Christmas, New Year and of course more busses

Trip Start Jun 03, 2004
Trip End ??? ??, 2005

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Sunday, February 13, 2005

Time is flying by! I think I say that every time but I really can't believe its already February. My last couple of months have been great. I got to go home for Christmas in December which was a nice treat. I had to travel by bus back to Guatemala where my flight left from. I spent about a week and a half in Canmore working in the CAUSE Canada head office, skiing and catching up with friends. I had a great time, it was so good to see everyone there and get some turns it at the hill. I have to say that skiing was surprisingly good (really there is no bad day skiing) and I even got a day of fresh powder and some first lines down Paradise Bowl and Whitehorn 1 at Lake Lousie. On my way back to Kelowna I made a stop in Lethbridge to see a couple of good friends there and check in on the Koops! Kelowna was pretty quiet at Christmas. I spent a lot of time with my family and my Grandma. My Grandpa passed away about a week before I arrived home so that was sad news to receive overseas but good timing in the end as I was able to be with my family over the holidays.
I flew back to Honduras on the 30th of December so I could make it back to the village for New Years. We had lots of visitors for the party, there were 12 of us all together from the US, Canada and two Euros. New Years Eve is an all night party in the village. They have a youth dance and a traditional dance. Dancing starts at about 8:00pm and continues until dawn, only breaking for midnight mass. We all went to the traditional dance which is lead by the womens dance groups while the men drum. Can these people dance! We only made it til about 330 and were out done by 75-year-old women. Weak gringos...
January has been cool and rainy - I have actually been cold some nights! The rain is incredible, it just keeps coming all day for days on end. Three weeks ago I had a meeting in the city and had to leave the village by bus. It had been raining for three days straight and the road was in bad shape. (Yes, this is another bus story.) We got on the bus at 10:30am on Sunday morning after waiting in the driving rain for three hours. Monday morning at 3:30am we arrived in Tocoa, 17 hours later and only 150km down the road. Epic. All of the rivers were flooded and we ended up sleeping on the bus at the side of the road unable to return or contiune on. It sort of felt like one of those movies were the plane crashes in the wilderness and the passengers rally together to survive and become friends. There were 15 of us on the bus and we ate Doritos, shared a block of goat cheese, told jokes and riddles and played cards to pass the time. The driver ended up wearing a womens yellow long sleeve belly shirt because all of his clothes were wet. The bus helper had to strip down to his undies at every river and wade thru to find the best route for the bus and to test the height of the water. Epic.
Last week I attended a UN workshop in the capital city for proposal writing. Nicole (who's Spanish is about the same as mine) and I struggled through a week of lectures and group workshops all in Spanish. It was a great experience we learned a ton. Group work was super frustrating. There were 25 people representing 11 different groups and we had to work all together to produce an umbrella proposal that encompassed all HIV/AIDS work for the Garifuna population in the country. But at the end of the week, plus two extra days of meeting we put together a giant proposal. I think we have a good shot at our part of the proposal getting approved. We put in for a prevention and education of HIV/AIDS project in our area for about $50,000US. HIV/AIDS is a huge problem in Honduras being the second leading cause of death and hospitalization. There is a national infection rate of 2% and they estimate that in the Garifuna population the rate is probably 8-14%. Scary.
Hope everyone is happy and health!
Take care,
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