Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Intermission of a GREAT Journey

Hello Everyone!

Today is my first official day back in the U.S. after having to leave Honduras so abruptly for security reasons. We had our 3-day Close of Service Conference in Tegucigalpa which was a lot of information about transitioning back into the U.S. culture (consumerism, independence, solitary living, speaking English, etc.) We also talked a lot about why we're leaving Honduras and some of the statistics of the crime rate which were quite convincing. One that I remember was how in our area, in 2010, there were a recorded 82 murders for a population of 100,000 people. In the U.S. our murder rate for 100,000 people is around 6....so that is quite different! Yes...so, there was some quite telling data.

The conference overall was good...we had time to visit with other volunteer friends, turn in all the important paperwork, programs, reports, medical exams, pooping in cups, etc. and we had fun times with our groups. We (as Youth Development Volunteers) had a t-shirt decorating night and then all of us volunteers had a dance party/open-mic night the last night at the Maya Hotel. We got to dance BACHATA!! I love bachata so much!!

The time leaving my community the week before the conference was rough. I got back from the Christmas holidays to have a week in site before the conference in Teguz. During this week I was literally visiting all the families in my town, giving things away, explaining the situation, finishing projects, and trying to enjoy myself as much as possible. I spent lots of time with friends, we (Yanori, Regina, some others and I) went on a picnic and had a little hiking adventure where we got lost like 3 times looking for this lady's house in the mountains...lol. I will never forget that. Cristino and I visited this lady who was sick and brought her some food and good plactica. Isabel and I talked and cried.

Then, the last night that I was there in San Jose, we had a going away party where Maridi, Mabel, Regina, Yanori, Cristino, Isabel, Prof. Erica and her daughter, Marta, and I got together and danced, ate some chop souy, they all said some words about me (Isabel couldn't talk for crying) and then danced some more! We danced to Cristino's LMFAO cd where he danced vulgarly until the little girl came in the room and then he was too embarassed...lol. I have a video. LOL. Then, we danced bachata (I danced with Regina), some other booty music with Regina and Yanori (lol) and then ranchera when, por fin, Cristino danced with me and then later Mabel danced with me to a really sad song about leaving but staying connected. It was all very sad and we cried. Isabel cried the whole time. But, then, we all went home and I packed. Then, there was the light of day the next day. This last day I mainly spent at the house, watched some tv, hung out with the people in my house, and that was it. Sara and Cristino drove me to the main rode where I then had my last hugs and "call me's" and I left on the busito with the other volunteers to Teguz for the conference.

We ate Mexican food in La Paz and then got the hotel when I found out that, out of the 143 volunteers, I was the only fortunate one to get a room to myself with a king size bed and a corner room with windows all around...it was SOO beautiful.

So, I wake up the next day at the hotel and it's all very surreal. Where are all the familiar faces that I've seen for the last 19 months of my life? Is it true that I am leaving...it already feels like I'm so far away yet I'm still in Honduras...just not in San Jose. It was VERY sad those first few days in the conference. I cried myself to sleep a couple of nights and was bombarded with feelings of hopelessness and loss and despair and what am I doing? Can I stay in Honduras? But why and what would I do? What about my student loans? What about my family and the future I want to have? BUT, what about the family that I'm leaving behind in Honduras? How can I visit these people just once a year? Is that enough...how is this going to work? The weight of all these feelings and decisions was really heavy on my heart. I can't believe how close I've gotten to many people in my town. Will this feeling of closeness always be there...or will it fade away which would be really sad? How do I keep these connections strong? What do I do with my life, God?

Some good news after all this craziness of emotions...I am already planning a visit to Honduras around May/June/July this year (2012), Isabel is going to work on getting her Visa to come visit and maybe we can meet up in the states, and Cristino is working on his Visa right now to come see me the end of this year. SO, I know some how this will all work out and in the mean time, we are calling each other, messaging, and talking on Facebook. It's just SO crazy to have someone in your life so much and then have them so far away. But, I believe God knows what he's doing and He will work everything out according to His master plan that is greater than ours could ever be.

So, as of now, I am searching/applying for jobs (prayerfully a government job)and finishing up my Grad school application also. Also, for general goals, I want to clean this house, lose some weight (goal:15 lbs.), get into a good church, connect with some friends, and stay connected with those in Honduras.

Love you all!
Victoria :)

The Peace Corps Office in Teguz.

Sara Victoria, the baby (Victoria) and I. There where 3 of us ladies with the name Victoria in the house! lol.

Jorge Emilio and I...the son of the lady that I lived with (Sara)

Aida and I in front of the store in front of the house.

Cristino and I in front of our respective rooms.

Paula and I in the kitchen.

The going away party...the food portion.

My room in the Maya Hotel in Teguz with the view.

In the Atlanta airport with all my luggage...and look I just bought that scarf in Teguz...isn't it pretty? It also functions as a shawl. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Time in GA!

Hello Everyone!

So, I'm at home in GA!! Got here December 19th and return to Honduras Jan. 6th!! This Christmas was GREAT...we went to a Christmas Eve Service at 12 Stone Church here nearby the house. We sung Christmas songs, talked about the Lord, all that He's done for us, sang some more, had some glow stick action, and prayed out. :)

Also, of course, we did some shopping... I have my first pair of skinny jeans. lol. They are SO much better with boots than regular jeans. Also, I have many new earrings, TONS of chocolates (the good stuff!), books, a purse, 2 watches, etc. I feel quite blessed. Also, I got a manicure and pedicure as well as eyebrow wax...I feel very womanly, as I should. lol :)

THEN, tomorrow, the real fun starts...I'm about to possibly climb Stone Mountain, go bowling, go skating, or ice skating, and to the movies!! Those are the best gifts...doing fun things with fun people and laughing hysterically as I always need to!!

It has definitely been interesting coming back home to GA...I missed Honduras really bad those first couple of days, but now I think I'm ok. Still pretty anxious to get back to Honduras, but I am enjoying myself at home. Everything is pretty different here, though... everything is cleaner, there's no trash on the streets, people are more trusting (possibly because we actually have a police force that does there job), everything is SOOO techy (everyone is on their iPhone or has their Wii or whatever), and everyone speaks English (sometimes I forget this and speak Spanish...but no one's complained yet...lol).

But, anyways, all is well. I'm glad to be home...eating A LOT, but playing that XBox Kinect game too (the dance one and the other games, so hopefully I won't be gaining too much weight with all these sweets and chocolates. :)

Hope everyone has/had an awesome Christmas and see you in the NEW YEAR!! Many changes to come I feel!

Victoria :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Grand Vacation

Hello Everyone!

Por fin, Tiffany (Yuna) and I went on vacation...we met in Copan Ruinas at the frontera between Honduras and Guatemala. We spent 1 day in Copan looking at the old Mayan ruins...she did cartwheels and I went in a tunnel. We got caught in the rain one time and sang our little hearts out!! We talked the WHOLE time...it was so much fun. It was incredible that we never ran out of things to say. I suppose it was 2 years since we`d seen each other...long over due I say! We also enjoyed ice cream, cooked in the hostel (La Manzana Verde) which was SO pretty and clean.

Then, we went to my site in San José, La Paz. The bus ride was AWESOME...we laughed and talked the whole time. Once in San José, the first thing we did was try the baleadas (flour tortillas with beans, cheese, mantiquilla, and eggs) with some of the best coffee in San Josè!! She feel in love with both and we ended up ordering another coffee...lol. We`re officially addicts. Then, we went home, cooked pies with apples and another with coconut and talked all night... The next day, we visited people in San Josè, walked around a little, she tried dulce de leche, more coffee, pan de casa (fresh hand-made bread), and we just hung around.

Then, we left again, but this time for TELA!! We had no idea where we would stay so the first thing we did was ask around for a cheap place...we stayed one night in a hotel about 4 blocks from the beach...then we went (as usual) to eat...this time we ate fish at a hotel right on the beach!! The fish was quite big and we also had tajaditas (fried green plantains...you must try them...will cook them when I get home!) with a salad and rice. It was quite delicious and we sat down and talked for a long time with the guy that was working there because we were his only clients...lol. During this talk, Tiffany asks Jairo how much a room would cost and that is how it begins...we get a discount and the next day we are officially in the new hotel (Hotel Emmanuel) that is right on the beach. We wend up walking on the bach at night and talking/singing. Then, we end up kayaking during which I fall off the first time as Tiffany is laughing and not being helpful. Then, once we finally get on the kayak, it`s easy sailing. :) But, Tiffany ends up feeling bad, so we go back in...talk with Jairo...lol...then go back out to sail when Tiffany loses her bottle and sandals and I fall out of the kayak once again to regain our things...once out at sea...we flip over from a big wave. LAUGHING the whole time!! It was definitely the highlight of the whole trip digo yo. LOL... Then that night, we treat ourselves to a pretty expensive dinner of fish and shrimp with coconut bread, salad, more tajaditas, and virgin margaritas.

The next morning, our trip ends, we say our goodbyes and plan for our next trip in January...this time in Guatemala. :)

HI tried to put photos, but couldn`t...will try later,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September/October-The Time of Endings

This time has been CRAZY!!! I have finished so many large projects-COLGATE, Yo Merezco and Yo Tambien Merezco, and TEAM 3. It feels good to be ending!

COLGATE finally ended after 6 months of teaching a whole elementary school of 100 kids each week about dental hygiene. It was so lovely to end that project even though it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of work because I got help from the other 5 teachers. And now, that it is over, I have formed really close friendships with many of the kids and the teachers. I still get invited to attend many of the school activities. Also, next year, I think they want me to come back and do something else, so I will see about having a reading program there since Peace Corps has given us a large box with over 100 books to use in our communities.

Yo Merezco and Yo Tambien Merezco is about abstinence, self-esteem, making good choices, preventing HIV/AIDS, learning the responsibilities of having children and being married, etc. This project we did with a high school class of 28 students for their fieldwork. There were 10 groups that went out into 9 different villages or communities throughout my town and taught the 2 programs to either a group of girls or boys. OMG…I got a lot of exercise during these 3 months going to each of these groups to supervise them in all the villages, give them suggestions on how to improve the classes, etc. In the end, around 193 children participated!

TEAM 3 is an English Class that we teach to teachers who then use what they learn to go into the classroom and teach their students. So, I have been teaching them techniques to improve their class, grammar rules, vocabulary, etc. for 6 months.

So, this information is brought to you just because I thought you might be interested or at the least curious to know of my work here in Honduras…not just my travels and cultural insights. Lol.

AND NOW??…I am ready to TRAVEL!!! I can’t wait to see Tiffany, and Wiatta as we travel in 2 weeks! YAY for a vacation! :)

Whadaya have-COFFEE!!

These are the rosquillas in coffee in a normal cup of coffee. This is SO delicious!

These are some of the bread varieties that are offered in the stores.

This is a coffee plant with a ripe coffee bean (the red one).

Coffee in a tin

Living in my town, a coffee town that grows tons of coffee, I have come to respect the art of growing, collecting, processing, and of course drinking the oh so common, but luxurious beverage that is coffee.

Just so you know how awesome our coffee is…and so you can be jealous that I get tons of this coffee…in a worldwide competition, our coffee (in the region) was voted number 1 or 3 or something crazy like that. Meaning? OUR COFFEE IS GOOD.

You may be wondering…I thought Victoria didn’t drink coffee…well, when I first arrived to my town, they couldn’t believe it either and so began the slow assimilation that was basically mandatory to live in my town. Even the babies…yes, the babies drink coffee!!! There is a little baby in my house who just turned 1 years old and has been drinking coffee for awhile already…not sure this is good for the little guy, but it’s the reality. This is to give you the context that coffee is definitely the beverage of choice.

Everywhere you will go, you will be offered coffee. It is served for breakfast, sometimes after breakfast but before lunch, at 3-4p.m., and at dinner. This is a LOT of coffee. Right, now, I try to drink only 1-2 cups a day. The one good thing I will say about this is that the cups really are cups…they aren’t huge mugs or anything like that…they are like tea cups.

Also, on the way to my town and throughout my town, you will see coffee plants! People have them in separated farms and even in their back yard. Right now, they’ve actually started picking the coffee as the coffee season is upon us!

So, how is coffee processed? (In my words)
1. Grow it in little small bags.
2. Move the plant once it’s bigger to a field so it can grow to full maturity in around a year.
3. Pick the red coffee fruit/bean. Take off outer shell.
4. Dry the red coffee fruit/bean.
5. Grind this dried fruit/bean to make the coffee grinds that then make the beverage.

Other fast facts about coffee:
COST -L3 for a cup of coffee ($.15)
-L45 per pound of ground coffee (~$2.50)
What do we have with our coffee-normally fresh bread, a tortilla, or rosquillas (corn meal and cheese donut shaped cookie) that are delicious when you put them inside the cup of coffee and the inflate and it’s glorious!

Hope this was fun and informative to read! :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Vital Information

HELlo, HEllo, Hello,

Things have been interesting as always here in San José. I am once again the only American here in San José…however, supposedly I should be getting a volunteer visit in about a week so that a volunteer can sort of shadow me in my daily activities to see what it means to be a volunteer.

Speaking of volunteers, there is new news in the Peace Corps world…as of now, the volunteers in Honduras have to live with a host family the whole 2 years (they can´t live alone) because of the increased crime against volunteers who live alone. Furthermore, because of the economic situation in the states, PC volunteers can no longer extend for an extra year. That news surely made my mother happy. Lol. At one time I had actually considered extending, but I don´t think I really have a reason to now anyways and I no longer have the opportunity…everything always works out accordingly to God´s plan digo yo.

My activities are going well in my site…busy, but not really. One thing I have managed to do is DELEGATE and work with my community, which is supposedly more sustainable…I shall pray about this. There are very few activities and programs that I actually do by myself. This is good because while working with the Honduran counterparts, we are both learning from each other and gaining skills (me-patience and understanding).

I´m still living with my first host family…but the other house that I will officially move in to now has a toilet, so things are at least progressing. The lady told me that I should be able to move in 2 weeks or so once she gets the doors put in for the bathroom, shower, and my bedroom. (I believe necessities…right now there are just curtains or nothing covering these very private areas).
Speaking of toilets…the toilet in my house right now does not always flush very well…so sometimes I encounter nasty little treats because people forget or do not know (which one I´m not sure) how to correctly dispose of their wastes. I will share with you this important information in the case that you find yourself using a latrine one day (a toilet that does not flush):

1. Do your business.
2. After wiping…please fold your tissue conservatively and throw it in the trash so that other people using the bathroom do not have to see your waste.
3. Pick up the pailita (little bucket or bowl).
4. Fill it with water from the pila (large stone holding of water…also where you wash your hands and your clothes).
5. ¨Throw¨ the water (it is an art I have discovered) into the toilet at the angle in which the water goes down the hole…don´t dump the water straight down, but at a sort of angle. You will learn the technique with practice.
6. IMPORTANT…afterwards, you must wait to hear the slurpy type noise that will follow signifying that the toilet has indeed flushed. If you do not hear this noise…you must repeat steps 3-6 until this noise ensues.
7. Please, please, please, wash your hands…use the pailita once again to get the water out of the pila and use the bar of soap strategically placed at the pila…lather and YA!!

Right, so now you know…maybe one day you will be able to experience using a latrine (if you come visit me you could…)! But, no, normally the toilet works quite normally. I just wanted to share this information with you.

Well…on to more excited things…the countdown officially began as I now have 4 ½ months before returning to the states for Christmas and New Year!!! Yay!!

I can´t wait to see you all and the time is going by so fast. Anyways, I hope everyone is having a good time, not working too hard!

P.S.-I think it´s interesting that right now I´m reading two books with similar titles ¨The Sacred Heart¨ and ¨The Sacred Romance¨. Also, Kelsey and Tope (maybe Shetoria)…I just read a great Christian Romance novel called ¨Bookends¨ by Elizabeth Clark Higgins (I think that was her name)…It was SOO good!

Love ,

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Hi All!!

Pues, yo se que estan esparando las fotos...entonces aqui estan...miranlas y disfrutan!!

This is my
COLGATE program with one of the teachers givig the charla...the kids are cute.

This is my birthday...the three little girls all made me things out of flowers and wrote my letters. lol.

This is also my birthday...when I went to my friends house in another town and we made the srawberry cheescake!! It was SOO good...I def. had a theme of red for my birthday with the clothes, the cheescake and then my friend got my a strawberry pinata...lol!

Playing at the soccer field in Camalote...with the Amigos de Americas. This guy is one of them...Roberto or Robert.

Excursion...beautiful view!! Yes, I spend most of my time walking up mountains going on excursions with the youth...I can not complain about life. lol

The Amigos de Americas...another help organization, but with high schools and me!

Las Marias...these ladies are awesome! They make the best bread or pan in town...I am always searching them out as my sweet tooth is ridiculous.

Making bread...the quick and easy way in the horno. It takes like 5 or 10 min. in this thing because it is incredibly hot and efficient.

Some of the girls in the youth group...on the excursion to Camalote otra vez y siempre.

This little guy is so cute brushing his teeth...he is really enjoying himself! Good for him...keeping those teeth clean!

Hope you enjoyed,