Coming to an End by Maureen Taylor

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The last time I wrote, President Mel Zelaya had just been thrown out of Honduras and the country went into chaos. Today as I am writing, Mel Zelaya managed to sneak back into the country and once again there is major political unrest. I know in July when all this started the schools were closed for almost a month and students were robbed of class time hindering even more their already minimal education.  Currently there has only been a two day curfew, completely halting any activity in the country including businesses and schools. It is definitely a strange feeling to know that I can potentially be arrested for walking down the street to work in the morning.  I am just hoping this conflict gets resolved quickly and the schools do not close for a month again. If these students do not have the opportunity to finish their classes, many will move onto the next grade being cheated of any actual education for this year.
As for life in El Pital things always seem to stay pretty tranquilo. Rob, the co-director of Un Mundo, and I have been working with two families to finish our pilot project for the composting toilets. I mentioned in my last blog that Elly and I went to do a site visit where another organization had introduced composting toilets. It was then that we decided this would be a great project to bring to the Cuenca, where we live. The project has been moving slower than expected due to the first big problem of the wrong toilet seats being delivered. A composting toilet separates the feces from the urine allowing the feces to change into compost with the help of ash or woodchips. In order to separate the two, a special toilet seat with a hole for the feces and another for the urine is required, which was not what we received after the first delivery. That hindered us for a couple weeks, but as of now the two chambers for the toilets are complete. Now it is the responsibility of the families to finish the top half of the toilets, which includes the walls to the bathroom and the roof. We decided to have the families finish the top half of the bathroom alone, to give them more responsibility and ownership over the bathrooms, so it is not seen as just a gift.  As soon as the families have a chance to finish the top half our first two pilot toilets for our composting toilets will be complete. It is really exciting to know that two composting toilets have been introduced to this area. El Pital and all of La Cuenca Cangrejal is surrounded by lush rainforest, so the importance of the protecting the environment is always on our minds when implementing projects.
As for my other projects I held a women’s group meeting this month in which we discussed the idea of recycling and the economic and environmental benefits of such a concept. In order to represent the idea of reusing we used old plastic bags fused together to make smaller tote bags. The women each designed their own bag of different colors and designs, and they were able to physically see in action the meaning of ‘ones mans’ trash is another mans’ treasure’.
Other than that, I have been busy getting Un Mundo ready to move forward in the next year. This includes writing grant proposals, pilot project proposals and finishing up all current projects I have been working on. It is definitely weird to think I will be back state side in less than two months. I had plans to travel a little around Honduras before I left, but now due to the political situation I do not see that happening as easily. This could however be a good thing. Now I’ll have plenty of time to hang out with the family I live with, other community members and the tons of friends I was lucky enough to have during my time here. It is going to be different knowing that I am going be living at home again, but I’m trying to not think about it to much and enjoy my time here right now.

The last time I wrote, President Mel Zelaya had just been thrown out of Honduras and the country went into chaos. Today as I am writing, Mel Zelaya managed to sneak back into the country and once again there is major political unrest. I know in July when all this started the schools were closed for almost a month and students were robbed of class time hindering even more their already minimal education.  Currently there has only been a two day curfew, completely halting any activity in the country including businesses and schools. It is definitely a strange feeling to know that I can potentially be arrested for walking down the street to work in the morning.  I am just hoping this conflict gets resolved quickly and the schools do not close for a month again. If these students do not have the opportunity to finish their classes, many will move onto the next grade being cheated of any actual education for this year.
As for life in El Pital things always seem to stay pretty tranquilo. Rob, the co-director of Un Mundo, and I have been working with two families to finish our pilot project for the composting toilets. I mentioned in my last blog that Elly and I went to do a site visit where another organization had introduced composting toilets. It was then that we decided this would be a great project to bring to the Cuenca, where we live. The project has been moving slower than expected due to the first big problem of the wrong toilet seats being delivered. A composting toilet separates the feces from the urine allowing the feces to change into compost with the help of ash or woodchips. In order to separate the two, a special toilet seat with a hole for the feces and another for the urine is required, which was not what we received after the first delivery. That hindered us for a couple weeks, but as of now the two chambers for the toilets are complete. Now it is the responsibility of the families to finish the top half of the toilets, which includes the walls to the bathroom and the roof. We decided to have the families finish the top half of the bathroom alone, to give them more responsibility and ownership over the bathrooms, so it is not seen as just a gift.  As soon as the families have a chance to finish the top half our first two pilot toilets for our composting toilets will be complete. It is really exciting to know that two composting toilets have been introduced to this area. El Pital and all of La Cuenca Cangrejal is surrounded by lush rainforest, so the importance of the protecting the environment is always on our minds when implementing projects.
As for my other projects I held a women’s group meeting this month in which we discussed the idea of recycling and the economic and environmental benefits of such a concept. In order to represent the idea of reusing we used old plastic bags fused together to make smaller tote bags. The women each designed their own bag of different colors and designs, and they were able to physically see in action the meaning of ‘ones mans’ trash is another mans’ treasure’.
Other than that, I have been busy getting Un Mundo ready to move forward in the next year. This includes writing grant proposals, pilot project proposals and finishing up all current projects I have been working on. It is definitely weird to think I will be back state side in less than two months. I had plans to travel a little around Honduras before I left, but now due to the political situation I do not see that happening as easily. This could however be a good thing. Now I’ll have plenty of time to hang out with the family I live with, other community members and the tons of friends I was lucky enough to have during my time here. It is going to be different knowing that I am going be living at home again, but I’m trying to not think about it to much and enjoy my time here right now.

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