Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Visitors From Afar..

Well, as far away as Wisconsin. That's pretty far.

We were so glad to be able to meet the sister of one of our good friends from our home church. Kim and Dave and their travel buddies, Frank and Marty, are here for a week and staying at our favorite Sunday hangout, Infinity Bay. Kim called us after they arrived, and we arranged to meet for lunch and a snorkel.
They didn't know what we looked like, or we they, so Dave suggested they wait for us at a table under the palapa while holding a sign saying "Jeanette". We actually got there before they had come down, so we got a table and waited. Pretty soon we saw them approaching with this sign:

We had a great time getting acquainted over lunch. I can't believe I didn't think to get my camera out of my bag before we got in the water. Fortunately, my pal Debi had her underwater camera and took the following photo.

                                            That's us with Kim, Dave, Marty and Frank.

Guess which one of the above six did not snorkel...yes, that's right, that would be Kim, the one with the nice looking hair. It was a perfect day for a long snorkel for the rest of us. No turtles were spotted, but I'll bet they keep looking.

I was so happy to introduce them to many of our beach buddies. Kim said we have a great bunch of friends, and she's right! We sure do. It sure was good to get to know Kim and Dave and their friends. They take an annual spring break beach vacation together. We had a good time trading travel stories.

I snapped one last photo of them as they headed back up to their condo:

We left them with many suggestions for things to see and do, including where to snorkel. I'm sure they'll have a great time.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fun On The Beach

The kids have been back in school for about a month and all are doing well. We decided it was time for a little reward. We planned to take our three girls, Leidy, Julisa and Karla and told them that this was just for girls this time. When we met them at church this morning, Karla's little brother Carlos was with her. So, we took him, too. Rick and Luz Maria took Hilda, Greicy, Haicy, their mom, Cruz, and little brother, Enriquito...oh, and grandpa...and our pastor's son, Colton. Fourteen of us set out for the beach.  What a day we had! Here are some photos of the kids having a blast.

Leidy, and Greicy attacking Karla.
Julisa watching Carlos and Leidy playing.

                          Enriquito, Cruz and Haicy (seldom seen without the snorkel mask!).
                                          They love these colorful air mattresses.
                                                        Haicy looking for fish.
                                                Water fight!  Greicy under attack.

              Mr. Rick carrying Enriquito while surrounded by Haicy, Leidy, Karla and Julisa.
                                                      Don being stalked by Leidy.

Some of the grownups have had enough sun and retreat to loungers in the shade: Don, Luz Maria, and grandpa. Luz had an interesting observation, she said "you know, appearances can be deceiving. Grandpa may not be as old as you and I." To which I replied, "Very likely. And you know, Leidy's grandma is only a couple of years older than my son!" That was a very weird thought, but true!!

We consumed three large pizzas, three orders of chicken fingers with fries, salad, and plenty of Cokes, then they were ready to jump back in the water for another hour or two. They will sleep well tonight. Me too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Donating Blood

Ok, this story is too good not to be told, even though it is not my personal story. A friend of mine on the island shared this experience with me.

There is a young man on the island who was in desperate need of blood and the call went out for blood donors. My friend, Debbie, is O- which makes her a universal donor, so she drove to Woods Clinic in Coxen Hole to help out. When she arrived, a couple of young guys who were just hanging around offered to watch her car for her. She declined their offer and instead paid the equivalent of 75 cents to park in a guarded lot across the street.

When she entered the clinic, there were already a lot of people waiting to donate blood. The island does not have a blood bank, so when the need for blood arises, a call goes out via word of mouth and the internet. Fortunately, many generous people responded. There were so many people waiting at the clinic that one of the women handling donors suggested that several people come with her to the public hospital a short distance away, including those who needed to be typed.  Debbie agreed to go and even drove the woman there in her car and then had to repark (parking is often a challenge in Coxen Hole, no parking allowed on the streets and very few lots available).

I have not been in this hospital, but from what I've been told, it is an interesting adventure where you may have to supply your own sheets and food, and where supplies, staff, and bathrooms are in short supply.

Debbie and the others were led directly into the lab where she noted that the equipment appeared dated and well used. She was rather alarmed to note that the tubes used to collect the blood appeared very well used, obviously not used one time and discarded as in the U.S., and she wondered how thoroughly they had been sanitized. When the woman in charge discovered that there were NO bags in which to collect the blood, she decided that they would have to go back to the clinic and wait their turn. Debbie was relieved to hear that.

Back to the clinic, once again moving her car and reparking. After 3 of the female donors (islanders) had been found to be too anemic to donate, it was decided that they would only take blood from the men. Many of these men did not know their blood type and would first need to go over to the hospital to be typed. Debbie knew hers and knew that she was a universal donor and healthy, but they wanted only male donors.  And just to make it more interesting, one of the women drawing blood decided that she didn't feel well and needed to go home right then, leaving the remaining employee to do all the draws. There were probably 40 people waiting. Debbie left after spending two hours for nothing. She did offer some suggestions to the woman who was running the show, tips for being better organized and handling the crowd.

Eventually enough blood was collected (hopefully of the right type and healthy), the young man was transfused, stabilized and moved to a hospital on the mainland. He's doing fine.

We hope we never need blood while here, but it is nice to know that there are so many people willing to donate. Also nice to know that Debbie and I share a blood type.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Amateur Photographers

I took my camera along with me when Don and I went up to church for the afternoon tutoring session with the sponsored kids. Karla wanted to use my camera so I showed her how to take a photo and then turned her loose in the classroom. Here are some of the results:

Me and Oscar



                                                  Jessie with pencils stuck in her hair.

                                               Karla, girl photographer and photo critic.

Karla proved to be a quick study. She learned how to look at the photos she had taken and then spotted the tiny trashcan symbol. She asked if that was how to get rid of the photos that were no good, and I said "yes". She obviously deleted a lot of them because she took far more than remain on the camera. Little Carlos also wanted to take pictures, and I have a feeling that Karla deleted most of them. A photo critic in the making.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Week in Pictures

Sunday is our beach day with friends. We had a norther preparing to move in, so the sea was quite rough with 3-4 foot waves. No snorkeling, but we did get in the water and I got a few mouthfuls of salt water (and a bit of a sunburn).

The winds continued to pick up with great gusts and lots of rain on Monday and Tuesday, and then this magnificent double rainbow appeared. We could even see the purple stripe of the lower rainbow. I showed this photo to the women at the Spanish ladies Bible class and I learned that in Spanish, rainbow is arco iris.

The rain let up enough to allow me to go to both the bible study and the monthly ladies luncheon without getting wet. This is the view from the restaurant in Gravel Bay. The tide was very low, so you can see lots of turtle grass. Off in the distance you can see a cruise ship docked at the Port of Roatan in Coxen Hole. (click on the photos to see more detail.)

The restaurant, Port Side, is in this house perched up on top of this enormous rock. They actually cut a walkway through the rock to reach the stairway up to the restaurant. The monthly luncheons are growing in popularity. We had 32 women there (all the restaurant could accommodate) and 18 more who wanted to come. Good food and conversation. That's my friend, Debbie Lybrand, in the above photo.

Lots of rain brings lots of flowers and plant growth. Our assorted palm trees are shooting up! (Do click on this collage to enlarge it.)

Don and I tutored on Monday without Susan, and the kids were really wound up! They just wanted to get out and play soccer but it was pouring down rain so they played on the very wide deck of the mission inn (where our classroom is). Made it pretty noisy for Don who by then was helping Juan with physics.  I helped again on Friday and the kids were much calmer. They were all eager to share how well they were doing in school.  

 Susan and Tia started a teen girls' group at church recently. Today was my first time to help out. There were 16 girls. Susan's sister, Lynn, who is a nurse, brought a team down consisting of several nurses, a pharmacist, and chef who is training to be a nutritionist. They gave a presentation on nutrition, the importance of eating right and handed out these food charts to instruct the girls in a healthy diet. They were encouraging them to eat more fruits and vegetables. Good advice, but for many of these girls, they eat what their family can provide, usually rice and beans and not many veggies. Alvin did warn them about how bad it is to eat a lot of junk food and drink Coke (which they all love). Leidy looks up at me, grinning, and pointing to her thermos bottle, says "I have Coke!".

The nurses talked about the importance of frequent hand washing and demonstrated the proper technique which included singing the "happy birthday" song while washing. The length of the song is the length of time that should be spent washing. The girls thought that was pretty funny.

Tanya and Julisa are busy chopping zucchini. Chef Alvin invited the girls to come help chop up a variety of veggies and mangoes for a big salad. They enjoyed that.

Then they were invited to eat the fruits of their labor. Leidy has just stacked her tortilla with a spread of beans, chopped veggies and mangoes and is now getting some almonds sprinkled on top.
Most of the girls really liked this, but some of them didn't care for the almonds.
The team also passed trays of other cut up veggies for them to try. Most of them did not know what cauliflower or broccoli was and most didn't much like them either. They loved the carrots and cucumbers. I thought they would like the sweet red peppers, but Leidy and Greicy sure didn't. They also had little tuna salad sandwiches, and no one went home hungry, in fact, many of them took home some leftovers. 

The team is going to present this same information to the Spanish ladies Bible class on Tuesday. They haven't decided if they will do the meal again.

Friday, March 2, 2012

An Art Project

Leidy surprised me the other day when I arrived for our homework help session. She proudly gave me her art project...just like I was her mom! She said "I made this for you".

I must admit, when she showed me an old, naked Barbie doll last week and said that she had to create a costume for her as her art project, I couldn't help but think "what a lame art project!". She had a scrap of pink ribbon that she wanted to use and needed more of it. I couldn't imagine what she was planning. I was stunned when she showed me what she had done and even more so when she gave it to me! A proud moment.