Archive for the 'Alternative Spring Break' Category

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At Last We’ve Arrived

After a hectic day yesterday, we’ve made it to our destination in El Progreso at last! Although since we rebooked our flight for today, we flew into Tegucigalpa rather than San Pedro Sula.

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It was nice to get through customs and finally see the smiling faces from OYE greeting us on the other side. Both the landing and the four hour drive from the capital city to El Progreso were full of gorgeous sights of the city and countryside.

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With such a positive group it’s hard to not find fun and positivity where ever we go (even after 3 bags of donations didn’t make it here)! We learned today that four hours of winding roads up, down, and through the mountains lead to unforgettable conversations and endless laughter!

We started out our day in Honduras by going out to lunch with traditional Honduran food and fresh cantaloupe juice! By the time we made it to the hotel in El Progreso we had homemade food prepared by one of the nutrition centers staff the group worked with last year.

So with our stomachs full, and our traveling complete (at least until next weekend) we head off to bed eager and ready to jump in to a day full of volunteering at pronino tomorrow!

Are We There Yet?

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After a long day of traveling, exploring, sleeping and eating we can officially say we have expended all of our energy on our first night. Friday night was one to remember as a slight miscommunication between our bus provider resulted in the 10 of us standing outside at midnight with about 30 suitcases and bags waiting anxiously to be picked up. Luckily, our bus driver arrived quickly and we boarded the bus to catch our flight at Chicago O’Hare which boarded at 5:15AM.
The process of checking 18 suitcases full of donations at O’Hare was a bit overwhelming but with the help of such a positive group we got through with some time to spare before our scheduled departure at 5:55 AM.
We soon left O’Hare, and boy was it a bumpy ride to Atlanta! The south was experiencing stormy weather and that kept our plane in the air past our scheduled arrival. Despite the turbulence and the anxiousness of arriving on time, we all found ways to enjoy the ride with complimentary drinks, snacks and even free entertainment. Before we knew it, we were arriving in Atlanta with only minutes to catch our next flight across the airport.
Here in Atlanta was where Kate Fladten showed off her great track skills. Racing towards the terminal to claim our spots, we ran into many supportive passengers who cheered us on, witnessing our scramble. Unfortunately due to our late landing, our plane to San Pedro Sula left without us, and we had to regroup to access the situation.
With an amazing team of individuals, and a wonderful trip leader, Missy Burgess, we were able to calmly book hotel rooms and another flight which is scheduled for tomorrow, January 22nd at 10:05AM. The estimated arrival time in Tegucigalpa is at 12:54PM (Flight DL0849).
To enjoy the rest of our day in Atlanta we decided to take the advice of our friendly shuttle driver, “Tim Tim”, to head downtown on the local train system. We saw merry-go-round, explored the CNN building and finally got the hang of the transit system, we were officially pros. To reward ourselves of such a positive day, we had pizza in the lobby!

We are looking forward to flying to Honduras tomorrow, but for now, our exhausted travelers will be heading to sleep for a long day tomorrow. Stay tuned for more posts!

Tomorrow is the day!

Friday night the 10 of us head out for Chicago to board our flights for Honduras on Saturday morning. While some of us have been here before, and others of us have not, the excitement is overwhelming!

Everyone decided that to start the trip out we shared with each other what we’re most excited and most nervous about as the date gets closer to leaving.

Our trip advisor, Missy Burgess said: I’m most excited for seeing everyone learn and grow on this trip, and I’m most nervous about making sure that everyone has a positive experience.

Our trip leader Naomi Krawczyk said: I’m most excited for seeing a new country, and getting to know all of the wonderful people. I’m most nervous for making the planes on the way down.

Alaina Riedel said: I’m most excited to see all of the OYE students and everyone we met last year, and she is most nervous about getting bug bites!

Katelyn Fladten said: I’m most nervous about the safety, but I’m most excited about traveling and experiencing a new culture.

Josie Ribley said: I’m most excited to learn about their culture first hand, and I’m most nervous about the plane ride.

Jenna Krueger said: I’m most excited about leaving the country for the first time, and I’m most nervous about the airports.

Serena Larie said: I’m most excited to interact with the Hondurans, especially the children and to fully immerse herself in their culture.

Hannah Schmidtfranz said: I’m most excited for working with the children!

Lukki Smolarek said: I’m most excited to experience this all again, to see everyone from last year, and make so many new connections this year, and I’m most nervous for the plane rides!

Jessica Martinez said: I’m most excited to practice my Spanish in a culture that is similar to mine, especially when we get to interact with the community. What I am most nervous about would definitely be the bugs.

That’s just a little bit about us as we get ready to finish packing our bags and head out, check back for more updates as the trip goes on!

Interested in being a part of Alternative Break 2017?

2017 Informational Meeting

Thursday September 29

6 pm

Reeve 306 

If you are interested in being added to the email list for information on the 2017 breaks, please fill out this form

or check back for more information on this site in August/September.

 

Day 5: The Market, Serving up more than food, and a Jewish Deli

Chelsea market was the first destination. On the way we passed some important LGBT sites. Christopher Street is a hot spot for many LGBT people, especially when warmer weather rolls around. Another important landmark in LGBT history is the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Inn is a gay bar that was popular among people in the 60’s. Mafia-owned at the time (most legit business owners did not want to involve themselves with the LGBT community), the Stonewall Inn was the place where the Stonewall Uprisings took place, due to police oppression and this was a powerful force in the making of the LGBT liberation movement.

The Chlesea Market is a new-age vintage, industrial feeling market with a number of specialty food and craft shops. It was very nice to look at and the food was pretty good too. It is the kind of place where you could find organic, non-GMO everything.

We walked from the market to GMHC, but not by sidewalk. The High Line is an elevated walkway that winds its way in between buildings through Chlesea and other parts of Manhattan. It features many awesome works of art that really add to the already apparent beauty of the walkway. Works of art from paintings to sculptures were displayed for everyone’s viewing pleasure. The High Line gave people a opportunity for some awesome pictures, and was a great change of pace from the downtown Manhattan sidewalks. 

Our day at GHMC today was quite full. It began with a filing project from the finance department. They provide a plethora of enriching and important services to their clients. The filing project dealt with organizing their housing program. Some of their clients are in danger of losing their residence. This could begin the client on a downward spiral and they would stray away from taking care of themselves. To prevent this, the GHMC can take control of their Social Security and Medicate benefits and pay their bills for them or cover a certain amount of said bills. I talked to a client who was in this program and she really expressed great gratitude. The cost of living in New York City is far higher than in Wisconsin for example. 

Thursday was our last day of serving lunch, my personal favorite job. Everyone was quite happy to see us again, and we recognized a few familiar faces. During lunch break, as I was trying to find a table, I was flagged down by a client who had already finished his meal and was socializing with those at his table. One of the questions he asked was, “What made you give your spring break up to come here to us?” It was an interesting question, because I had never thought of it like I was sacrificing anything. In fact, I thought my spring break trip was better than most of my friends. This question also highlights the stigma this community still faces in light of all the new information and research on HIV/AIDS. We discussed a number of other things along with another person; topics like family and stigma, to politics, and even New York nightlife. It was so insightful to see New York from a native’s perspective. These are some of the most impactful and important experiences from this trip that I will take on with me throughout life. 

Katz’s Deli on the lower west side was on the menu for dinner. This Jewish diner is very popular. Kosher dishes are served here. Things that were ordered ranged from a corned beef sandwich to salami sandwiches and even a salmon and cream cheese bagel. Dessert was gay ice cream. Actually big gay ice cream. Big Gay Ice cream is a well-known ice cream shop that served up the kind of ice cream sundaes you would almost come back twice in the same night for. Highly recommend. As a whole through this whole trip, our taste buds have been in paradise and campus food is just not going to even pale in comparison. Oh well, guess we’ll just have to come back, won’t we? 

After ice cream some desired an early night and headed back to the YMCA. The rest of us headed to Chinatown to visit the Museum of American Chinese. The museum had a lot of great and informative exhibits about the immigration and assimilation process of the Chinese into America especially during a time when the American people and government did not want them here (Chinese Exculsion Act). 

That’s it for Thursday! One more full day to go. 

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