Friday, August 04, 2006

Today I find myself in Gracias trying to pick up books for my eighth and ninth graders. The Educatodos office is closed and no one is here. All week in site I dreamt of bolibaleadas (flour tortilla with beans, eggs, cream, and queso duro) at my favorite restaurant, El Jarron. The restaurant is closed and no one is here. Gracias is often a place for compromise and flexibility, a good place for practicing patience. So I ate bolibaleadas at Exquisitas instead, and they put a half of an avocado on each, something I love. Sometimes flexibility and compromise pay off in a big way. This week primary school has been canceled due to teacher strikes in Tegucigalpa. The government doesn’t understand its teachers´ needs and the kids suffer. As in the States (but worse here I think), teachers are underappreciated and under paid. My counterpart in Cruz Alta just finished her university degree in administration. Our municipality offered her an administrative position within the educational system with more hours, more responsibility, and the same pay. And in the end the teachers strike and the kids don’t go to school. I don’t strike; I don’t get paid to teach here so there isn’t a problem. So I’m here in Gracias, trying to hunt down text books. We finished our last workbooks two weeks ago, it takes two weeks for the kids to come up with the money to pay for the books, it takes me a couple of days, usually, to find the books and carry them up to Cruz Alta. Every cycle we seem to lose more and more time, but this is the way things work here and one way or another the school year will finish. If I look back in my journal I will see that I was doing the exact same thing a year ago. For now I assume that time is cyclical and I am merely performing the small rituals that hold my small universe together. My actions are valid and necessary. My time is not wasted.


Blogger Mike Sheppard said...


I just came across your journal about your adventures in Honduras. I added a link to your page to a database I collected of Peace Corps Journals and blogs:

1. Contains over 1,300 journals and blogs from Peace Corps Volunteers serving around the world.
2. The main page is user-friendly. There are regional-specific pull-down menus to select your country of choice.
3. Clicking on the actual word of the region on the main page brings to an encyclopedia article specific to that region.
4. Each country has its own detailed page that can directly linked to, and which are easily accessible with a possible slow Internet connection within the field. (In other words, no fancy graphics that take forever to load up in the middle of Africa)
5. A detailed map for every country that becomes interactive, via Google, once clicked on.
6. Facts, Encyclopedia articles, and Peace Corps specific web pages for each country is available through following one of four links at the bottom of each map.
7. A list of the entire staff of Peace Corps worldwide, with contact information, on every country-specific page.
8. Official rules and regulations for PCV Journals and blogs in the “More Information” menu.
9. Links to Graduate School Programs affiliated with Peace Corps, and RPCVs Regional Associations.
10. There is an e-mail link on every page. If you want to add a Journal, spotted a dead link, or have a comment.

Thanks for volunteering with the Peace Corps!

-Mike Sheppard
RPCV / The Gambia

7:32 PM  

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