martes, 9 de diciembre de 2008

Church Poems

One of the difficulties of not being able to understand Spanish is having to sit through church. It is hard to pay attention when church is in English, and it is almost impossible when its in a language I don't understand.

To cope with the boredom, I scribble out poems. My poem collection has greatly increased because I write at one or two every week. Usually they are about some frustration I had during the past week. This past weekend I was really frustrated with how little I understand and thus my two poems on communication and understanding.

Power of Words
Words—the essence of communication
Words—can warm the soul
Words—can break the heart
Words—can inflame or calm a situation.

Communication—the essence of relationships
Communication—solves the problems
Communication—shares the love
Communication—begins with the lips.

The lips—communicates love with a kiss
The lips—says anger with a frown
The lips—brightens all with a smile
The lips—can send two into a state of bliss.

The words form from the lips and communicate
What the heart has to say.
If there is no understanding then your
Communication will never be okay.

Entiende, yo espero.
The words
Jumble and rumble
Inside my head
Still the meaning
I do not know.

Sounds I recognize
Words I hear
Understand? Nope!

Will I ever
Be able to say
Yo hablo, Yo entendio?

Or will I stay
At the place of
Trying to understand,
My head hurting
From the strain of
Escuchando, piensando
De palabras?

Will my words
Ever come out like
A calm river, instead
Of building blocks

Una dia,

I'm excited that I only have two days of teaching left and then VACATION!!!!

martes, 25 de noviembre de 2008

I´m Still Alive!!!

Sorry for being a deliquent blogger. Much has gone on since I last posted. Edwin Fisher came down to study for his boards and the two of us have had some fun adventures together. We got to spend 4 days at Roatan with the Wilburs, family friends. That was very relaxing and I hated having to come back to school. While in Roatan we took a kayak out to go snorkling and tipped over. We ended up losing Edwin´s mask but after praying about it, we were able to find it and his sun glasses. Another fun event was a scavenger hunt that I hosted. We had to run all over the town doing silly things. My team won. After the game we watch a movie. I had about 20 or more people crammed into my house. It was a great time. Then on Sunday we went to Valle de Angeles. Edwin, Paul and I ended up climbing a mountain. It was great.

To make up for the fact I haven´t written in a long time, I have pictures!!! Thanks to Edwin.

Tired after running to the top of the mountain

Trying to talk to trees

Mis amigos, Claudia and Paul

Edwin, Paul and I at the top

I was hungry

I¨m not drinking don´t worry, I used it for my bug bites!

Watching the sunset

Edwin and I

Lounging under a tree

Riding around with Aunt Jeanette

viernes, 31 de octubre de 2008

Making Memories

This week was the first week in a long time where we had a classes every day. I had gotten used to the whole 4 day or less work week. However, I have managed to not only survive but to have a mostly excellent week. I say mostly because there were several depressing moments, such as when my 9th graders didn´t do any of the work I assigned and when I did the grades and discovered that several of my classes have only five students passing.

For extra credit in my 11 grade lit class, I divided my kids up into groups to dramatize Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet. They had the liberty to make creative changes. The first group made Juliet 100 years old. They were all guys and dressed up as girls. Erick who was playing Juliet even made himself some breast to go along with his outfit. I laughed so hard I was crying. It made the rest of the day brighter after laughing so hard.

Another source of laughter was on my walk home. Every day I get hit on by random strangers who profess their love for me. Well on this particular walk home, I felt even more special by the unique way this guy expressed his love for me. He was driving a truck that was blaring propaganda for his candidate for all the town to hear. As I walked by, I said in English,¨Hey pretty lady, I love you. You´re so beautiful. I like the way you walk.¨ I couldn´t help but smile.

Smiles kept on coming with the Champapas party last night. It was a cultural celebration of the different parts of Honduras. Each secondary class had a booth from different parts of Honduras and sold the local food from that area. I tried buying something from each booth as all my classes were insisting on my buy from them. My belly was extended as far as possible, I ate so much!!! I had a frita, corn covered in mayonnaise and cheese, horchata, pupusas, and two different types of drinks.

Dancing is essential to any good party and they had a dance competition. To begin, they had invited a group to do a presentation. It was really amazing. they were dancing with machetes and throwing them in the air. It was crazy. The whole dance was a long drama. Of course the 2nd graders were a lot cuter doing their traditional dance. The Seniors won the dance competition and my 7th graders won for having the best booth.

With all the dancing and the sugar I had, I also wanted to participate in the fun of swirling around. So I convinced Kayla (a sm from Union) to dance with me. We were trying to remember some swing moves. One move we tried ended up with me falling on my butt HARD! Fortunately only about 3 people were there to see it. When some of the 11th grade girls heard about it, they were disappointed they had missed seeing me fall on my butt!

Even though my kids are failing and not paying attention, most of them like. I´ve been told i´m the cool teacher. In fact I´m so cool I´ve been invited to several parties. I declined all 0f the invites.

Our first quarter is almost finished. Two months are over. I´m starting to enjoy teaching just a little be more. At least, I´m not thinking of diseases I can contract in order to leave early!

domingo, 26 de octubre de 2008


After school was canceled due to the flooding, I wondered what I was going to do with another two days free. Luckily for me they were so busy I forgot to miss my kids.
Thursday afternoon, the pathfinder group went out to where the flood victims were staying and passed out food. Then we went down to where the water had been. I could see the line where the water had been. It reached just below the roofs of the one story buildings.

The whole flooding didn´t make very much sense to me. It didn´t rain that much in my opinion to make the water rise ten feet in the morning and go completely down by evening. This happened both on Sunday and on Thursday. I was thinking that if it flooded like this every time it rained 5 days in a row, that the people were pretty silly for building their houses so close to the river. I asked Jesse, she works at the school, how often it flooded like this. She told me that it hasn´t flooded like this before, not even when Hurricane Mitch came through. She told me that supposedly the government said that they didn´t let any water out of the dam but they are just saying that so people won´t get mad at them. So supposedly the flooding is because the government released a lot of water from the dams. Our area isn´t the only area affected. In San Pedro Sula, most of the plantations were covered in water and hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost.

Friday and Saturday, the youth from the church and another city, went down to a neighborhood to help them clean out their houses. The walls were covered in mud and the floors were covered in about 2-3 inches of thick, slimy, stinky mud. In the beginning it was hard to clean the houses because we didn´t have very much water. We would push as much mud out of the house as we could and then using buckets of water slowly but surely we would get the houses clean. Saturday afternoon, the cleaning process went much quicker as we had an ADRA water truck and were able to just pump water into the houses. I think that we were able to help clean out around 10 or more houses.

My hands are very sore and stiff from spending the day sweeping mud and I´m glad to spend the day relaxing. I´m hoping that I don´t get any weird worms or parasites from the mud as I didn´t have boots and was wearing Crocs. Whenever we went into a house that was really stinking, I thought I sure hope I don´t get anything to hard to kill.

I know several have asked for pictures but I left my camera in the states. I´m posting some pictures that my friend Claudia took the first weekend I was here.
The teachers meeting the parents
The School
Vivi and I with our pine needle crowns
Hugging a tree

jueves, 23 de octubre de 2008

Bridge about to collapse

This morning after the first hour of classes, school was canceled because the main bridge was about to collapse due to all the water. The government has shut down the schools again. I don´t know if we´ll have school tomorrow.

I know that several of my students have been affected by the flood. Andrea Moss of 8b had her whole house submerged. Please keep us all in your prayers.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2008

Rain Rain GO AWAY!!!!

Well the constant dripping is definately annoying. Unfortunately, its more then annoying for some people. The rivers are swollen and there is flooding. Sunday morning, I awoke to hear helicopters buzzing about. I didn´t know what all the noise was about. I live a seclusive life, no tv, internet, or telephone. (well i have my cell).

As I walked to the SM house to see Claudia, I met the pathfinder group and they invited me to help them move Pastor Roy and Norma (the principal). I found out they were moving because their house was filling with water and they were worried that if it rained more the river might come up to thier house. I was expecting the house to be on the river´s edge. It wasn´t and it would take a lot more raining for it to be. However, they were moving and I helped. I´m not even sure if they were moving becuase of the flooding.

Between loading up the truck and waiting for to return empty, I was taught spanish words and played some interesting games. Most of the time I didn´t know what was going to happen until it did. It made playing so much more interesting.

When we were finished moving, the group went down to see the river. It had gone down but was still incredibly high. The soccer field was now part of the river. There was a beach where there used be green grass. After skipping stones across what used to be the soccer field, we headed home.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the stadium to watch the soccer game. On the way there, I was able to see how high the river had risen. It had covered the bridge at one point. After the game was over, we went to Pizza Hut. The river was massive by the main road. There houses that were covered almost entirely in water. The taxi driver pointed out the club and told us that river came over the road and into the club while there were people in it dancing.

The rain is still failing. It stops for a couple of hours and the resumes again. The government closed school and so I don´t have to teach tomorrow. Ironically, I actually miss my students and was looking forward to teaching tomorrow. I think its that I´d rather fight with them then have absolutely nothing to do.

Hopefully, the weather changes for the better and those that lost their homes are able to find better ones. As always, life is interesting.

viernes, 10 de octubre de 2008

I¨m getting old!!!!!

Last Sabbath on the way to Tegus, Claudia found a white hair! Yesterday I found 2 more. I´m going gray! Its the stress of teaching, I think. I am not happy with these new discoveries! I hope that by the time I leave I´m not so white that have to dye my hair. How horrible would that be! I´ll have to go on a strict juice fast to combat my aging.

In addition to my white hair, I have some wrinkles under my eyes. Oh woe is me!

The upside is that people will stop thinking I´m 16.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

jueves, 9 de octubre de 2008

Romeo and Juliet

I am embarking on the adventure of teaching Shakespeare. I haven´t read Shakespeare before so teaching it will be even more of a challenge, especially since he isn´t my favorite author. I had my students sign up for the different parts and they will be acting it out. We´ll see how it goes. I hope the students enjoy it and I hope that I am able to impart some knowledge about Shakespeare to them. I know that I have already learned more about Shakespeare then I thought I would.

Other then that, school is the same. Some days are good, some days are ok, and some are absolutely horrible. Tuesday was one of those bad days. I caught two students cheating on my test and on top of that, most of the students failed the test. I thought it was easy. The review sheet and the test were exactly the same except the test had less on it. Many didn´t even know the difference between countries and landforms. how frustrating! this is what we have been studying for the past two weeks. I think I might have to give them more homework and quizzes to help put the information in their brains!!!!

Thanks for the prayers!!!!

miércoles, 1 de octubre de 2008

The ups and downs of teaching

Last week, Monday, I was very tired of teaching. I didn´t think I would be able to handle disobiedent kids for the next ten months. I was even thinking of ways I could get out of teaching with out looking like a failure. I knew a good excuse would be to get very sick. So my disease of choice was hepatitis. Luckily for me, I could probably contract that down here if I hadn´t gotten the shots to prevent it. The next idea was I could get pregnant of course that means I would be stuck with a kid for the rest of my life. My only choice left was to tell my kids that I wasn´t going to tolerant their disrespect any more.

On Tuesday, I gave every class a speech on my expectations of them and the results if they don´t obey. To the counselor they go and if they go three times, SUSPENSION! I think they were shocked to see me so mean. It was hard to keep a serious mad face all day. However it worked.

On Wednesday, I actually enjoyed my classes. My 7th grade social studies class always seems excited to see me. Several of my students actually hugged me and told me they loved me. I had some affirmation and I knew that I would be able to survive the year.

My devotions all week were on perservance. It was what I needed. I know that God will help me through any situation.

On a different subject, I finally moved into my house. My only piece of furniture was my bed. Fortuneately I have now aquired a hot plate and a microwave. Still no fridge. My neighbor across the street has a little store and she keeps a sharp eye on me. I think she thinks I might be a crazy for living by myself. I like it though. The best thing is that I have a patio that can grow some tomatoes and other veggies in pots.

One day left of teaching this week and then the long weekend. I can´t wait. I´m heading to the mountains to get some relief from the heat. It will be wonderful, I´m going to hug some trees!

miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2008

My Address

So I finally found out what my address is. If you want to make my day by sending me a letter, a post card or a package with yummy things like cookies in it, send it to Joy Grabiner, Escuela Bilingual Maranatha, PO Box 322,  Comayagua, Honduras.

domingo, 21 de septiembre de 2008

The past week

It’s been awhile since I posted. We had a nice break because of Honduras’s Independence Day celebrations. We only had two days of teaching last week. Unfortunately we did have to march in the parade with the students on Monday so we couldn’t take off and go chill at the beach.

Other then marching at the parade, I spent my free days finishing my yearly program, catching up on sleep, and just being lazy. It was nice.

On Friday we had teachers day. So the classes between recess and lunch were canceled. I wasn’t that lucky since I only have one class during that time. Despite having so many days off, I was so glad for the weekend!!!

The Student Missionaries (SM), Paul (he works at the school in the office) and I sent of on an adventure. It was a little amusing and frustrating to go with the girls, as most of them haven’t taken a bus in a foreign country. We got at the bus station before Paul and some of the girls were starting to get a little anxious about him not showing up and going without him. While they were discussing what they were going to do, I went and bought my ticket I was going!

The bus ride was uneventful and we arrived in La Gauma with no problems. There we took a bus to the National Parque Visitors Center. According to the Lonely Planet, you could rent camping gear and camp or stay in cabins. I was planning on camping. Unfortunately, they didn’t have camping gear and all their cabins were full. Lucky us. ☺ They did have lodge for 20 people and agreed to let us stay there for 120 lempira, (a little more then $6) per person. The place was well set up with blankets, towels, soap and even hot water. Since some of the girls didn’t have money, they decided to only stay one night, much to my dismay. I thought about staying by myself but decided since I did have schoolwork to do on Sunday I’d come back.

Saturday morning, bright and early, Candace and I went for a quick to a near by waterfall. I took my bath there. For breakfast most the girls went to the café, but Kayla and I stayed and we had a very nice Bible study. I think that was the best part of the trip.

At 8 our guide came and got us for our hike. I really didn’t think we needed a guide, but the girls asked him. We hiked up the mountain stopping at two waterfalls to swim in. We hiked up into the cloud forest and stopped where there was a nice view for lunch. This is where I got really annoyed. Candace had left her sunglasses by one of the waterfalls and wanted to go back and get them. I wanted to continue hiking the trail up the mountain and then back down the other side. All the trails were in a loop, so it didn’t matter if we split up, as we would end up in the same place. However, we had the guide and he refused to let us split. I tried to explain that the path was very easy to follow and I know how to hike and would be fine. He wouldn’t let me go though. To make my point clear to him, I left the group when we got to the waterfall and walked back fast! When we got back to the lodge, we packed up and came back home.

A new week has begun. I hope that this week will go well. I pray that I will become a better teacher and inspire my students to learn!!!!

miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2008

So far....

this week has been worse! I found out Tuesday that all my lesson plans for the year and next two weeks where due Thursday. Talk about stress. I'm sure I'm going to come back from Honduras with gray hair. The weekend can't come quick enough!!!!!!!!!!

domingo, 7 de septiembre de 2008

My first week

Monday was easy. All we did was getting to know each other activities and what the rules were. If only every day was so easy. The rest of the week I was just trying to survive. I didn't really have the week planned out since I didn't know what I was teaching when and how much. I have 9 classes that I'm teaching and that equals to about 32 hours. eleventh and ninth grade are my worst classes. They don't behave!!!! 

Thursday afternoon, Claudia and I took the day off from lesson planning and explored the city a bit more. We got hair cuts and then walked through the market to the mall. On the way, I bought some roasted corn from a lady selling on the street corner. When claudia saw what I was doing, she was surprised that eat food from the street. It tasted delicious and I didn't get sick at all. 

Saturday, I went to siyatipeque to Claudia's house. Its about half an hour away in the mountains. It was so much cooler that when the clouds rolled in, I had to wear a sweatshirt. While on our walk, it started to pour down. Luckily there was a shelter, but since the rain didn't show signs of stopping, we ran back to the car. We spent the evening watching the soccer match between Canada and Honduras. Honduras won!!!

Today I had the opportunity to go to a soccer game. Unfortunately Comayague's team lost. The most exciting part of the game was walking home. There were three big cows with horns that were walking our direction. I tried to get out of the way, but they seemed to want to be where I was. I basically plastered myself against the wall, hoping they wouldn't get mad and gore me. Thankfully they just kept walking by. 

My second week of teaching is about to begin. I feel much more prepared and ready! I hope it goes well!

domingo, 31 de agosto de 2008

My teaching adventure has begun

My adventure has begun. ☺ When I arrived at the Atlanta airport I had to remove five pounds from my bag but luckily I was able to fit the extra stuff in my pillow except my conditioner which Luke took back. Since I had only slept about 3 hours the night before, I was sound asleep before the plane took off and didn’t wake till we landed in Houston. On my flight to Honduras I again slept most of the way.

Upon arrival I realized that I didn’t have anyone’s number. If no one picked me up I couldn’t call anyone. So I made my game plan that I would take a taxi to the bus station to Comayagua. After waiting about 30 mins for someone to get me I decided it was time to put my plan into action. I changed my money, asked the information lady where the bus was, and started to head out the door. Just at that moment, a lady asked if I was Joy. Thankfully I didn’t have to hassle with the taxi and bus. She had many errands to do in Tegucigalpa and I ended up sleeping for most of it, but we didn’t arrive in Comayagua till 6.

I was shown my room, and then brought to the school so I could call my parents. After that, we got pizza from Dominoes. When I was brought home, I was told work starts at 6:45 in the morning. Bright and early! I went straight to bed and slept till 5:30 when I took a very cold shower and got ready for my day.

I didn’t know that we were going to have to go to each of our classes and introduce ourselves. After doing that, I got my books. I have a huge stack. Then the principal told me that I have two types of lesson planning I had to do and who I bring them to when finished with them. I have a lot of work to do!

The way they arrange classes here is very interesting. The students don’t move from class to class. The teachers do. The schedule is very interesting to. Every day I teach my classes at a completely different time. It’s pretty confusing. Monday I know my first class is 8th grade lit. but after that I don’t remember and they took the schedule back. I’m planning on spending the whole Sunday on lesson planning and organizing.

After work I went to Claudia’s house. We then went shopping for food. We left eggs cooking since we weren’t going to be gone that long. There was only one problem. When we got back the other girls were gone and Claudia had forgotten her keys. We sat out side the house getting whiffs of burning boiled eggs. Another teacher drove by and asked why we weren’t at the birthday party. We had both paid 25 lempiras for this birthday party and thought it was Saturday night. So we were bummed that we missed out on food and were still stuck out side the house smelling burnt eggs. Finally, one of the SMs came by and opened the door.

After eating a delicious lunch/supper (it was 4), I came back to my house, took a cold shower, and a nap. Then around 7 I went to a bible study. It was very similar to the how the ACF Friday night fellowship in CO was. We sang songs, and then said what we were grateful for and then studied the Bible. Of course this was all in Spanish so I didn’t understand very much, but it was nice to practice it. I even said what I was thankful for in Spanish. We ended by hugging everyone and then the boys walked the girls home so they would be safe.

Sabbath was spent in church and the eating lunch at the sm’s house. I spent the afternoon regaling them with my travel stories. They think I’m crazy now. ☺ Saturday Night the church came to the pastor’s house to say goodbye. It was one crazy goodbye party. The boys were barking at everything. It was like a house full of crazy dogs. They sang some songs and one was about a horse and who ever was the horse had to bump butts with another person and then they became the horse. It was pretty amusing. Of course, I went to bed early and missed out on the social where the games were played. But it was nine and I was tired. ☺ Of course the girls thought I was crazy for walking home all by myself at night. Maybe I am, the area seems pretty safe to me.

Sunday morning I woke up bright and early and started working on my lesson plans. I got my first day planned quickly. Then spent the rest of the day working on the yearly plan. I can’t do my two-week plan until I get my schedule back and know how many classes and which classes I’m teaching when. Then I can figure out how much I have to cover in two weeks, etc.
Since I didn’t to spend the whole day doing lesson plans, I decided to go for a jog. It happened to start raining just then but just made my run more interesting. I went around the town and got to know it a bit better. I only had one guy ask me if I was married. After I was done running I went to the SM’s house to take a shower since my shower is clogged. What a wonderful shower it was. They have hot water. ☺

My week is about to begin and I’m sure it will be an adventure.