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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baby Steps at the Local School

As Ira has already written, we are now in Belize and it has been quite the road trip to get here. Just figured I would add a few of my own thoughts. Before I say anything about our travels though, I just wanted to write about some of the things that have been going on lately with our community outreach at the local elementary school. The girls and I started going to the local school at first because we just wanted to see what it was like and I thought it would be nice for Olivia to be around some more kids. The students at Leadership Center are required to go each Thursday (in two rotating groups) to teach English to the students. Their primary goal right now is to become fluent in English, and what vetter way to learn than to teach it! Plus in this way they can practice sharing their knowledge with more people in the community starting with the children at school. There have been several opportunities for me to help the girls teach, guiding them and providing materials and also for me to teach some lessons in English and just play around with the kids. Olivia has taken a little while warming up to many of the kids at the school because she is a little bit younger and because of the language barrier. For the first time last week she started really playing with a bunch of the girls (other than Jessice, who she plays nicely with when we visit her house and it is more one on one-they have figured ut how to play without needing vocal language!). Anyways, I turn around after changing Sicily and Olivia has a bunch of girls holding hands in a circle dancing around to "ring around the rosy"! After a couple rounds--and they all got the "we all fall down" part really well as they all broke out in giggles as Olivia urged everyone to fall to the ground at that part- the Honduran girls started trying to imitate the words as they danced and Olivia sang the poem over and over. It was a priceless scene. Afterwards, they tried to teach Olivia one of their "playground songs."
I have the opportunity to teach Saturday morning class at the University so last week I talked about the importance of the teaching assignment at the elementary school. I think these girls are a great asset to the local community. I hope they will inspire the local younger students to value their education and look beyond 8th grade. (insert prayer--Please God provide opportunities for the kids who want to continue their educatin, reach for higher goals and help their families to have a better life.) I plan to spend the next several Saturdays preparing lessons with the girls (university students that is) for their Thursday teaching time at the elementary school. Olivia's "homeschool" and craft materials are going to be great idea genertors and supplies for this project, yipee! Bring on the Bingo :)
One other fun thing that has come out of our weekly (often bi-weekly) presence at the school is that several of the little boys have been coming to our house to play and hang out. On days they dont have class (there is no school whenever the teacher can't/decides not to come, at least once a week) and some days after school, the boys make the 1 hour walk to visit us!! We love it, Olivia and the boys take turns riding her little glider bike, playing hide and chase around inside and out of the house (you can easily run straight through the house when both doors are open), and they have even enjoyed doing art projects (we made egg carton caterpillars one day!) and building with the few legos we have. note: if anyone wants to send toys (lego sets, sports balls...what other activities can you think of forboys ags 7-11ish?) that would be great for these sweet little guys.
ok well, that was way longer than I expected and now I must sleep, but hopefully I will have a chance to add some of my thoughts about our roadtrip soon before I forget the craziness ;) I will jut say one thing, it was so awesome to get to spend time with the families and visit the homes and towns of two ofthe students we teach and live with. It really put into perspective for me where these girls are coming from, the committment it takes for their families to allow them to take a break from their responsibilities at home, travel hundreds of miles away (when perhaps they have never before traveled more than two towns over) with people their families do not know in a country that has areas that are not at all safe. The rareity of this opportuniy makes it all the more important for these girls to succeed in their education and in turn to be examples in their communities as good, honest people who can lead and inspire change with wisdom, confidence, and creativity.

A cheerful heart is like good medicine

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones"
(Prov. 17:22)
Our silly laughter filled the classroom as Olivia, Sicily and I danced around and played while waiting for an email to send and pictures to post just a few days before we were to leave campus . Zuelmi, one of the girls studying at Leadership Center, couldn't help but giggle at us as she sat using a computer in this room which doubles as a computer lab. She began to explain why it is so good to have a family with children living on the campus. I am so glad the joyful spirit that radiates from our silly play each day seems to infect the small, rural community with a more cheerful atmosphere. Zuelmi shared that before we (and the Rahms, who have little Micah) came, there were only adults and she said the atmosphere was often dull, boring and too serious. The students, who all come from large families with three or more siblings, are just used to having little kids running around and they are happy to have a break to play or help take care of them. In turn, Olivia and Sicily are enjoying having 9 (soon to be 15 or more) "aunties" to hang out with. Sicily allows most of the girls to carry her around and even reaches for them many times, all the while giving my arms a much needed break ;) Olivia has enjoyed playing and washing in the river with the girls and she is starting to spend more time with them in their dorm rooms. Her presence and ten thousand questions encourages them to practice English. Sometimes she asks them to read her books and the students help eachother with pronunciation. Good thing Keyby is a good sport because one time she was reading aloud one of Olivia's princess stories and after a few minutes Olivia says, "Can you read in English please!?" Everyone cracked up, becuase Keyby was reading it in English, but her pronuciation needs some work. Kids say the darndest things, oops!
I would make this a new post, but for some reason this computer wont copy and paste right now, so I'll just continue...
I have found it to be true that when living in a "less developed" country one must quickly learn new skills and use them without certain qualifications or cetifications that are necessary in other places. It is exhilarating the ways that God can use us and teach us all the while taking away mind roadblocks that may have kept us from trying new things inthe past. For example, I have always thought I would be way to squeemish to give someone an injection. But the other day I had to give some medication to one of our students. I was handed a large needle and some medicine in a glass bottle that you break the top off of to get the medicine out. With no more than an explanation of how to use the siringe, I treked up to Alex's dorm room with my flashlight to give her the shot in the rear! Thankfully everything went well and I was able to give it again in the am so that she was not feeling so crummy on the day she would travel 6-8 hours by bus to Ceiba. Glad to help, glad to have learned a new skill, glad thats over...still don't think I see a career in nursing in my near future, eek!

Week 7 - Finally Made It - part3

We set up most of our trip from Puerto Cortes to Plancencia through a Honduran that Joseph met last time he and his family had to renew their passports. There is only one commercial boat that leaves Puerto Cortes for Belize, and it's only on Mondays. We wanted to leave Friday, so we asked Amillio to see if there was a private boat that could take us there on Friday. Otherwise, we would have to travel through Guatemala or wait until Monday to get to Belize. He said that he knew how to get us there and named his price. It seemed reasonable for a private boat, so we accepted the offer.

When he picked us up in the morning on Friday, we started driving in another direction than we expected, so we asked where we were headed...Guatemala he said. Odd considering he said we'd leave from Honduras...At the Guatemalan/Honduras border he asked for another 500 Lempiras (about $25 US) for Olivia because he didn't know that she was that old. Made me angry because we explicitly told him that she was 4, and we had one of our students setting it up with him, so language barrier was not an issue. Even though we wanted to say no, what could we do? If we say no, and he says ok, see ya later and leaves us at the border we are worse off than losing $25 bucks, so unfortunately and angrily, we paid him. When we finally made it to the port, we were told to go to Immigration and get our stamp that we were leaving...and more problems arose. There is a $10 exit fee to leave the country. We could pay in US or Guatemalan money, but we only had enough to pay for 2 passports, and we had 5. So we finally convinced the guy to pay for the other 3 passports and we were able to make it to the boat. He did ask for another 500 lemps because he had to spend some of his own money to pay for the passports...seriosuly...we were supposed to be leaving from Puerto Cortes (Honduras) in the first place, so we wouldn't have to pay for any of this...ugh.

During the whole passport fiasco, we were asked by the boat captain to pay for our tickets and he started to write a receipt that said the price was 500 Guatemalan dollars for me and Sarah and the kids, but I told him Amillio was paying. He then changed the price on the reciept to 400 Guatemalan dollars. It's rediculous to think that almost everytime you try to purchase something as an American they are trying to scam you out of a few more dollars. We talked to another American that sounded like he's made the trip a few times, and he confirmed the price as 200 Guatemalan dollars and kids were free. So not only was the captain trying to screw us out of a little extra cash, we found out that Olivia, even though she is 4, didn't need a ticket either. So Amillio lied to us about needing to pay for Olivia. Stressful!!! But in the end we finally made it to Belize, safely and with all of our stuff minus a few extra bucks.

It's sad to think that there are so many that try to scam gringos (or rich Central Americans), but that is not to say that everyone in Honduras (or C. America) does. We have also experienced the kindness and genorousity of several others in the country. Many are very thankful for the things that we are trying to do for the students and for the country. We try to remember those people when things like this happen to us. Honduras and C. America are beautiful places, I mean really beautiful. In my opinion Honduras has a ton of potential to become a better and more desired place for people to live. I hope that what we are doing in Honduras with the girls can use some of that potential to become a better place to live.

Week 7 - Finally Made It - part 2

Before I begin this next post, I've been informed by my wonderful editor that I write too much about food.  I must just appreciate variety in food more these days, but nonetheless, I will try to forgo writing about food as often and hopefully about more interesting topics.  So.....
After leaving Mayra's place, we set our sail northwest to Martha's house.  I think this was must have been our shortest day of travel in the past few days (not counting today).  I think it was only ike 3-4 hours in the car.  Anyway, we got to Martha's house and talked for a bit before we decided to do something.  It was an incredibly warm day, and just so happens that this is the hottest time of year in this part of Honduras. We all thought a walk to the beach would be nice, and Olivia really wanted to see the water.  We took about a 1/2 mile walk to the beach weeving through houses and pulperias before we got to the beach where some young boys were swimming.  I knew the water was going to be warm, but when you step into the ocean here, it's like getting into a giant hot tub, especially when the last ocean water you were in, in Seaside, OR, would give you hypothermia within the hour.  We didnt go swimming, but the girls loved splashing around a bit in the warm water.

We had dinner with Martha's family (there i go again) and drove up the street to where we'd be staying for the night.  A nicer, but unfinished house that will be the future home of several orphans.  The day's humidity, did not let up at night, and I'm pretty sure I've never been that hot and sweaty before.  Holy smokes.  Falling asleep was a little difficult, but oddly enough I slept pretty well through the night.  It was probably only because I was so weary from the travelling and the heat/sun.  The next morning we had some time before we had to leave for Puerto Cortes. Martha and her dad took us to a beautiful river with a couple small waterfalls.  The area looked like it was right out of a movie, I mean, it just looked so perfect.  These are the parts of Honduras that make you forget about the poverty and other troubles of the country.  The water was refreshingly cool and clear, apparently so much so that Marhta's dad was re-hydrating himself with it.  Wouldn't you love to have the immunities to drink straight from a stream- I would.  I suppose it's a silver lining in not having clean water to drink each day...? Olivia wanted to go swimming, so Martha volunteered to take her for a bit.

After the beautiful waterfall we said our goodbyes and headed to our final Honduran destination. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week 7 - Finally Made It - part 1

Well, there's a lot to write about this week.  Probably the most important thing is that we finally made it to Belize after a series of small road trips and seemingly getting scammed by someone who probably makes his living by doing so.

I'll start off with the better stuff...we left campus early Tuesday morning and set out towards the north coast to visit 2 of the girls' families.  We ate a small breakfast before leaving, but a few hours into the trip we stopped at Wendy's for some food.  I had been looking forward to McDonalds or Burger King, since we planned on leaving for Belize, but a burger anywhere would suffice.  I had been up since about 5 or maybe earlier, so a 9:30 burger hit the spot like nothing else would.  The coke with ice(!!!) that washed it down was equally pleasing.  And off we went.  We made a couple more stops before we arrived at Mayra's house, including a stop for ice cream, a second round of Wendy's and dropping off Martha at the bus station where she met her dad.

Being in the car for 8-10 hours of course stinks, but my oh my, was the food worth every penny.  The fast food binge was pretty good, but the ice that was just down right scandalous.  The ice cold flavor hitting your lips in the 90 plus degree heat, after not having good ice cream since we'd been die for.  We stopped several times for ice cream on this trip!  And Sarah got a Oreo shake last night that I'm sure will become a daily favorite. 

Ok, back to the girls' families.  Mayra's family was very generous, as most Honduras families are with guests, serving us chicken soup and rice for dinner.  Mayra told them that I am in love with Coca Cola (kind of the running joke when I teach class because when I give an example, I often use Coke in it), so they purchased a 3 liter for lunch.  3 liters are actually very common in Honduras, as is Coke.  Dinner was delicious.

The next morning we bought some beef for her family and some baby clothes for Martha's mother since she is pregnant with a surprise baby.  We dropped the meat off at Mayra's and visited Mayra's recommender.  Each student has to have a respected individual in their community recommend them for our school.  Mayra's recommender spoke English well and was very kind.  We talked for a while about the school and went back to Mayra's for lunch.  Before lunch though we stopped by Mayra's old house which had burned down a few years back.  Her grandmother, and daughters, still lived there with some of the house fixed up, but certainly not what it once was. The property was nice, however, with many fruit trees and a surprising amount of land.  Mayra's dad actually works from the house, rebuilding or refinishing furniture on the side - he works as a mechanic for his day job.

So for lunch we eached had about 1 pound of beef and half plate of rice.  Apparentlly, there was also turtle soup available.  After I forced down the humungous plate of food and soda, I felt obliged to try the turtle meat.  I mean, when else will I have the chance?  I feared never, so I had a small piece of the turtle meat, still on the bone.  Leaving meat on the bone, typically chicken, is also very common in Honduras.  I'm assuming for the flavor, but I've also heard of some people eating the bones too (OUCH!).  Anyway, the turtle was pretty awesome.  It was very similar to chicken, except just a tad chewier, but certainly not too chewy where you had time to think about what you were eating. It was good, but I was already stuffed, so only the one piece for me. 

Martha house, here we come!  (part 2)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More pictures from Honduras

More pics here:
 Sicily and her big smile
 The girls' dorm rooms
Scorpion in our bathroom

 The community school that we help out a couple days a week
Our 2 beautiful girls
 One of Olivia's new friends
 Another new friend
 And another new friend
 Zuelmi and Olivia at the bon fire
 Zuelmi and Olivia roasting marshmellows
 Front of our house with some yardwork done
 Olivia in her bedroom
Joe with Micah and Olivia
Olivia doing some art on our porch
 Sicily taking a siesta in the hammock
Bath time

 She loves it!
Olivia giving a bear hug 
 Mayra, Martha, Keyby with Sicily

 Karen with Sicily

 Stick bug

 the girls

 Sicily on her makeshift play mat

 Ira teaching class

 The pila, or washing machine

Hailey and Sarah on our porch

 Jesse, Carolina, Alex doing laundry

 Time for a siesta

Jared, the farm's manager's son

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 6 - New moto!!

If there is nothing else that I get out of Honduras, I at least have learned how to ride a motorcycle!  I got my hands on a brand new moto (a few years old, but never driven) for the price of a used one this week.  Very excited!  I've been able to borrow others' motos, but it's nice to finally have my own.  In fact, I drove the moto into Zambrano today with one of our students.  She was headed to the capital to visit family and apparently her mother has purchased some fish for everyone at the school.  So I'm looking forward to some fish.  Hopefully, it's half way decent, but at least it will be a different food type.  Anyway, I was a little excited for the bike ride, but whenever you have someone else on the back of your moto, it makes it a lot more difficult to control.  I mean it's not really hard, unless you are on a crappy road and it starts raining on you.  Which of course is what happened to us before we even got half way there. 
We had to drive much slower than normal and still had a few times where we slipped and slid around.  We only had a couple of close calls, but made it safely to the bus station to Tegucigalpa.  I went to the gas station as usual when in Zambrano, for a coke and candy bar.  I was soaked from head to toe, but the trip was worth it for that sugar rush! 

The rain stopped for the trip back, and my dri-fit shirt was able to dry out by the time I made it home, though my cotton shorts were still dripping the whole way.  I tried to have a little fun in the mud, which I did of course; going around corners mostly. 

The workers were also able to complete the wall that is around the eating area today.  Now all they have to do is set the door and put up the chicken wire and screen above the wall and we will be fully protected!  They also completed the tool shed and will move the tools out of the dorm/study rooms next week.  In addition, they also have the plans ready for the construction of the new classrooms, though, I'm not sure when they will actually start.  Sarah and I, with help from the students, have also done a lot of work on the garden that is in front of our house.  When we return from vacation, we will put up chicken wire and start planting!  We've already tasted the vegetables from Hailey's garden, so we are excited to get ours under way soon also!

Speaking of vacation, we also have a break this next week from class.  The girls go to school year round and this is the "end of summer" break.  We have about a week and a half off.  We will start by visiting 2 of the girls' homes to see their families and communities for a couple days.  We are very excited to be able to visit the girls' homes.  We would like to do this with all the girls, but I'm not sure if we'll have enough opportunities while we are here since they live all around the country and many are difficult to get to.  Hopefully!  After visiting the girls' families we'll head to the north coast of Honduras and take a boat to Belize where we'll have a little more access to things.  We are very excited for lattes and ice cream everyday!!  I'm sure we'll also throw a couple pizzas and maybe some  hamburgers in there as well.  We are going to be staying in a small tourist town with the other family (THE RAHMS!!)  that is here with us.  We can't wait for the warm beach and warm Belizian water and for a little break from the campus.  It will be nice to get out a little further than a few miles.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Texbooks Needed

Hi everyone,
We are looking for some textbooks to base some curriculum around.  We are looking for Business (Finance, Accounting, Investing etc) Psychology, Leadership, History and high school Math level.  If you have any of these, please donate them to our cause!  If you have any other books or textbooks that you may think worthy, please let me know; we can likely use them.

The Lucia Family

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Week 5.5 - What I forgot to blog about

For a few nights last week (and the week before) we started getting woken up at night by something rustling around in our room.  I got out of bed the first night we heard it and noticed that something jolted out from our snacks on a shelf in our room.  It climbed right up the wall and I couldn't find it behind the luggage on the top shelf.  I thought it looked like a small lizard, since I have seen them crawl up walls several times before and well I could see the tail.  I figured it would leave that night.  Over the next few nights we would hear the lizard in our room on our snack shelf and I would get up, shine the flashlight around and we really wouldn't hear it much the rest of the night.

One night I shined the flashlight behind the suitcases again and I actually saw the small head of a mouse.  This really makes more sense than a lizard.  I shook the luggage a bit and figured the mouse would be scared enough to leave.  Apparently not.  We then tried to keep a small reading light on, on the shelf with the snacks.  The mouse didn't like it at first, but became unphased by it after a couple days, and we continued to be woken up and have partially eaten granola bars.

Once we realized it was a mouse we had to ask Olivia for forgiveness for not believing her when she said she saw a mouse in our room.  We didn't think she was lying necessarily, well maybe...we thought maybe it was her imagination or something.  That night we actually had a frog somehow get into our bed and jumped in Sarah's lap and freaked her out.  It was sorta funny after the fact, but honestly, I don't really like frogs either.  So anyways, we assumed that Olivia saw the frog and thought it was the little mouse.  Until of course it was a lizard.  
Anyways, the reason I write this is more for the redemption factor.  I set a trap and waited for the mouse to take the bait, and thus get squashed by the spring loaded bar.  I didn't sleep much and woke up to the mouse chowing on some snacks.  Not sure why he wasn't dead yet, I checked the mouse trap.  The bait (a chocolate granola bar - apparently his favorite) was gone.  Ughh.  Now I had to reset the trap with more bait, but this time I used peanut butter from one of those peanut butter crackers.  I lay in bed knowing that it would be a matter of seconds, maybe minutes before I caught my first mouse.  

After plenty of time had passed, and I heard the mouse yet again for several minutes, I decided to see what was going on.  He wasn't taking the bait.  I'm guessing that since the peanut butter was a little dry it may not have had a distinct odor and besides he had a box of Olivia's chocolate chip granola bars to snack on.  So I decided to keep the peanut butter on the trap and get him to come to the trap with a little piece of chocolate also on the trap.  

After probably less than 15 minutes, SNAP!  Got him.  I was very proud of myself.  After several attempts and sleepless hours I had finally caught him!  When I got to the trap, I noticed that the mouse looked very well fed, which would be expected by the number of granola bars that were broken into.  Anyway, this was a relocation trap...relocated that rodent to mousey heaven!


Also want to mention that we received our pledge for donation towards the building of the bathroom for our cook.  I think I said that the cost would be somewhere around $2000, but after looking it over with a friend, we think it will be less than $1000!  So even if you want to give $20, that buys something like 100 bricks that we'll use to build the bathroom and septic tank!  

Thanks!  God Bless!  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Week 5 - Cold coke, ice cream, snickers and Skittles

Ahhh, what a good way to end the week.  A trip to the small town 9 miles away to get ice cream, a cold coke, snickers, skittles and some more ice cream...We went into town to get some building materials (eg concrete, rebar, etc) for a kitchen that is being built at the local primary school in Los Valles.  When you take a truck with little or no shocks, it's almost not worth going into the town, but my 3 girls hadn't been outside a 4 mile radius since we arrived, so we figured it would be good to get out a bit, and get a treat.  An hour and 15 min later or so we arrived at the gas station to grab some gas and a cold coke.  Turns out there is a supermarket inside the gas station, along with a restaurant, and a visitor's center.  Now that I think about it, I didn't really see a visitor's center, only some overpriced, possibly hand made items.  By overpriced I simple mean, double what I could get them for in Teguc.  Anyway, no real visitor center, that I could tell.

We happened to run across a chest freezer with some ice cream pictures around, so we asked if they had ice cream, and by God's grace they did.  The ice cream was of decent quality, a little icy, not as much creamy, but it hit the spot!  Not having many cold items in the recent past, a small cup of anything cold would have done the trick.  Just in case, though, a cold coke for me and a cold diet pepsi for Sarah. And since we were there, I threw in a Snickers and a pack of Skittles.  Sarah took an apple.  Boring, but healthy I suppose.

Joseph had left earlier to get the supplies because Sarah was taking her time walking through the store.  In may have been the 2 girls hanging from her.  After finishing off the ice cream and coke, we waited a while, dancing to some Spanish music in the store and watching the rain come down onto the inside garden.  Not as much hungry as I was bored, I opened the Snickers and shared a couple small pieces with Liv.  After a while we went outside so I wouldn't also get into the Skittles and so Olivia could stay distracted from the waiting.  We met a nice Lady and her daughter that spoke English.  It was nice to talk to a Honduran and not have to guess what they were saying or sound foolish trying to speak Spanish (even though I am learning more).  We exchanged contact info and left.  We may get the daughter (who was probably in her early thirties) to volunteer at the school some, but maybe not, she may have been interested in a paying job.  Before we left Sarah mentioned getting another ice cream.  I'm glad she asked, cause I didn't want to seem like a pig eating all the sweets.  2 more ice creams please!

On the way home we picked up maybe 10 people in the bed of truck and drove them at least part way to their home.  We finally got to the school some 4 hours later or so and talked with the guys and Olivia played with some of the small kids.  We finally arrived home and grabbed a quick bite before getting the girls down for bed - we missed a good dinner, but the ice cream was worth it.  Then I of course had the skittles and read   a little.

Probably the highlight of the week, but we also had a group of volunteers here, which is always nice.  Volunteers usually bring some nice snacks and help renew your energy.  They did a lot of work around the coffee farm, collected rocks, watched after Olivia, hoed part of the garden I'm working on, and brought some good snacks.  One night they opened a bottle of wine that was shipped in the last container.  I got sucked into a glass and 2 games of some dice game.  Glorious.

I feel like I'm getting along a little better with the students. Not that it was ever bad, but I guess we're just getting to know each other better.  And I'm probably learning to be a little better teacher as well.  Teaching has been for the most part pretty fun.  I compile my own lesson plans and teach several different subjects; English, math, history, computer, current events, maybe some more.  Sarah has also been able to do a few classes and it seems she enjoys the "adult only" time.

We would also like to build a bathroom for our cook that lives on campus during the week, but goes home to her small house that lives 16 people!  They currently dig holes in the ground to relieve themselves.  crazy.  Anyways, I don't know for sure what the cost would be, but I think it would be $1500-$2000 to do it right (ie with a septic tank and vent).  If you are interested at all in helping (even $20 helps!) please email me.  We will be looking for other projects in the community in the future.

Also, please consider coming down for a week or so to visit and help out or just relax a bit.  It's pretty nice here.  :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Week 4 - Bike troubles

Sorry I missed this weekend's post.  I was lazy on Saturday and needed to prepare for a sermon on Sunday.  Then on Sunday I had some motorcycle troubles that slowed me down a bit.

After church, Joseph and I were going to go into the little town nearby and purchase some meat for the birthday dinner we were celebrating.  For birthdays we often will buy meat for dinner, since meat is more expensive and we don't get it often here.  It's sort of a luxury for the poor in most 3rd world countries, as you could guess.  And now it's a luxury for us as well.  
Anyway, we were on our way and stopped at Marcos' house to see if we could borrow his motorcycle so we didn't have to ride tandem.  It's much more fun to have your own ride!  So we got to his house and he showed us "the trick" on how to get the moto started for our return trip.  We get to Zambrano fine, grab our groceries for dinner and of course a snickers and a cold fruit beverage (sort of a ritual when we go to Zambrano).  We leave the tienda (store) and Joseph shows me where the doctor and pharmacy is in case I ever need to take someone there and we make one last stop for vegetables.  When we try to leave Marcos' moto wont start up...we both try several times and its just not working.  We decide maybe it's best that I go back to Marcos' house (about a 15-20 min ride) and get him to perform "the trick", meanwhile Joseph will guard the groceries and try starting the moto again in a few minutes.  If he can perform the miracle trick, then we’ll meet somewhere in the middle and turn around.

I head off to Marcos’ place, tell him about what happens and after a few laughs we head out.  About half way back to Zambrano my back wheel feels like it’s swerving all around.  That’s because it was.  Stop take a look at it, and what do you know…a flat tire.  Alright, sweet.  Stuck in a small town with no phone and no mode of transportation.  After listening to Marcos jabber to me in mostly unrecognizable Spanish (not because he can’t speak, but because I don’t understand Spanish), I think we decide that I will wait for someone to drive by and take me into Zambrano and I can start the moto.  He demonstrated “the impossible trick” on the flat tire moto and I guess I was supposed to be able to start it whenever I reached Zambrano.  Anyway, I think that’s what he was telling me, but really I’m not sure.  (I do a lot of guessing here).  After a few minutes of silence we hear a motorcycle driving towards us and once again I guess at what I think he is saying.  It sounds like his moto, and sure enough it’s someone else’s moto.  Hmmm…not good.  Thankfully a couple minutes later Joseph comes riding by!  If not, I’m sure I would have caught the next taxi to Nicaragua or something. 
In town, a mechanic helped Joseph clean out a filter and get the moto started.  Phew.  Marcos’ told Joseph (who actually knows some Spanish) to take me back to his house, grab the bicycle tire pump, leave me at his house, tell his wife to feed me, and Joe can bring the pump back.  So I had some good sopa de pollo (chicken soup) – with what I’m sure was chicken heart, and Joe left with the pump. 

Joe and Marcos return on both motos a little later, but Joe’s still has a flat!  Turns out the pump broke while they were trying to pump up the tire.  I’m not sure it would matter anyways because when we took the tire off the moto, we found a nail sticking through the tube.  Thankfully Joe and Hailey were going to the larger city the next day for an ultra sound and bought a new tube.  A 1hr 30 min trip that lasted somewhere closer to 4 hours.

Other highlights include;
-Cold milk and oreos from Comyaga (where the ultra sound was)
-pizza from Comyaga
-ho’d up the ground for our garden, but still have a lot more work left
-we think we had a bat in our house
-we definitely had a bat like moth in our house (seriously had a wingspan of 8 inches)
-Glen brought a bunch of goodies
-tipped over on the moto going up a huge hill and split my toe in half.

LASTLY - we are trying to raise $1000 for a motorcycle.  It's the easiest mode of transportation and cheapest.  Now we are doing a lot of walking, but we are all able to fit on the motorcycle when we've borrowed one.  It also makes trips into town much easier and faster.  If you are interested in helping out with the cost please let me know.  thanks!