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The Trip Down: "Hopping Tezra"

Looking back on my journey through Mexico and Central America, Part III.

Tezra (left) and me, with my trusty backpack in Tegucigalpa. Note the crutches, and read on to hear about the hopping!

This is the third in a series of posts here on the blog. I am doing a review of my life and travels throughout Latin America, and I thought I would unearth my former blog for you, dear reader. I first wrote these next posts on my way to Costa Rica back in 2008. That was when, in August, I flew to Mexico City and proceeded to take buses through Southern Mexico and the four other Central America countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua) until I reached Costa Rica.

I had decided that this would be a good idea, since I had friends in all of the capitals of these countries. It would be like a classic US-road trip to see friends, just on King Quality (Greyhound-style) buses, with border crossings and passport checkpoints, sleeping in hostels or in indigenous villages in the jungle, and carrying all of the possessions that I planned on using for the next year of my life. Mom and Dad, how you let me do this trip, I’ll never know, but I’m glad you did.

It is at once inspiring, terrifying, embarrassing, and nostalgia-inducing to read these posts. I like to think that my writing has improved some since I wrote them. And my confidence. Some of my “major insights” or observations from back then today do not seem all that major. I miss being 24 and jetting off to explore countries I love. And I also don’t miss it – after all, I now have a great husband, two fun kids, and more good fortune than I or anyone deserves.

I am embarrassed and surprised to read some facts in these lines, because of how I felt at the time, or because I had totally forgotten about them until going back and reading. Some of them are important (I’ll show you a real doosey when I get to Managua, Nicaragua)!

Here is the third installment, originally entitled “Hopping Tezra.” It's the first half of a post I made from Nicaragua, but has to do with Honduras. Next week, Managua.


September 7, 2008

Whew! Another set of incredible days. I am really enjoying this method of traveling: seeing people that I know and becoming part of their lives for a day…

I arrived to Tegucigalpa on Sept 4, and got myself out to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a Catholic organization in the countryside about 40 minutes outside the city where my friend Tezra works as an English teacher and volunteer with the kids, there. As we wound around the hills outside of the city, I wasn't sure what to expect, or where exactly to get off. Haha! But we finally found the sign after having entered a road under the cover of thick dark clouds that started to spill huge raindrops. It's the rainy season in all of Central America, but I had not seen such rain, yet! Like a very satisfying showerhead: plenty of pressure and a good concentration of drops. Only I didn't want a shower, because I had to walk around a bit in the complex to find Tezra.

NPH is a pretty big organization, founded 30 years ago (after a successful start in Guatemala). In Honduras there are 500 kids that live there, basically out in the woods in a large complex of houses, schools, a large vegetable garden, store, kitchen, chapel, etc. They have come because they are orphaned, or cannot be taken care of by their parents, or they have gotten into some kind of trouble. At NPH they go to school and live in "hogares" or homes with other kids. The hogares are headed by "tíos" or "tías" who are like the dorm parents. It's about 1 tío to every 7 kids. It's very beautiful, with pine trees and mountain trails, birds and frogs singing along the paths.

When I arrived Tezra showed me her house where she lives with 5 other volunteers (there are about 30 in all), and then we headed over to dinner with her hogar. That was especially interesting: as we were walking down the paths, a brigade of people carrying coolers passed us going the other way. Tezra explained that the food is cooked in the kitchen, and then carried to the different hogares in the coolers. The drink is transported in a big bucket with a wheelbarrow. Haha!

The big meal of the day is lunch, so for dinner we had a modest meal of eggs, tortillas, and cheese. And the drink was a hot juice/tea. It was just fine. The kids come with their plates and get a spoonful of food before they sit down to eat. It was one of the girls' birthdays, so Tezra had made a chocolate/plantain cake for everyone in the hogar to share (about 28 girls).

After dinner, we went to the common room of the hogar (there is a bed room with bunks 3 high, a bathroom area with common sinks, and the common room, which has open space and some chairs and tables, and some of the girls' lockers. They had a religion class time, before bed. The girls in Tezra´s hogar are 10-14 years old, and they are all pretty spunky. Lots of dancing and laughing and shouting. It was fun.

And yes, hopping Tezra… Tezra currently has a cast on her leg, so she did a lot of springing around while the girls played with her crutches. It's a long walk between the buildings on the campus, so I'm sure she will be glad to have the cast off in two weeks.

The next day I went with a group of the volunteers back to the city to the immigration office so that they could get their Honduran residency. It was quite a long wait (4 hours), and they still have to go back again this week to do some more things. But it was a good chance to spend more time with Tezra and get to know her friends a bit. We had lunch at Pizza Hut. Haha! The strange thing about US chain restaurants in Latin America is that they are fancier, with fancy desert menus and extras like chicken wings and lots of choices of ¨combos.¨ And there is also the obligatory play-place ("Divertilandia" this one was called).

I had a great time! Thanks, Tezra!!!!!


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