So, fijese que we were lied to, and as a result, lied to you all. We had been previously told that the pavement would stop a block from our house, but to our great surprise on Sunday they paved half way down the hill past our house! Yes, we now live on a paved street! No more dust, out with the mud, just pura concreta. We know some of you may be scoffing at home thinking, “What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that no town our size should have been left unpaved and we are finally getting the development we deserve, and the property value probably just skyrocketed. Not to mention it feels surreal, like a different town. And the kids and pedestrians are having a heyday playing in the streets while the road is still blocked off to traffic. There couldn’t have been a better Thanksgiving treat for us.
Well, there actually was something better. This past Sunday the kids in our second year high school class graduated! The school year here is kind of opposite that in the US. They start in February and end in November. Last year, we hadn’t been here long enough to know or teach the kids who were graduating (plus it was on Ohio State Saturday….) so we didn’t attend the graduation. This year, we both had taught the kids at least one class and thus had known them since the beginning of the year, so we couldn’t miss their big day.
Graduation, especially from high school, is a big deal here with an official swearing over the flag of Honduras and all kinds of pomp. Not sure why this is, maybe because it’s rarer for someone to get to, let alone pass, high school. The kids (we say kids affectionately, but at least half of our students were older than us) were dressed to the nines in matching suit sets and everyone brought along their parents and their padrinos (literally godparents but more realistically just witnesses and co-signees for the ceremony). Nolan got a seat at the head table while Nicki was the official photographer. After a long-winded introduction (as usual), the students’ names were called and they came forward, shook hands, signed the official book, received their diploma and gifts from the godparents and snapped photos. One girl, worried that her padrinos would show up too late, asked Nicki to be her witness. Another guy who didn’t have a camera also asked to pay her to take photos of him getting the diploma. She was more than happy to oblige without payment.
After the ceremony, the graduates served everyone cake (yes, the graduates served everyone, good kids that they are) and we snapped more photos of them with beaming smiles and proud postures. We couldn’t be happier for these students that worked so hard to get to this milestone in their lives, many with what seemed like insurmountable barriers. As their profes, we were so proud to have helped them achieve their goal and we feel confident that these kids will go on to do great things for Honduras. This was a special Thanksgiving blessing.
Today, Thanksgiving, didn’t really feel like it usually does. It didn’t seem like a holiday since, well, it’s not a holiday here and everyone was working. Our big plans for a Peace Corps celebration are coming up this Saturday, so today we just stayed home and baked a lot of cookies for another graduation (more on that in a later post) and made a delicious chicken pot pie for dinner, just us. We carved a big squash that we’ve had on our porch for a month, only to find that it had the most amazing dark green fleshy interior. We made some toasted squash seed and even caught the Lions/Packers game on t.v. (although the reception was so bad we couldn’t tell a punt from a touchdown). It was a relaxing day, something we have a lot of here in Honduras, and something we are always thankful for.