.

The wifi here, while I am extremely grateful to have, is pretty slow and almost impossible to use in the rooms. Which is why this post is rather devoid of photos-- one, it's hard to take them from a moving car, and two it's hard to upload photos on this connection. 

And thus ends the first day in Honduras! Tomorrow we are going to church and helping them run their children's program.

Stay tuned for more Spanish-speaking fun!

Check out my youth group's view on day 1!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Le Bel été

Or so says Google Translate. I know, I know, I'm about to go over to France and here I am still using Google translate. But I have a bad habit of not remembering any gender of any noun that I've ever learned, so occasionally I need some outside help.

Regardless, in any language summer is beautiful-- made extra sweet by the fact that finals, and my sophomore year in college, just ended. 

Two years, over. Half-way through my undergrad career-- when did this happen?? I don't want to think about how I only have three semesters left at Hendrix, or that I need to study for the GRE and figure what graduate school I want to go to! I just started college! Or, at least, that's what it feels like.

Ignoring the whole conundrum of my future, summer means more free time, which means more blogging! This Saturday I'm boarding a plane and flying to country I never dreamed of visiting-- the lovely Honduras, haha which my auto-correct wants to correct to 'horrendous'.

I hope that's not a sign. My youth group and I will be spending a week at a orphanage there doing various work, from construction work to going to local schools and hanging out with the kids.

I'm super pumped-- my first overseas mission trip! I've been dreaming of doing an international mission trip but it never worked out, until now.  Also, since blogging is awesome and everyone should have a blog, I'm creating a blog for my youth group. While we are over there we will blog about our experiences and post some photos.

The cafeteria officially closed yesterday morning so my friends and I are on our own *cue Les Mis music* for food. Which means that I will hopefully be posting a lot of cheap, easy, delicious recipes here. That or I'll go hungry.

After playing at graduation-- and being firmly in denial that I will be the one graduation in two years-- I headed home for a brief stay. My researching starts tomorrow so I'll have to head back to Conway tonight.

While at home, though, I was able to snap some photos of my beautiful yard.

The weather has just been perfect-- low 70s with no pesky mosquitoes. Why can't all of summer be like this?

I love this plant because of its stark white color, it's a nice contrast with its green surroundings.

Ma Belle Mére :)
And one of my favorite pictures of the bunch:

Anyway I have a ton of craft projects in mind, a lot of food to make, and, in a couple weeks, an apartment to decorate! So be sure to check back :)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The meaning of the title is two-fold. One, we threw a small surprise party for my roomie's birthday. Two, you (and I) should be surprised to see a post after so long and in the middle of finals none the less!

I exaggerate. Finals just started today, my first one (Modern Physics) isn't till this Friday, which feels far further away than it has any right to be.


Last week was my roommate's birthday. We were all unbelievably swamped in the pre-finals madness but we took a break to bake some red velvet cupcakes and decorate our dorm room to surprise Anna.

Side note, we just took down the streamers last night, more than a week after Anna's birthday. They had begun to fall down; we had to climb through them to get from one side of the room to the other. Like Mission Impossible but not as cool as lasers.

Beautiful garland!

Suffice to say, she was surprised :)

In other news, I went to a lovely volunteer dinner a couple nights ago. Hendrix is awesome and gives you free food if you volunteer-- I wish the real world was like this.

The food was delicious and there was an interesting speaker.

Oh, and I won Mexican hot chocolate! In the form of six dense bricks of chocolate I'm supposed to blend with hot milk. I'm excited.

In other news, some friends and I headed down to Little Rock Sunday for the Jewish Food Festival.

They had some awesome live bands including one with a clarinet that sounded incredibly like a saxophone-- it was weird but really cool.

And, of course, delicious Jewish food! This is a tasty noodle desert covered in cornflakes. :)

Anyway! I have far too much to do, so I should go and well, do something.

Thanks for reading!