Sunday, January 29, 2012

The First Two Weeks

On January 13th at 5:25am I caught a flight for Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This is where I will call home for the next 13 months.  I’m volunteering for an organization called Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. NPH is an organization that cares for abused and orphaned children in numerous Latin American countries. Here in Honduras, NPH looks after more than 500 “pequeños” at its expansive “ranch” location, which encompasses more than 2000 acres. The ranch has many different departments which include: “hogares” - homes in which the children live; 2 medical clinics; a farm and vegetable garden where our food is produced; kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school and trade workshops; as well as homes for the elderly, and hospice care for those living in the final stages of AIDS. It's a huge place.

View of the Hortaliza where we grow our veggies

I’ve now been in Honduras for two weeks. It was hard for me to put together a post before now since I have been over-stimulated by everything new here. Now I feel I can relax a little. Since arriving I’ve been in a constant state of absorption. Meeting new people, exploring the ranch property, visiting nearby Tegucigalpa and other neighboring towns, and testing out my rusty Spanish have occupied most of my time. Since we are currently in the midst of our orientation/training period, I’ve spent a lot of time with other volunteers, old and new. Some of the volunteers just arrived here like me, some of them are half-way though their service at 6 months, and some of them are finishing up and preparing to head home mid-February. All the volunteers here seem to have a lot of energy and a good sense of humor, which I think is necessary for this type of service. All of us volunteers live together as a community in a big home that includes a kitchen and open courtyard that the rooms surround. I currently stay in a large dormitory style room with bunk beds but will move into a regular room once the old volunteers leave in a couple weeks. I have really enjoyed the community style living thus far as I’ve gotten to know my fellow volunteers by spending time with them around the house. 

Casa San Vincente - The volunteer home
I will assume my position as Communications Officer in mid-February and my routine for the next year will begin. Currently, during orientation, our days are filled with meetings and tours of the ranch departments. So each day has been varied in terms of what we do. Some days we stick to the ranch property and become familiar with its resources here. Other days we travel off the ranch to explore the other NPH facilities and programs in the nearby cities and towns. The evenings, on the other hand, are more regular. Each night us new volunteers do the same thing: follow an old volunteer to their “hogar”. All the kids here on the ranch are divided into “hogares” in which they live. One's hogar is determined by the gender, age, and maturity level of each child. Each volunteer has a specific hogar to which  they go each night to eat dinner and generally help out. Soon I will be assigned a hogar with which I will spend every night and every other weekend for the rest of the year. So, during the day I will work as the Communications Officer, and at night I will be with my hogar. Although each day’s task will be different, this will be the pattern I follow for the next year. Once my regular schedule begins I will check back with another post. If you’d like to know more in the meantime about this organization or how to reach me, see the information at the end of this post.

Some more photos for ya...
Some cows chowin' down at the granja. Make sure to watch for a view seconds!
One of the many playgrounds we have on the ranch here.

A view at sunset from a hilltop on the ranch.

Una vaca.

Doing some long exposure on the roof of our volunteer house.

-- For more information on Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos:
-- My Address Here (for snail mail and packages!): 

Hunter Johnson
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. Apvo postal 3223
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Central America

-- To reach me by email:
-- To see more of my pictures: