(Disclaimer: some of these things have only happened once.)
…you found once that it only takes three weeks for the yard to come up to your knees.
…you followed the trail through your knee-length grass to your trash-burning pit.
…you can’t use the paper that was left overnight in the school’s copy machine as it’s too humid.
…you buy green Dole bananas that aren’t export quality from the back of a pick-up truck that drives by the house every week.
…you feel like it’s time for bed as soon as the sun sets (at 6:30 p.m.!).
…you step over the pair of mating scorpions to get into your house.
…you think the fun thing to do after school is to go sit in the river for awhile.
…you take your shampoo along to the river since the water is currently out.
…you discover the water is out because some brilliant person with a pistol shot a hole through the town’s water supply as the pipe crosses the river.
…you have a day off school because there’s been so much rain that the bus which brings students from further up the valley cannot ford the river, depriving the school of a third of its students.
…you stop to tie up the wandering burro in the city so it doesn’t get hit by the heavy traffic.
…you talk about taking the burro home with you if its owners don’t claim it by tomorrow.
…you chase the neighbors pigs out of the yard so they don’t eat your newly planted trees.
…you brush off your clothes after the bus ride to the city, creating a little cloud of dust.
…you see a rare bright blue butterfly, with a three inch wingspan in your yard.
…you go through half the bottle of sweet chili sauce in a week that your parents brought down.
…you need to make sure you copy your test a day in advance unless the electricity is out the day of the exam.
…you feel there’s a drought when it hasn’t rained in three days.
…you are reminded when rolling out of bed a half an hour before school starts that one student walked for an hour down a mountain to get to the bus stop for another half hour ride to school.
…you find new leaks in the roof when you set a new rug out.
…you have ‘rare’ and beautiful (and annoying) yellow birds that start tapping on the windows at five in the morning.
…you are so hungry for salsa, which they don’t have here, that you pay the price for what’s exported from the US.
…you watch the local traffic of cows, pigs, and dogs wander past the front gate to your house everyday.
…you have to remind yourself that the ‘normal’ students you teach sometimes don’t have enough food to eat and that some have an awful home life or have been abandoned by their parents.
… you sit outside waiting for the 6:30 am bus to blow it’s horn as it fords the river, since that’s the ride to church.
…you find that the 6:30 am Sunday bus is already packed to standing-room-only for the hour ride to La Ceiba, but you climb on anyways.
…you find a new trail of termites into the house, which disappears into an old desk that’s probably already half-eaten.
…you find that one of your students who is frequently absent doesn’t come to school when it rains a lot, as she has to be carried across a river by her father or brothers to get to the bus stop.
…you wish technical support could tell you how to keep ants from inhabiting your computer.
We have just finished something big here this past week, called Entre Líderes (between leaders). Jason got the idea into his head and his heart to try and help out the local business community in La Ceiba. The idea was to have a conference with speakers, both local and international, who would give free training in business and self-development concepts. Business resources like this are rare here, so we know this can really be a help.
Well, with a lot of work, which was mostly on Jason’s shoulders due to my slow Spanish, we pulled off a three night conference, attended by between 70-100 people each night. They were taught about setting goals, client service, making their dream a reality, and how to work with their strengths. It was a success!
The fun part was that my Dad was one of the speakers, so we had my parents, Paul and Beth McCready, and my 12-year-old brother Matthias down to visit us. It was really great to have some time to spend with them and to have them see where we live and what we do here.
It was an amazing thing to see Jason come up with the idea and really make it happen in the space of a year. It did however take a lot of work. He rode on the bus to La Ceiba a lot, sometimes to be there for only an hour before he had to turn around and catch the last bus back to our house. He worked very hard on the project for most of September and the first half of October. For promoting the event, Jason was interviewed by a big, local radio station, and we did a lot of one-on-one contact with local businesses. To accomplish this we had several students from our school help us for several Saturdays. They would go from business to business, asking what challenges the owners faced, and then inviting them to come to our event. We really appreciated their willingness to jump in and help out, even the times it wasn’t convenient, like when the truck we were using quit working on our way down the mountain.