Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11/12

Just noticed that I have pageviews from Russia, Germany, and Peru???I was surprised with the amount of pageviews from Russia too I think there's like 20?...verrrrry interesting. If you wanna tell me who you are that'd be pretty sweet cause I'm curious.
annyways
I'm continuing to be amazed on my Honduras semester. It's VERY rare for me to actually want to sit down, learn, and be engaged in class without my mind wandering. Every day I'm getting more and more excited because this is what I have a passion for and I'm blessed with the opportunity to learn more and more every day. At least in this point in my life, I feel as if this is what God is really calling me to do.
These past couple weeks have been crazy and very hands on in regards to our classes. A typical day would look like spanish class for about an hour in tegucigalpa, followed by three hour international development class, then a visit to various health clinics, a school, hospital, congress, and the US embassy as well. All very interesting,revealing, and hands on which is what I love. But VERY busy. Let's just say I'm blessed to have alot of coffee growing in my backyard. I've averaged about 1-2 cups per day now, and am drinking it straight black...makes me feel pretty sophisticated actually. But as you can tell,we not only learn in depth about all these institutions and how the government plays a part in them, but the day we study them in class we go to the institutions, and have the experts/ workers of the institutions teach us more about Honduras's policies and how they're structured. During and after these lectures, we then start to compare what we learn in class to what the workers/experts tell us of the places we've visited. It's interesting to also see the biases that the workers will sometimes portray. For instance, at the US Embassy, sometimes you could sense that based on some of the students' questions the ambassador was kind of tip toeing around certain questions.

These visits not only educated us, but opened our eyes as well. It's one thing to learn about the public hospital system and why it's awful, but it's another thing to go there and see it. The building was crummy and the place was overpopulated with many sick people who have been waiting all day to hopefully get an appointment.If they did get an appointment, they'd have to hope that the medication they needed didn't run out because the hospitals were understocked and they'd also have to hope that in their appointment they don't get infected by any of the equipment in the hospital because not all of it is steralized.  Some students in my group complained about being clostraphobic and rightly so, it was tough to walk around for even forty five minutes without being overwhelmed by the smell, sad faces of the sick, and hot clostrophobia that was surrounding us. My professor, living in Honduras for 26 years, also said that she would rather have her baby at home than in the public hospital that we visited, one of the two largest in Honduras. Honduras recently had  some of the worst cases of dengue and most deaths because the hospitals ran out/couldn't supply simple water and salt solution to give to the patients when they were in need. It'd be one thing if Honduras was just poor and couldn't afford these certain things, but so many corrupt people stand in the way of the sick getting what they need. The money is there, graciously being donated by various organizations and nations funding the government, but it's being intercepted and given to people that use it for personal benefit. And when you see the faces of the sick and desperate in light of the corruption and greediness of selfish man, it gives you nothing but motivation to take those men down.  But it's not so easy.So many people are involved and the structure is so unorganized in Honduras that it's an extremely complex task.
We also visited a local school in Santa Lucia. While this school is known as the cream of the crop. It was lacking in many other ways. There was essentially no library and no playground, basically the essentials for schools in the US. I heard certain teachers were trained well, but the class that I sat in on the teacher was very non-chalant and allowing kids to run around and do essentially whatever they want as she wrote on the board. Granted, there were gringos in the room and they were quite distracted..but still. An underlying theme that one can see in the Honduran system is that the resources and funds are there but so many times does it go to the wrong hands. The education system is a mess here. Honduras is in the top three in central america when it comes to funds that go to education, but is in the bottom two in regards to the quality of education in central america (I think there are about 7 countries in central america). This is a complex issue because the teachers unions have much power in honduras. An example of how/why is mel zelaya, a president thrown out by a coup in 2009 (very big topic in honduras) who before he was thrown out, took the mass amount of money (I think in the billions) that was donated by other countries/organizations in order to be given to the poor and invested it in teachers raises. Someone from the organization Trasformemos Honduras came into class the other day and stated that 50% of teachers are hired in the proper manner, meaning the well trained teachers are not getting hired due to corruption. And many teachers are put on the pay roll, but don't even show up to work. Rediculous! And when a new president comes in and says that the teachers can't have raises, they strike which then takes even more school days away from the kids (it's already incredibly low at 112 days of classes). So as you can see, it's incredibly complex and corrupt. And in that 15 minutes that I visited the classroom, man o man were the kids cute. The high majority of kids in Honduras don't make it past sixth grade. And to see the smiling faces of these kids in light of the corrupts greed and backdoor deals that lead to their absence does nothing but anger me.
On facebook you can see some pictures that my professor kurt took. We got to sit in the congress, talk in the mics, and sit in the presidents chairs. We got to sit in the room where certain special parties/events are held and look at all the pictures of the former presidents of congress. Wherever we went people treated us so well, I think it was due to the fact that peopl don't tend to visit the places we did. Much corruption obviously goes on in congress and they side often with the teachers unions because that's where the moneys at. It's interesting though because in class we learned that this is at fault due to the parents and the power of their vote in the democratic government. They could elect anyone they want to essentially because they have the numbers against the rich, but there are many reasons that get in the way of that.
While it's easy to get down about these issues and look at what's wrong, much is being done to hold the politicicans and teachers accountable. Organizations such as ASJ (which my professors started) have embarked on various justice projects and are striving to hold these people accountable.They partner with other organizations as well and investigate, research, and take many people to court. But it's never easy with the structure that's set up here, courts are slow and ineffiecient and corrupt. That's why we must call on the Lord for our help and strength in time when we need patience, for there is no one better that we can go to for that. As Kurt quotes from 1st John 4:18, "Perfect Love drives out fear" which is the main bible verse behind ASJ.
Something that's really stuck out to me is that it's so easy to overlook the privilege we've had all our life in the states with what seems so basic to us. We've had amazing hospitals and schools, and I can't imagine only having a sixth grade education which is what the majority of the Honduran children have.It's so easy to overlook these essentials in our life, but when there's an absence of these essentials in countries, your heart can do nothing but break for them.
Spanish is getting better slowly by the way, I just realized that my papa here is only a farmer of coffee, beans, etc. right in my backyard and I thought he told me he sold construction equipment in the past....prettty bad on my part.

There's pics on facebook about our groups weekend getaway to amapala, an island of an old volcano that we hiked up. It was real fun....except our cab got hit by a gigantic cow that was running. I was about a foot away from getting hit in the face by those giant horns. Everyone was fine but it was a small cab that was basically a moped for 5, so there were no doors if you can picture it. Scary and crazy!!! the cow right after jumped over a 4 foot barbed wire fence! cows got HOPS here.

lesson:
1. tip cows in honduras whenever possible. its better to have them laying on the ground than running into your taxi.


Thanks for your time and interest everyone! Love the comments and God bless!

2 comments:

  1. Wow...you ARE learning a lot! Keep immersing yourself in it and see where the Lord takes you...I'm sure you will do great things. Love you!

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  2. I'm so excited for you that you found your passion and maybe even your calling.I love hearing all about what you are learning and your observations. So glad you avoided the big horns this time. Be careful!!!!! I wonder where your calling will take you in the future....probably far away from home....eek! For now...enjoy and soak it all up. You are so blessed to have this experience....with the help of Calvin College. love ya, mom

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