Daily Archive for Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Day 5

We’re getting to the end of the mural! We went over some of the outlines and started on painting the people and logos. For lunch, Matt and I bought an avocado and a zapote for lunch, while the rest of the group had sandwiches. We also got to purchase some OYE tees and look at the art that the art scholars made. We’re going back to the school soon to finish painting and hen we are playing a soccer game with he scholars! Dinner is at our hotel, and a speaker on corporate responsibility will be joining us! I’m looking forward to that dinner conversation :)

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Day Four! (I believe?)

Hello all!

This is Rachel here to catch you all up on what we have been doing the past day or so. Last night, as Marie was saying, we went to dinner at a restaurant called Nico’s. It was absolutely fantastic. I shared some delicious nachos with my table. We also all had a strawberry milk type beverage and burritos. I personally had a beef burrito. Even though we had a Spanish speaker at our table, we got lost in translation for awhile when asking for sour cream. (Apparently they call it crema?) After a great meal and some group chatting we headed back to the house.

When we got home we played games again as a group with many members from the group from Illinois that is also staying here. We played a hectic game called catch phrase and then another few rounds of Mafia. Several of our group members ended the night on the roof patio watching the orange moon and the stars. It was breathtaking.

We woke up this morning to a delicious breakfast of coffee, French toast, and bananas. It was wonderful, and many of us really needed the coffee pick me up.

We left a little after one to go to the Pepian workshop. Pepian is a traditional Guatemalan dish that is generally served for celebratory purposes. It includes a vegetable rice, vegetable sauce, and chicken. As Marie said yesterday, it all began with a live chicken.

The chicken part was definitely not as bad as I expected. She simply twisted the neck and sawed right through. I was envisioning a hatchet and a loud chop, but it was quite…. Peaceful? Then Maria Elena, our instructor, put the chicken (after it stopped twitching…) into a boiling pot of water briefly so it was easier to pluck. I personally did not pluck any of the chicken because I was a little under the weather this morning, but it looked very easy.

After that we continued learning how to make the Pepian dish. She showed us how to chop the vegetables, how to prepare the rice, and finally, how to make tortillas. It was MUCH harder than I thought it would be. We all ended up making them way, way too thick. The meal turned out fantastically despite our novice preparation.

After the workshop we headed back to the house for a little downtime before we headed out to some Artisan workshops. There were five people to each of the three Artisans workshops. We could do a Jade workshop, a wood working workshop, or a metal workshop. The jade workshop made necklaces, the metal workshop made wall hangers or candle holders, and the woodworking made serving trays.

Marie and I both participated in the metal workshop. We were able to pick out a design, either a butterfly, a lizard, or an owl. We first traced our stencil, and then cut it out using huge metal shears attached to the table. It was incredibly difficult. Then we added any detailing that was required for our designs. The hardest part for me was trying to punch holes through the metal. Our instructor was able to lunch through in one stroke off the hammer. It took me about thirty, if not more, strokes to get through the metal. My hands and wrists ached afterwards. But I definitely appreciate metal work much more now that I’ve seen it done.

After our workshop we had a group return late, but we passed the time by playing a sort of volleyball with some Guatemalan children. It was a blast and a great serendipitous occurrence.

Then we went to dinner at Andre’s house, another AGAIGN farmer. Incidentally, we had Pepian again. It was served a little differently, but it made sense that it was made because they were trying to celebrate the occasion of us being there. Even though we were grateful and the food was delicious, we are all starting to tire a little bit of chicken and rice.

After dinner we came home and reflected a bit on the differences between Oshkosh and Guatemala and their ways of living. The pace here is so much slower, and yet they work so much harder for the things they have. It’s hard not to feel guilty for how easy we have it back in the USA.

Tonight is a quieter night and we are all doing our own things. I think i am about to head up to the patio roof to take a look at the stars and relax for a bit.

Tomorrow we are going on an agricultural hike and in the afternoon we will be going on a market scavenger hunt and doing some shopping in Antigua. (So put in your requests now, hah!)

We are all still having a fantastic time. Some people are still trying to do some damage control on sun burns (not me!! …yet)

Hope everyone is enjoying the fresh snow!

Love from Guatemala,

Rachel

If only there were more hours in a day!

Today was a long day for our group. We left the Father McKenna Center before 9am and returned after 9pm. Right in the morning we got ready for our meeting with Senator Tammy Baldwin. We got to meet her and talk about some of the issues that affect the homeless population. Our meeting was short but meaningful. After that we had lunch and were on our way to Food & Friends were we packed meals for people with hiv/aids, cancer and other illnesses. Everyone was really impressed with the way this organization runs and how much gets done. Here is a picture of us eating some of the cookies we made.

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After work was done we headed to see some monuments we had yet to see. First was the White House where we took a lot of pictures and were on the lookout for the president. Then we walked to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

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The Lincoln Memorial was close by so we got a chance to see that as well and take a walk by the National Mall. There was a lot of picture taking going on so we were happy that it was sunny outside and not raining like yesterday.

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At the end of the National Mall was the WW2 Memorial that we also walked through. At this point it was 6pm and everyone was hungry. We found an Italian place with amazing food and huge portion sizes so everyone was satisfied. Some of us got lasagna, pennines, pizza and calzones. It was late by the time we got done eating so we got on the metro and went home around 9pm. We didn’t have time to have our nightly reflections meeting because everyone was tired and we wanted to spend some time with the men who are at the shelter. Now its bed time and another day in Washington awaits us tomorrow.

Until next time,
Sara

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Nicole with her plate of cheesy bread that everyone munched on.

Mi Voz Es Poder Part 2

Hola fellow blog followers, it’s Allysa here! I can’t believe we just finished up day four of our incredible trip in El Progreso! I have learned so much so far from this experience, and it is definitely making me think twice of how privileged I have been in the United States. The children of the public school of whom we are painting the mural for are the ones that have impacted me the most. The first day that we toured the school was a major eye opener. Although the school may not be in the best shape, the teachers really focus on providing the children with a high quality education. I was not expecting the students to know some English! It’s definitely a lot of fun learning more Spanish from students as well as helping them learn more English. The group and I were also very surprised that the next day the students still remembered our names!

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So many times throughout my life and being at UW Oshkosh I find myself guilty of complaining about homework or wishing summer would come by faster. Seeing these students and listening to the education panel really brought to my awareness of how selfish that sounds. Primary education is hard to come by here in Honduras, and it is also an extreme rarity that students will ever get to the university level of education. Throughout our time here, it is easy to see how much appreciation youth put into their school. They work hard in the classroom, as well as cleaning up the school on their own since there isn’t a custodial staff.

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While taking a break from painting the empowering mural for the children, Christina and I had a chat about the behind the scenes issues regarding youth in Honduras. Christina is an OYE intern here from a Virginia university for Social Work. I connect with her very well in having the same major and discussing social injustices in this country. She mentioned how young children have to work to provide financial support for their families instead of going to school. Some children may be given a basket of food and would not be able to come home to sleep until they sold everything. The average family household makes about $3,000 in U.S. dollars per year. In many cases, children need to stop going to school in order to help support their family.
Painting the mural I believe will help inspire youth to stay dedicated to receiving an education and making a difference in their own country. Even people who do not go to that school and pass by it on the street on a daily basis may be inspired by the mural. I like to think we are being true role models for the children and helping them develop and reach their own goals throughout their life! One of OYE’s quotes is “Mi Voz Es Poder” which means “My Voice Is Power”. We all need to continually keep this in our minds and hearts by realizing even one person can make a difference.
-Allysa

Mi Voz Es Poder

Hola from Honduras. This is Chelsea, the advisor for ASB Honduras. I have the privilege of working with the amazing student leaders on this trip and introducing everyone to two amazing OYE members. Please meet Sam and Morgan, who have worked with OYE since 2009 and currently serve in the role of Director (Sam) and Volunteer Coordinator (Morgan). We couldn’t ask for better hosts. Through their preparations for our group they have arranged a number of panels on Honduran reality, today’s topic of Education, and tomorrow’s topic of Corporate Social Responsibility. The ability to connect with the country, learn from educators from El Progresso, and begin to understand the corruption/ issues that are prevalent in Honduras has given the work OYE and our group is doing another level of meaning. The great thing about OYE is all the projects are planned and implemented by Honduran youth coordinators (art, sports, magazine, radio, etc.) through Sam and Morgan helping as translators we have been able to dance, paint, and interact with many of these coordinators.

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Panel on Education-

Today’s panel featured two area teachers and a member of a youth network dedicated to improving the education system in Honduras. Through the presentation we learned about UNESCO’s tenants of education and the United Nations declaration of access to quality education being a universal basic human right. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in Honduras. Problems with lack of resources, cost of education, lack of teaching positions for trained educators, over crowded class sizes (the average Honduran class size is 50-70 students), and corruption in the education system prevent many students from completing their primary education. An example given by one of the educators was “if 1,000 students started elementary school, 900 would go on to high school, only 400 will graduate and of that 400 maybe 10 will go on to university and graduate.” Change is needed in all areas of education. They need better and more resources, a government that is able to provide for its people, and a system of education that is truly equal access. In Honduras if you have any extra money you send your children to private school because this is the only way to ensure that your child will receive a quality education. Often times the public school teachers are not paid which results in frequent teacher strikes and school being closed. Overall, through the presentations and question and answer sessions I think that we all have a better understanding of the educational reality here in Honduras and how privileged we have been with our K-12 and higher education system. I know I personally have such a great appreciation for the work of OYE and the interest in the youth to better the system. I believe that education can solve many of societies problems and appreciated hearing another cultures views on the importance of education.

March 2013
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