9/30/11

End of our Time in Copan

Sorry it's been so long since we updated. The electricity/internet has been less than reliable this past week.


This past weekend we spent Saturday visiting the Mayan Ruins in Copan Archeological Park. This particular site was a Mayan center for gatherings, special events, sacrifices, and where the current ruler lived with his family and subjects. We think we set the record for saying, “Indiana Jones” the most in a 24 hr. period.  It includes the Great Plaza, ball court, and Acropolis, its construction began in 200 A.D. The extensive hieroglyphics are dated back to 420-850 A.D. A little further down the road we visited “Supulturas” which was a Mayan residential area where were able to see where the upper, middle, and lower class families lived.


 For more photos of Copan Ruinas, check the "Pictures" page for a slideshow. We won't bore you here.

 
Sunday we enjoyed going to the market to buy some vegetables and then making our host family a “North American Meal” – Chicken pot pie, red beets, and eggs. Not sure if all of you eat that but it’s a Pennsylvania thing that Stacey grew up eating in her family. The family enjoyed it all except the 13 year old daughter who passed her beets over to her dad. It was great to be back cooking together!

Language school has been a great experience for both of us, we highly recommend it. Kaleb is finishing his intermediate workbook and learning a lot. He’ll be considered “advanced” by the time we leave! He’s good enough to be funny when he mistakes a very similar word for the one he wants to say like one time he tried to describe hail like we have in the States. Instead of “hielo del cielo” (ice from the sky) he used “huele del cielo” (smell from the sky). He just started to be able to use his sarcasm which is crucial for his personality to come across. Stacey has been blessed with a great teacher who is a believer and they enjoy chatting every day about life, family, culture, and that there are about 5 synonyms for every Spanish word that Stacey knows. After 4 years of being out of practice she appreciates this time to “get back into it.”  She’s also working on the “if I would have known that she did that I maybe/might/could/would have thought to do this” kind of sentences while they talk.

All is about the same here. It’s sunny and hot during the day – shade is your friend. We get rain every afternoon/evening, sometimes very strong thunderstorms. We leave Copan Ruinas and move to the Heart to Honduras Office in San Isidro this Sat. Oct. 1 we should have internet there as well and will continue to update as we can. We would love to hear from you – send us an email anytime!

9/22/11

Copan part Dos

We're still here in Copan and almost through our first week of language school. My (Kaleb) brain is about to explode. This morning, I spent four hours learning how to use our word "for" in Spanish (por/para). I like to think that they have unnecessarily complicated a perfectly benign word, but oh well. The words are theirs, and it's my responsibility to learn them.

The last few days have gone really well. We've walked quite a bit up and down hills in town and stopped in the local stores (tiendas), but for the most part, we've stayed close to our "Home" in Copan. There's a nice little study table next to our room that opens to the outside where we study quite a bit.

Stacey doing what I should be doing.

We're joined every evening by our little study buddies: geckos. We've seen them here before, but they're much more faithful at our house here. They actually make a little noise late at night, but it's semi-pleasant, very much unlike the parrot in the cage in the shed. It's song (a.k.a. incessant screeching) is not so wonderful at 4AM. But the geckos are great, we watch them eat tons and tons of mosquitoes and flies every night. They can stay as long as they like.

A study buddy and the reason we love him.

The rest of our time at the house has been fairly uneventful save for one unexpected moment. I headed into the kitchen to get some water out of a big jug of filtered water. The bottle sits on a stand which has a little fruit basket underneath it. This detail is important because something else was in the basket when I walked in. I couldn't tell what it was in the darkness, but it scrambled into the corner and made a bunch of racket before it came flying back at me. I jumped out of the way to as a squirrel the size of a Doberman ripped past me out the door, past our room into the courtyard. I turned on the light to find three half-eaten bananas hanging out of the fruit basket. House mommy came walking in as I was picking them up, and I tried to explain to her what happened (Right now she's probably thinking that some sort of rabid half monkey/half alligator was roosting in the kitchen, judging from my ability to impart information in Spanish). All-in-all I think a good time was had by all.

We did have the opportunity to go horseback riding yesterday up into the mountains near Copan to a small village at the summit. There was a great little co-op of local women up there where the women made traditional clothing and dolls in a nice building set up by a Japanese non-profit a few years ago. The road/path was super-steep and only accessible by foot/horse, so we were a little surprised to find something so well organized up there.

The fellow that led the trip explained that he (and others) took it upon themselves to try to take tourists up there to try to bring some sort of business in for them. The town was definitely very poor, but it was encouraging to see folks from the city, international community, and local cultures working together to improve the situation. We hope to see a lot of this over the coming years.

There's a little slideshow below of some pictures from another lady on the trip. Hope you enjoy them and have a great week. 


 

Damos gracias adios: Por la oportunidad de ver a la gente del mundo trabajando juntos para mejorar ├ęste paiz (For the opportunity to see the people of the world working together to improve this country.)

9/20/11

A Cultural Moment - Money, money, money

As the year goes on, I thought we’d update a little bit about culture, etc as we learn it. Hopefully it will help future travellers to Honduras as well as you at home that are wondering about the little differences. I’ll let our first lesson be on Honduran money.



Honduras uses Lempiras (and a little USD), which are closely linked to the US dollar. The current exchange rate is about 19 L: 1 USD, so the receipts look terrifying (Wendy’s shouldn’t cost over 200 anything).  They don’t use any coins, so you carry around a pretty good wad of bills ranging from 500L (~ $25) to 1L (~5 cents); we're missing a 20L below. 

We’ll get used to it, but for now, our brains are getting a good workout converting things at approximately 20x minus a little. The fronts of the bills include a variety of handsome Honduran figures, and the backs various scenes from the culture.

 Extra points for finding Moses, Barak Obama, and Abraham Lincoln.

Damos gracias a Dios por: La experiencia de una cultura diferente (The experience of a different culture)

Que tengan una buena semana.

We're here!


Saturday-09/17
We arrived safely with all of our bags Sat. Sept. 17th. The trip was uneventful save for a massive “speed bump” off the coast of Central America. Kaleb was in the infinitesimally bathroom trying to relieve himself (standing) when things got bumpy. I quickly finished my business and turned around (bracing myself) when all of a sudden, I was flying not only in the plane, but in the bathroom. After a graceful landing, I opened the door to find a mildly-amused middle-aged Hispanic man sprawled out of the bathroom across from me. I offered my hand, to which he replied “Big Bump” and laughed. Stacey was smiling in her seat and said that everyone in the plane levitated for a moment (to shouts of many unrepeatable words and whoopees). Needless to say, when we landed, everyone clapped. Once on the ground, we took the bus to Copan Ruinas, and met our host family.

Damos gracias a Dios por: Un buen viaje (Good travels)


Sunday-09/18
Our host family is Ernesto and Sara Vega.  They have 3 children 2 of which still live with them Sofia who is 25 and Dulce Maria (Sweet Maria! seriously) who is 13.  Their oldest son lives one block away with his wife and 2 children.  We were invited to go to church with them on Sun. and enjoyed the singing and scripture led by our host mother Sara.  They are believers and we have enjoyed having that in common.  After a much needed 3 hour Sunday afternoon nap we walked around the town and then watched a soccer game and Man vs. Wild (in Spanish with Bear Greeels) on TV with our family.  We have our own bedroom with private bath.  It even has a fancy (exposed wires) hot water attachment that really takes the bite out of personal hygiene time!  Sara feeds us 3 meals a day and even allowed us to make some tortillas with her on Sun.  They are very gracious and willing to tell us about their country and culture.  We’re looking forward to spending the next 2 weeks with them.

Damos gracias a Dios por: Nuestra familia quien nos recibe. (The family that's hosting us.)



Monday 09/19
As we lay in the dark (se fue la luz = electricity is out) in the middle of a massive rain/thunder storm we thought we’d write another update about the school.  Guacamaya Language School is only about a 10 minute walk on the way there, but feels like 45 coming back (uphill in the heat of the day). We’ll go for 4 hours in the morning and then review on our own in the afternoon/evening. The building is really nice, with little “study stables” out in a beautiful garden where we spend one-on-one time with our teachers. Kaleb’s teacher is Emma (or Ergmagmaea to my ears) and Stacey’s is Delmy. They both seem very kind. At first, Emma wasn’t very willing to make corrections, but as the day went on, she began to realize that we had a lot of work to do and became more helpful. Stacey’s teacher basically asked her if she wanted to teach instead.

Out of the many amusing exchanges between Kaleb and Emma, we managed to make do. The most interesting question I got was about my coffee.  I explained that I drank it black and without sugar, and she (seeming concerned for herself), asked if that truly made you grow hair on your chest (our non-English speaking tutor had apparently been lied to previously). I assured her that no, hair will magically sprout on your chest if your coffee isn’t sweet. Hopefully she’s relieved. I think that the classes will be beneficial for us both. My Spanish should improve, and Stacey should begin to even look Honduran by then end of it.

Damos gracias a Dios por: Oportunidad de mejorar como hablamos Espanol (Opportunity to improve our Spanish)

9/17/11

Here we go!

We're here at the Dayton airport, looking at gate for our flight to Newark, then on to San Pedro Sula! We've been so blessed to reach this point at 100% financial support for the coming year (counting your monthly and quarterly commitments). If you're interested in giving more and have not already committed, please consider waiting until next year; you never know, we may be there a little while extra.

Thanks again for your love and support. The next update will be from Honduras!

Grace and peace.
Kaleb and Stacey

9/13/11

Final Stop on the Subaru Express!


We’ve got our 4 bags packed for a year and await out flight this Sat. morning – Sept. 17th. We’ve finished our time visiting family in KY, OH, and PA and are now spending time in the Heart to Honduras stateside office in Xenia, OH before leaving out of the Dayton, OH airport. You can be praying for our meetings with stateside and Honduran staff as we plan for the future – that God would direct our conversations this week. We can’t thank our family and friends enough for hosting us and spending such good quality time with us. We feel very blessed to have had this time with all of you.

Please don’t forget to pray for our families while we’re gone! Support raising is getting close to 100% for the year – we can’t thank you enough for sacrificially giving to what God has called us to do. We couldn’t do it without you – literally!

9/8/11

Well, we’re finally off! As of yesterday, we have plane tickets for Honduras on Sept.17! As fun as it has been to see family, travel (live out of the back of an old Subaru), and catch up on sleep (substantially less), we’re really looking forward to moving on. The waiting game is over, and we’re headed south! Since we updated you on the Ohiotucky/Eldridge portion of our time off, we thought we’d fill you in on the Pennsylvania/Reeder time. Our three weeks in PA were also very busy. When we weren’t weathering earthquakes and hurricaines, we had the opportunity to speak at two churches and catch up with friends. We started our time off with some yard-saling. Oh, let the good times roll. We dragged ourselves to the gym daily, where we officially felt like the world’s biggest woosies. Apparently, all man/bull/bear hybrids were required to be at the North York Gold’s Gym at exactly the same time we were and lift precisely 10 times the amount that we could lift together. Needless to say, the gym time was beneficial, intimidating, and entertaining. We did a lot of reading, some tennis, some eating, some singing, some crying, some senior pictures, some Hershey Parking, some dog walking, and some doctor visiting. On the doctors visits…my mother-in-law, Debbie, and I tried to outdo each other with horrific sounding, yet relatively harmless injuries one day. That afternoon, Stacey and I were trying to clean up a tree that Hurricane Irene knocked down in the backyard. Long story short, the chainsaw misbehaved when I was holding a limb still with my foot and jumped onto my boot. Terrified, I ripped off my now-butchered boot, glared at my bloody,ripped sock and found the most innocent wound a chainsaw could ever inflict. Needless to say, I feel grateful and blessed. I am also at fault for Debbie’s wounding. I innocently decided to hand a corncob to the family terrier, Nittany, not realizing that the vile beast was obsessed with corn and butter and would not only gnaw on the cob, but try to swallow it hole. This realization led us to pile onto the dog, yelling, prying, pulling, pushing, and growling at her, trying to get it out of her throat. At the last minute, we managed to pop it out; however, Nittany, never a quitter, quickly leapt back at the cob, instead catching Debbie’s hand. It tore her hand up. Bad puppy. So, we decided to spend a little quality time in the Urgent Care. Precious memories. As I type this, we’re on the tail end of our PA time in Pittsburgh, spending time with our baby niece Alivia, a.k.a. Thunder Britches. She’s doing great, so are her mommy and daddy. All-in-all, we’ve had a great trip. So next, we’re headed back through Gallia county to pack up on our way back to the HtH Stateside office. From there, we’re flying from Dayton to San Pedro Sula, Hon. to start two weeks of immersive language school in Copan. While we’re there, we’ll update this blog as internet is available. Thanks again so much for all your prayers, thoughts, and support. We truly couldn’t do this without you. Please keep in touch, we’d love to hear how you all are doing as well.