Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sick Again

This week we got to experience a few things for the first time. Namely, Honduran medical care and home repairs.

As I've mentioned before, my pink eye has not fully gone away. Well, last week it started getting worse so I decided to go to the doctor Monday. I asked a sister to come with me as translator, cause I wasn't sure I'd be able to describe the problem exactly. Thankfully, she knew of a good doctor to go to as well.

So we met at a farmacia near where the doctor's office was located, and as is my habit, I got there stupid early. So I grabbed a Gatorade and sat outside waiting for her. While I was waiting, a man walks up to me and starts talking and gesturing. I told him "No entiendo" but he kept talking and gesturing. Finally I figured it out. He wanted my Gatorade, which was half empty already. Um, ok. So I gave it to him. Poor guy is probably going to get pink mouth or something now. This actually isn't the first time I've been asked for my drink either.

Anyway, the doctor. She checked me out, ran through everything and even checked my lungs, stomach, glands and all. This will be important to know in a minute. Everything is fine, except my eyes. She writes me a prescription for eye drops, gives me some sort of pill to take for a week, and gives me the bill. 300 lempiras. That's $15 USD. Yeah, I could get used to healthcare here. She also told me no predicar for the next week. Apparently, going out in service and being around flowers and car fumes and the sun is hurting my eyes and I need to rest them. Welp, there goes getting my hour goal for this month.

So. Guess what happens no less than 12 hours later? I come down with the worst sinus infection in the world. Really? She just checked me out and I was fine. On the bright side, I did not need to go back to the doctor, because you can get pretty much anything over the counter here, and I already knew what I needed. I've been in bed since then. Hoping to feel better soon, we've got a campaign to start.

Now, as you know, my favorite feature of our apartment is the air conditioner. The air conditioner that suddenly quit working about two weeks ago. Zach played with it and couldn't find anything wrong, so finally this week, we called someone out to look at it. The problem? Someone decided to steal our meter box. The a/c unit has one of its own, while the rest of the compound is on a different one, and for some reason, when the box got stolen, it cut the power to the unit. That would also explain why we haven't gotten a bill. But that's just such a random thing to steal. What are you going to do with it, hook it up at your house so the electric company can start charging you too?  So, that's fixed, a/c is back on, and it also cost 300 lempira.

As you can see, it's been very exciting around here.

The highlight of this week is that I learned how to make tortillas and I did it without a tortilla press. We've been eating them every day. Yum!

Ok, here's what you've been waiting for. Pictures.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Circuit Overseer Visit

This has been the busiest week of our lives. Even more than that time we decided to move to another country and I couldn't figure out how to pack our stuff. (Yes, I know that was a month ago. No I don't want to relive it.)

So, what have we been up to?

I don't remember Monday. But nothing ever happens on Monday anyway, so no big loss.

Tuesday was the first day of the Circuit Overseer visit. We had meeting at 4:30 that afternoon. So we arrive early and I decide to walk to the pulperia to get a water. As I'm walking out, a sister comes in with a woman who looks like she is from the islands. Great! A study! So I introduce myself, and ask where she is from. She says Belize. Hey, I know people from Belize. Like our new CO. What a coincidence! Also, her English is very good. Turns out that's because she A- is from Dominica (an island), B- is a native English speaker, and C- is the CO's wife. Probably shoulda seen that coming.

So the cool thing about the new CO- they are great friends with Zach's cousin, who has been living in Belize for several years.

We also had some visitors from Canada this week, so we had a nice, large group at meeting. Also, they had copies of the revised Bible so we finally got to see one in person. It is so nice. We can't wait to get ours in January.

Wednesday, lots of service. Thursday, more service. Friday, we continue this pattern. It was a very successful couple of days. We worked a territory that hadn't been done in a while, and I got four new calls in one day. Plus we found the best pulperia in the world. They sell home-made ice cream- basically it's just milk mixed with fruit and frozen. They had so many flavors, including guanabana, so you know what we got. Plus, it was only 10 lempira. The perfect service snack.

Thursday afternoon we took the CO and his wife to the calls we got when working with the Sign Language congregation the week before. Zach's got a really awesome study started. This guy has so many really deep questions. He started right in on the hope for the dead, so the campaign tract and new Watchtower is going to be perfect for him.

Friday we went to try to find a lady we had talked to a couple weeks ago. She wasn't home, but her nephew was, and he said most of the family speaks English and we had a nice conversation with him as well. As we were walking down the street after, a man called out in Spanish "Atalaya, Atalaya." So we stopped to give him a magazine in Spanish. then he asked for something else. I thought maybe he already read that issue, so I pulled out a tract for him. Then he asked for something else. Finally, I realized he wanted as much as I could give him to read. Unfortunately, we didn't have any different materials for him. I'm going to get a BT book and go back, to see if I can find him. He was just sitting on the sidewalk, so I don't know if he actually lives in that area, but it's worth a shot.

Meeting Friday was really good. During his talk, the Circuit Overseer was talking about how those in the congregation are our family. Mother, sister, father, brother and so on. So I was like "Aw, (little girl in our hall) can be my little sister." Then he said, "When we see someone younger than us, we say 'Hello daughter.' " And it occurred to me, I actually am old enough to be her mother. Suddenly I feel so old.

I'm also fuzzy on Saturday, but I know service was involved. In the evening, a sister had a congregation get-together at her home.After a delicious dinner, Zach interviewed the CO and his wife, then we all played a Bible game. I love me an excuse to yell "Mahershalalhashbaz" repeatedly. But most of you know that already. It should come as no surprise that the CO won the game.

Sunday, we had more service and found a young girl to talk to. Then we had our last meeting with the Circuit Overseer. We had 30 in attendance, which is great.

So that was the week. It went by so fast, and we are so tired. But we made it out every day, and we are really happy about that.

We learned this week that we have 173 territories, and over 100 of them haven't been canvassed yet. A reason for this is that many of the territories are very far away. My understanding is that we go almost all the way to Tela, which could be a three hour bus ride away. I don't know how far west we go, but it gets really rural, and the bus system leaves a lot to be desired. There are only two cars in our congregation, (one is always busy with studies, and one is only supposed to be used in town) so getting to the territories is difficult.
Because of this, Zach and I are thinking about trying to get a car. We enjoy walking, but there's some places that are just a bit out of the way. Looking online has certainly produced some interesting results. I don't know that we need an armored 4x4, but I can see where it would come in handy. And of course, we still have to sell our car first. But if a car is what this congregation needs to complete our territories, I'm sure Jehovah will provide.

Anyway...I'm gonna go take a nap and not wake until til next week.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Honduras By The Numbers

Here's an infographic on our time in Honduras. Without, you know, the graphic part.

$18.55- How much we have spent on transportation so far this month

14- The average attendance at meetings

8:15- What time the field service meeting starts

$2.10- How much we spent on three sodas and two ice cream bars for service break

0- The number of parasites we have had to deal with so far

$1.25- How much we have spent on our two (2) cell phone bills this month. Yes, that’s combined. Also, we probably won’t have to refill for another month.

2- The number of hot showers I have taken. (This is by choice. Based on previous posts, who woulda thunk?)

$18- How much we spent for dinner and Cokes for four (4) people

196,856- Population of La Ceiba as of 2010

$250- Monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment, including utilites, trash and water

88- The temperature today

504- Country Code for phone numbers. In case you are wondering, the US equivalent is 1

Speaking of 1- The number of eyes I can currently see out of. Thank you Pink Eye re-occurrence. 

.25- The price for 5 plantains from the guy with the horse cart in the territory. 

393- The price of a roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to San Pedro Sula in December

7988- The elevation in ft. of Pico Bonito mountain

.15- The smallest purchase I have made

20.4250- The number of Lempiras in a US Dollar

4- Minutes taken to walk to the Kingdom Hall

.34- The miles to walk to the Kingdom Hall

9092336284- Our phone number. (Hint, hint)

Any numbers you're interested in? 

Ok, you've been patient with me long enough. Here's a picture as a reward. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Selling the Car....Still

Howdy y'all

(That's my impression of a Texan. Good, right?)
((I actually do say y'all tho.)

So... our car still hasn't sold. *insert frowny face*

We have it posted on Auto Trader, and I'm sharing the link here, in hopes of getting the word out.

It's very pretty.

The car is currently in Southern California. If you don't live in Southern California, that's ok. This car knows how to do road trips. In fact, most of its miles are from road trips. (We get around a lot.) Also, since it has a mini fridge, and the back seats recline, and it has a wall-type plug for your electronics, this is pretty much the perfect road trip/long service day car.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Translation Center

Today we went to work at the new Translation Center. It's in this cute neighborhood on the other side of town. It's right up the hill from a missionary home. They referred to it as an "ex-missionary home" so although there are brothers in it right now, I don't know if they are just renting the place while the Translation Center is built, or if it used to be a missionary home but won't be used anymore. The brother I was talking to wasn't sure what would happen to it once the Center was finished.

The place is absolutely beautiful! It has a great location, where you can see Pico Bonito and the mountain range, and the ocean on the other side. The Center is comprised of two buildings, one is a three story residence and the other is a two story office.
The brothers are so skilled too. The work they did was really nice. There's tile floor, big showers, a granite countertop in the kitchen, I could go on.

We got to meet two brothers from the Mexican Branch who are here to work on the building. They were really nice, of course. They said that they haven't gotten to see the city yet, so we might take them out and about one afternoon.

CO Visit next week!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

lenguaje de signos hondureña

Today we did two things:

  1. We taught a brother some English slang. Specifically "spiel." The other day we taught him "slacker." I'm sure he will benefit greatly from this education. This is unlike the time we told a different brother that a fork is called a "red chicken."
  2. We went out in service with the Sign Language group.
They had run across a couple of English speakers while in the territory, so they brought us back to meet them. This involved taking a bus to a part of town we had never been to, and are unlikely to go back to without a large group. We saw a lot of interesting things, but did not take pictures, because it was decided that it was best to leave things of value at home.

So we met the English speakers, and Zach started a study with a man. He now has three calls names "Mario." His call book is going to get confusing. Then we went to a couple of deaf studies. I felt really bad for the sister conducting the study, because she had to sign, in Spanish, occasionally speak in Spanish, and then translate to English for me, because I speak neither Spanish nor HSL. 

Honduras has its own Sign Language. It's similar to ASL, but different. It is based on Spanish, instead of English, so even if a sign is similar, you form a different letter with your hand, ie. Yes vs. Si. I can't really describe the sign, so hopefully you know what Yes looks like in ASL. Imagine it with an I. Or maybe an S. They were signing so fast, I couldn't tell. But I think there was a pinky involved. So the sister had to learn the variations, and learn Spanish when she came down here. Makes me feel bad for complaining about trying to learn one language. 

We had a lot of fun though. It's amazing how you can communicate with people even when you don't speak the same language.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Not All The Tarantulas I See Are Dead

We finally saw a live tarantula. We were walking home from meeting one night, and it was just sitting there in front of our gate. I did consider picking it up to fry, but Zach scared it by chasing it around to get a good picture in the light, and I considered that enough torture for one night.

Plus, I told Zach of my desire to eat spiders, and now he thinks I'm weird. 

The cat is still hanging around. Turns out it's a girl. And she's pregnant. Now I can't turn her away. The other night she brought a friend to dinner, but they ran off when we got home. I really don't know what we are going to do when she starts bringing the kittens around. Also, I'm a little worried she's going to give birth in the living room.

Anyway, we have made some decisions about things. Mostly these were things that we were already thinking about, but now we've given them the green light.

Decision One- As much as we love traveling, we need to have a home base. That home base is going to be La Ceiba. So, our cards are getting sent here, we are locking in our apartment, and even having internet installed in said apartment.

Decision Two- We aren't going to be going to the States for our Visa runs, due to the new healthcare laws and what they mean for our budget if we are in the States. That means you have to come visit us.

Decision Three- This one makes me sad. We aren't going to be spending three months in El Salvador like we had hoped. At least, not until after we get our Honduran residency. With the conflict between the two countries in regards to tourist visas, it seems we might have to stay away from Salvador for a while, simply because they won't let us in. We'll still probably try to get in for a few weeks though. 

That said, we'll be going through Nicaragua on our way back from Costa Rica early next year, so CharleyRachel, NicaChica, and anyone else in Nica who'd like to hang out or show us around or know when we'll be in town so you can conveniently be somewhere else, please send us a comment on the form to the right side of this page with your email address so we can make plans. The comment form goes straight to my email, so you don't have to worry about it being broadcast publicly. 
So....we do like visitors. And emails. And phone calls. Just sayin...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Healthcare Laws in United States

I don't know how many of you follow the news back home, I know I try not to. However, there is a fun little law that is going into effect in the States right now that might affect some of us.

Yes, the Affordable Healthcare Act.

This is not a political post, I have no opinion on the law whatsoever. However, we do have a duty to follow the laws of the land.

So this is what I have found:

Essentially, in order to get coverage, you have to:
  • Be a US Citizen
  • Not be in jail- hopefully this won't be a problem
  • Live in the United States
Hmm, that last one is a bit of a problem. Also, the website says this:

Direct Quote
U.S. citizens living in a foreign country are not required to get health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

What qualifies you as "living" in another country? Well, it helps to actually have residency in that country. Of course, not all of us have that.

So the Government set down some qualifications. I don't really understand all of them, it's stuff like "Did you tell the country you reside in that you are not a resident?"  "Do you have to pay income taxes in that country?" and "Does your family live with you in that country?"
But the one that caught my eye was, you must be outside the United States for at least 330 full days in a 12 consecutive month period (also known as a year.) Which means you can go home for exactly 35 days each year, no more, if you want to be exempt from the law.

I guess, technically, if you still call the States "home" then you still consider yourself a resident of the place. 

Another thing to note, is that most of the insurance plans available only cover medical care in the States. So, if you do end up having to purchase coverage, you might want to check that you get one you can actually use. 

Some of the websites I searched seemed to think if you have travel insurance with medical coverage, that fulfills the requirements. But those weren't official sources, so I don't know how accurate that is. 

We plan to consult a tax guy just to make sure of everything, so if I find out anything else that might be useful, I'll share it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

All The Tarantulas I See Are Dead

I remember reading an article one time about tarantulas, and how they come out after rain storms. There was also something about a migratory pattern and massive amounts of them taking off together to go...somewhere.

At any rate, we always only see one. And it's always dead. Usually so dead that I decide it's best to not consider picking it up and frying it, and if it's not that dead, well I don't pick it up anyway, because what would Zach think?

That's the thing about us. He is terrified of spiders. I envision going to Cambodia and eating them. To each their own, I suppose.

I love the street vendors. As we walk down the road, people are hocking everything from food to clothes to bootleg movies, even gum and lottery tickets. Right now rambutan is in season, and tons of people have carts piled up with them. So pretty to see. Since we are obviously foreign, when we stop to buy some, people usually offer us a sample first. Don't mind if I do! I guess they figure we haven't had it before. Today there was even a guy selling strawberries, and they looked pretty good so we picked some up. Usually they look really pathetic here.

The one part I don't like about the vendors is walking by the fish. There's flies, and it's out in the hot sun with no ice usually. The smell, omigoodness, the smell. I try to run past that part. I accidentally started to pull us into a meat market today, that was so very bad. I can't even stand the smell at our butcher shop, or when we walk by the meat section of the supermarket. And yes, I know, I used to help gut dead animals. But those hadn't been sitting in the hot sun for who knows how long.

Today we had a very exciting shopping trip. The store had a small supply of Dr. Pepper, so I picked up a couple. And managed to knock one down so it exploded all over the front of the store. Also, we went down the liquor aisle, just to see what there was, and everything was so cheap! There was a gift pack of a decent sized bottle of rum with a laptop case, for 76 Lempira. That's less than 4 bucks. Last night we were hanging out with some Canadians, and they were telling us how much cheaper alcohol is in the States compared to their home, and then we see this today. Awesome.

I really don't understand the pricing on items here. There are some things that are much cheaper than back home, and some things that cost way more. Sometimes, it's cheaper to buy beer than a soda. Bottled water costs so much less than in the States, even though in the States you can drink tap water (and that's really all bottled water is) but you can't in Honduras (and they actually have to treat the water that's bottled.) Gas costs more. In fact, the gas prices got so high here, that they had to change from stating the price per gallon to stating the price per liter, because the numbers wouldn't fit on the sign.

Of course, when we first got back, we didn't know that, and thought that prices just decreased ridiculously. I was a little sad to find out that wasn't the case.

We went out to a little, well I guess you would call it a restaurant, but it's attached to a person's house, and I think they cook the food in their kitchen. Anyway, it's a place where you order food and sit down and they bring it out to you and you eat it there. I got some really delicious chicken nachos and Zach got meat with beans and plantains, plus we both had refrescos, and it cost like seven bucks. If you don't eat at the American restaurants, a night out is really cheap.

A curious thing that we have noticed, is there are three categories of proteins here. There's chicken, fish, and "meat." Meat is anything that is not chicken of/or from the sea. People will walk down the street selling food, and when you ask what they have, the answer is "meat." Ok, what kind? Meat. For obvious reasons, we don't buy anything from these people, but if we did, I'm really curious what we would be eating. Obviously, there are words in the Spanish language for beef and pork and the other various delicious parts of pig, but in general, they don't seem to be used too often. We have noticed ourselves doing this as well. What do you want for dinner? Meat. That's why I can't tell you what Zach ate at the restaurant. It was from an animal though, I do know that.

Well, I'm pretty sure of it anyway.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Honduras is not being kind to us. First, it's not raining. Then I get sick. Then I hurt my foot. Then Zach gets sick. Now he's sharing the germs with me.

Today is the start of the Annual Meeting back in the States. Since we don't get to see it down here, if anyone wants to send us details, that'd be cool.

The other night we were making dinner, pork with lots of spices, and it smelt really good. Apparently,  it could also be smelt from far away, because as we sat down to eat, there was a loud crying at the steps to our apartment. We opened the gate, and in walks a cat. He just came right into the room and sat there, waiting for some food. So....I didn't eat my dinner, know, kitty.

He stayed for a little while, and sniffed out the place then left. But he was back the same time the next night, wanting to be fed again. I'm thinking there is going to be a pattern here. 

Right now, the other units in our building are being used by the Circuit and District Overseers for Spanish. I think there is an Assembly this weekend. But the point is, I know they are not here right now, and I have heard their doors opening and closing all day. It's probably the wind, because these places are not that big, and surely any vandals would be done by now.

Here's some photos from service. You will notice I did not take a picture of what was obviously a narcotraficante's house. I did go up to their gate and yell very loudly, but no one was home. It was quite the place though, large fences hiding an incredibly large house- bigger than the ones on our street- and the gates were decorated with metal scorpions. On an unrelated note, it appears the people on our street that we refer to as the "nice drug dealers" may actually own a hotel in the Zona Viva. But, you know, we like our theory.

I particularly like this last picture. Apparently, Hondurans are so rich, that they don't build stables for their horses. Instead, they live in houses.

A side note on the narcos... A brother told us that the US Government posted a list of the narcos on the Embassy website, and told the Honduran Government to go get them, and the Hondurans have actually been listening. This has led to them fleeing La Ceiba, and crime has gotten better around here. Also, one of our other neighbors has recently put their house up for sale; we're not sure if it's related, but why not?

While I was perusing the Embassy site, I found this interesting link to the International Religious Freedom Report. Who knew there was such a thing? Anyway, Jehovah's Witnesses are mentioned a couple of times in regards to persecution in other countries. 

That's all for now.