Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What do you do when a rooster is killed in your yard?

This blog will answer that very important question. A bit of clarification before we begin, it is not uncommon for us to walk out our door and find 5 – 15 chickens hanging out in various locations around our house. This was so abnormal to us when we first got here that I took a picture of some of them the day we moved in. I mean, that’s what you do. You see something different and you take a picture of it, right?

Now I laugh when I look at this picture. It’s so commonplace that is wouldn’t cross my mind to take a picture of it today. Now, what happened this weekend? That was worthy of a few hastily taken, therefore poor quality, pictures. (aka The pictures aren’t great, but I want to have at least some visuals to go with the story!) On Sunday, Sean and I were having a nice relaxing morning filled with books and Honduran coffee when we heard some frantic squawking. We go out on our porch to find two dogs and a bunch of feathers. We looked over our wall to find a surprisingly smart rooster who had jumped off our wall into the bed of our truck.

The dogs were completely dumbfounded. They’d run up our stairs and stare down at the rooster from our wall, then run down to the truck and circle it for a while, totally unable to recreate the view from the wall from their current view on the ground. We continued to be impressed by the rooster until it crowed. I mean, really, does he not have any sense of self preservation whatsoever???? One of the dogs was pretty big so it nearly jumped into the bed of the truck, causing the rooster to jump out of the truck. And, well, you know what happened next. (In my defense, I was yelling at the dogs the whole time. The dog-human relationship is not the same in Honduras as it is in the US. And they completely ignored me.) The thing is, the dogs didn’t eat it. They just roughed it up and left. We stared at it a while wondering what to do. We asked a neighbor that was watching us if we could borrow a machete. (He was still breathing a bit and we didn’t want him to suffer.) Thankfully, he breathed his last breath before the machete arrived. But now, what do we do with it? We went back inside to brainstorm. We’ve heard that even though the chickens run free, they do belong to someone and everyone knows whose chickens are whose. So, find the owner? That seemed like way too much work. And we were a little skeptical about that being true. Sean has said since we’ve arrived here that he wants to slaughter, defeather and dress a chicken, and we’re trying to spend less money. So, eat it? Suddenly Sean didn’t want to actually do it nearly as much as talk about it. =) And we’ve heard something about roosters not being good to eat. (What is the point of a rooster then??? They don’t lay eggs and you can’t eat em.) Option number 3 – put it in a more visible location and let some of the starving dogs eat it. That was my favorite option. After a few hours of talking about it, forgetting about it, then one of us saying – “We really need to do something about that rooster.” We finally went outside. I tried to coax some dogs over to it, but once again, the human dog relationship is not the same here and these dogs did not trust me enough to come anywhere near me. Sean found some pieces of wood and tried to move it.

It wasn’t working very well and at one point he dropped it and it nearly rolled on his foot. (Gross, but super funny.) Once again, we had neighbors watching us that were kind enough to bring over a shovel.
So Sean picked it up and I asked if we should throw it over the fence for the dogs. We got a resounding “NO!!!!! Go find Irma.” So there we were, two gringos traipsing through our neighbors yards with a dead rooster on a shovel looking for a some woman named Irma. (At first Sean thought Irma was a place, which made things even more confusing.) Thankfully, one of the neighbor kids ran ahead of us, found Irma first and explained what had happened. I just heard her saying ‘dos perros’ (2 dogs) and thought “Phew, hopefully this means she won’t blame us for it!” And I was soooo thankful we hadn’t used that machete. I can imagine the conversation – ‘I swear, 2 dogs killed it, we just needed to put it out of its misery. That’s why it’s in two pieces!” We only know a portion of those words in Spanish. She wasn’t angry at all, just kept pointing up the hill to a chicken coop. She’s a nice woman, but speaks very fast and we weren’t catching any of it. Put it back in chicken coop? That seems a little morbid and scary for the other roosters. Bury it in the yard next to the coop? Well, we do have a shovel, so I guess we could. Nope, just throw it in their trash hole hidden behind the coop. Now that we can do! So, apparently it is true that all the chickens belong to someone and next time we’ll know to find the owner right away!

On to more important things – we had our first English class since being back in Honduras. We were both thinking that no one would show up. They hadn’t had class in 4 weeks and what are the chances they would remember that this is the day they start again? We normally have about 12 kids in class. 30 minutes before class was supposed to start we had about 8 kids sitting quietly at the tables we have set up. And none of them had ever been to our class before. So I decided that I would start from square one again and pretend like this was the first class. Then, all of our regulars showed up. We had 18 kids this weekend!! We usually have 2 tables set up and we don’t let the kids sit on our couch during class because couch = good place to goof off. Well, we had to this week. We had 6 kids on our 3-4 person couch! And ALL of them were there at least 20 minutes early so we just started class. They really blew me away. I made a packet of homework for the regulars to do over their 4 week English break and ALL of them did it and the new ones were asking me for more copies. (Could’ve also been the suckers I gave to all the kids who turned their homework in.) All in all it was a fun and encouraging class where the kids really seemed to be getting what was being taught and the oldies were helping out the newbies. The time flew by and our hour long class ended up being about an hour and 40 minutes long without the kids even getting restless. If only every class could be like this one…

Many, many students studiously writing!
As soon as he snapped the picture they all were immediately distracted, of course.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year!

New Year´s resolution number 1 - blog more often and spread the posts out a bit...

Sean and I have just returned to Honduras from a wonderful 3 week Christmas visit in Arizona. (Have you ever noticed just how good the US smells??? Mmm....) We had such a good time at home that we were nervous we´d have a hard time transitioning back to Honduran life. Amazingly enough, as soon as our plane hit the ground we were excited to get back to everything Honduran which was incredibly affirming that we are where we`re supposed to be.

As some of you know, there has been a temporary leadership change on the Honduran side of this ministry. Our Executive Director will be on sabbatical for the next 6 months. Jose Reyes has stepped in as interim Executive Director and Sean and I have immediately taken to his leadership style and are excited with his vision for Heart to Honduras. This vision is true to the original founding vision of the ministry. Jose wants to ensure that we are the absolute best that we can be. One thing he said to me today was "if you can see a way to make it better, good is no longer enough." He´s the kind of leader that quickly makes you excited about things you haven´t thought much of in the past and inspires you to action. We´re excited to see how he will affect this ministry.

Which leads me to a few prayer requests. There are many dedicated people involved in this ministry, but referring back to what Jose said today – we know that we can be better, so good is no longer an option. And from the few conversations we´ve had with him, we know that Sean and I will be an integral part of his plan to start making continuous improvements. Because he is such a leader, we are excited by this challenge, but it is still a challenge, and that is what we need prayer for. That we will rise up to meet these challenges. That we will consistently give our work everything we have. That we would always remember why we are here and what we are doing. And that we would refuse to settle for anything less than our best and would be constantly working towards what is better. I have wanted this year to be one that I could look back and say "I didn´t do this on my own." I want this to be the year that we learn we can do so much more when we are relying on Him. And I think we´ve discovered how that is going to happen!

As always thank you all for your ongoing support and love. We wouldn´t be here without you!