A 4th of July in Latin America (7/4/12)
Today’s 4th of July wasn’t filled with the traditional BBQ and fireworks. In fact, I nearly forgot about the holiday while I’m away in Honduras. While most Hondureños know about the holiday, it isn’t celebrated here of course. Still, despite the lack of festivities I’m used to, I’d say today was a good day.
For breakfast, I tried to eat a sandwich (a hotdog bun with some meat on the inside) with butter on top. My host sister Marcela specifically asked me if I wanted it, and even though I’m not a fan of butter, I figured I’d try it anyway. Wrong choice. Quickly, I learned that I shouldn’t be shy about telling my host family when I don’t like something. They’re extremely understanding about it too. For today, though, Marcela and Oscar just watched and laughed as I scraped the butter off to the side. They say I’m weird for not liking butter, cheese, or milk. I suppose I am.
Work has been pretty slow. For now, I just have a lot of office work to do, and I have a ton of time to do it. While here, I’ve begun to realize that the work environment – at least at OYE – is completely different than in the United States. We can take two-hour lunch breaks (and that’s normal); project deadlines are flexible…very flexible; meetings are very informal, as well as the attire; and people actually talk and laugh in person, as opposed to sending each other e-mails when they’re right next to each other (I’m certainly guilty of this). It’s a rather nice change. At times, I wish we were more efficient and productive given my Type A personality, but so long as things get done in the end, it’s alright, I guess.
Likewise, I’m gaining a greater sense of what it’s like to work for an NGO. Put shortly, it’s (at least with this experience) a group of passionate people with limited resources, ready to make a change. We work in an old building. I have no idea what it could’ve been in the past. I don’t have my own “personal cubicle,” and occasionally, the power may go out. Still, everyone remains genuinely optimistic about their work. What’s most inspiring is that that optimism isn’t forced either. It’s just there; it stems from the love they have for youth in Honduras and their desire to impact positive change. I wish all organizations and companies could be like this.
One of the other things I love about OYE: I get time to hang out with just about anyone who stops by the office – random visitors, OYE scholars, and little kids! Today, it was Samuel (above). He’s adorable. Only about six years old, we went outside and played tag – he caught me! Afterwards, he showed me his favorite song, “Espérame, Jesús.” It was inspiring for me to see such a young child tell me his favorite song was a Christian one; it made me happy.
Random word of the day: Gancho – It means shorthand. One of Oscar’s best friends, Wilmer, is studying to be a bilingual secretary, and there’s this super weird shorthand method he has to learn (above). I’ve never seen anything like this; it’s stranger than a doctor’s handwriting!