Saturday, November 6, 2010

Las Palmas, the neighborhood

As I said last post, I want to post pictures of the neighborhood where Casa de Luz is located. Of course, this is from my perspective. These are pictures I have taken and what I have seen. Roads are all dirt and hilly. Sometimes Honduras has too little rain, and sometimes it has too much. Right now it is the end of rainy season, so the roads are drying. When it rains you need a high vehicle, preferably with 4 wheel drive. There are many small corner stores called "pulperias." There is one right outside the daycare. It is similar to a small convenient store where you tell the person what you want and they bring it to the window for you. Most of the day people come and go from there. I see kids there often, coming to buy candy, alone. The other day I saw a little kid in a diaper there with what appeared to be a 4 year old.

Another view I see often, actually its the grandmother of one of our kids. The grandmother is walking with a basket of corn or dough on her head, while a little boy (2 years old) wearing a hand towel as his diaper, holding on to her skirt as they try to climb the hill. This is a normal sight for this neighborhood and country. Many times the grandmothers are raising the grandchildren. Its a different family dynamic than we are used to, but at the same time many parents are missing in the picture.

The one story that sticks out in my head is about Genesis. She is 5 years old and lives on the other corner across from the daycare. One day a few weeks ago we were leaving the daycare and she was in the street alone. As we left I saw her through the rear view mirror coming out and turning the corner onto the main street. In front of me, sitting against the wall were 4 guys, 20-30 years old, sitting and loitering (this is normal.) When she rounded the corner, saw the guys, she ran back towards her house. It made me wonder who these men were, why she ran, and what would happen if she crossed their path. I hear stories about how rough the neighborhood is, then I see this little girl wandering in the street with no supervision. The grandmother that cares for the little boy (the story above) is her grandmother.

I think most of the people are starting to recognize me, but I still would not walk around alone. I was told not to be there at night.

In the pictures, you can see the nicer neighborhoods on either side of this neighborhood. There is one area that is where everyone throws, even though 50 feet up the hill is where the trash truck comes. The trash truck comes every Wednesday and rings a bell for you to bring your garbage. It does not come to the houses or close to the daycare, so this is a messy job. Another blessing of a truck.

Water, very few homes have running water. The procedure for using the bathroom is to bring in water from the outside basin and pour it into the toilet. We don't get water every day. When its dry season we will get it even less. All of my kids drink the tap water, that is not clean. We have a purified water jug, but if we run out one day, they drink the tap water. In their homes they drink tap water, if it comes from a tap.

I guess these are a few things that can help you picture it a little better.