lunes, 13 de agosto de 2007

Elena and Luis sharing the experience

What a wonderful feeling to go to Campamento, Trujillo and see the happy faces of Elena and Luis! We are quite lucky to have such adventorous friends who take their time to know this country that most tourist pass or just go to the islands (which is not a bad choise anyway).

After a trip that they had to Guatemala we introduced them to the people of Vallecito. It was a beautiful meeting which gave a lot to both sides. Luis played football with them and Elena was very creative painting with the children.The situation of this group is a bit better as they have been cultivating land and very soon they will have their first corn, beans and so on. The land is very fertil and with the help of Edy, who is our foundations ingenier of agriculture, they have learned new, more ecological methods of cultivation.
The sad part is that the land is not good for living. It is next to the big Aguan river which floods easily and also is a perfect sphere for all kinds of insects to live. Especially the children suffer from bites and many of them have had illnesses as dengue fever. The group has faced also another setback as the local land owner unjustly closed the road to their lands. Another proof of corruption in this country. The group is trapped as they can only use another, much longer and worse, path from 6am until 3pm. This way they can not take any products out to sell and worst of all, the children don´t have access to schools. Working with this group has prooved us that there is a reason why when asking a peasant how he is, the answer is;" Siempre en la lucha"
which means "always fighting".

martes, 31 de julio de 2007

Taru in Wonderland and visit to indigenous Guatemala

Last three and a half weeks we had great company with us here in Honduras; our dear friend Taru came to visit us. We enjoyed her company and the way she enjoyed everything. Taru was a great help for us in the organization of national forum "Participation and Natural Resources". She also helped the local kindergarden. We relaxed and snorkled in a remote Caribbean island with a our friends Susana and JP of the NGO Medicos del Mundo. She got to go to Cuaca Puntilla with Pauliina. Cuaca Puntilla is a small village in the middle of the mountains where one gets only by feet or a horse. We had interesting and emotional interviews for Pauliina´s research on migration and also got our butts sore of riding with the horse and mules.
The last days of her visit we went to Antigua Guatemala. It was a welcome break for us all. The town´s colonial style and colors were calming. We couldn´t get enough inhaling the traditions and the beauty of the indigenous people. The active volcano next to the town was majestic. We visit an indigenous town nearby and got to witness an indigenous wedding. Well let´s not even talk about the handcrafs. Such a form of art!

miércoles, 20 de junio de 2007

Reaching to the moon...

Hello everybody. It has been quite a long time since we have last updated the blog. However, we would like to keep you updated on what has happened to the peasants from Vallecito, the group of landless peasants with which we have comitted ourselves professionally and personally. One month ago, after receiving loads of letters from Spain, Finland (we are really grateful with all those who have send the letters) and several other European countries, the government resettled the peasants in a new land. The day the peasants finally moved to their new land was very cheerful and emotional. In the truck of our NGO there were beds, tables, chickens, a baby crocodile, pieces of wood, dogs and all sorts of stuff the families wanted to carry. All their possesions were there. The last family was carried when the sun was already disappearing to the horizon.
However, things have not gone as smoothly as desired. The day after the peasants arrived, one of the landowners of the area closed a road which has been opened for more than 40 years uninterruptedly. Although the deed is illegal, as it is a public road, the officials are not doing much to solve the problem. Furthermore, there is a high risk of floods from June to January in the land the peasants are occupying now. This land is only good for cultivations, but living there is impossible. Therefore, the peasants need to buy some other land where they could live, yet sate has made clear that this is not going to happen. The Foundation and organizations of the area are doing their best to find some kind of alternative solution. The problems of landless peasants are enormous and complex.
The weather in Tocoa is tremendously hot right now. We are looking forward for the rainy season to start. Anyway, life has treated us well. Quite busy with work but there is always time to enjoy. Manu is practising football for the tournament between our Foundation and another Honduran NGO which is taking place this week-end. Pauliina´s dance classes are going well ahead and there is a new group only for children. Fun and creative! We have been spending time with friends in the river and some of our friends have paid us a visit. Nothing is better than going to the roof of our house to look at the stars in good company.

jueves, 26 de abril de 2007

Cuba, Vamos Bien!

Pauliina and I spent a couple of weeks in Cuba. Ossi, Pauliina's father, united our team as he also decided to travel half the world to see us. The two weeks spent there provided us a chance to get a break from our daily lives in Honduras, taking a deep breath and coming back with renovated energy. We could also do something we cherish: travel together.

Cuba is another world. This being certain of every country, it is even more of Cuba, a country that has endured a communist regime for almost half a century. We both felt it would be impossible in two weeks to know how the country works. So we tried to chat with Cubans and ask about their reality, without forgetting that all the data we collected could not possibly explain life there. Nevertheless, the education, security, status of women rank high compared to the rest of the Central American countries. However, the lack of freedom can not be compensated by the social gains. It is like a beautiful car without an engine. It is admirable, but it goes no where.

We also took time just to enjoy this experience. There was lots of ways to have fun. Our first good wine in months, excellent live music from salsa to jazz, the beauty of Habana with its mixture of radiant squares and ruined buildings, absolutely polished coffee places and unbearable odors. We found some intresting artists and their fantastic works, got to know real personalities who didn´t care a bit about social norms. We hang around Malecón were the cubans go to spend some time and fotographed the street signs which were full of propaganda. All in all it was like a step back in time. Yet after Honduras, Cuba felt quite developed.

We also had time to visit the country side. Viñales was our favorite place. We stayed at a hotel with marvelous views over the Valley. Manu was a little bit sicks those days, but with enough strength to enjoy a horseride. Pauliina loved it and got the spark to learn more. All of us were laughing all the time. But the best rider was Ossi, he tamed his horse that showed to be a little bit furious. There we could see peasants from the valley and we remembered the peasants from Honduras. They all share a certain innocence that we adore.
After Viñales we headed south and visited Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Sancti Spíritu. The trip was quite interesting as there are hardly any street signs and the cubans have a peculiar way of explaning. We got lost countless times, which wasn´t only a bad thing as in this way we saw quite interesting places. Anyway, we were not in a hurry. In Trinidad we went to the beach, danced salsa (and felt clumsy in front of incredible dancers) and enjoyed the handicrafts of the village. Trinidad is a colonial town and with its architecture and colours it gave a sensation of walking in a dream. Sancti Spíritu was a contrast to other overcrowded turistic Cuban spots. It was the most "real" place we visit. The afternoon there was very amusing, the people were very friendly and the three of us ended up in the roof of the family house we stayed looking at the stars, the fallen moon, with couple of beers. Of course the finnish stayed longer than the spaniard!

Last days in La Habana we relaxed. Last good meal, last good songs, Manu swimming with the Cubans in the Malecón, learning more about the revolution, tasting 7 year old rhum, finding out where Hemingway lived and wondering how the sea in front of La Habana inspired him, chatting and laughing with Ossi and then, back to Honduras, our now home.

lunes, 2 de abril de 2007

The beautiful minds of Vallecito

Sunday morning after the party, Pauliina and Manu went to Sinaloa which is the place where the National agriculture institute has their regional office. There, for almost one year, eighty peasant families have lived in horrible conditions. After getting to know the peasants the first week of our stay in Honduras, Pauliina and I immediately sympathised with them and decided to be there for them whenever they would need our support and more. Well, on sunday some of the peasants and we decided to organize a film session. We started with a fantastic documentary about the brasilian landless peasant movement, "Los Sin Tierra". Despite their early curiosity, the kids were not that interested on the grown-up stories. Everything changed when we projected the film Bambi. Imagine some kids watching their first animated film ever. The laughter was overwhelming and generalized as the adults joined their children. The tenderness and innocence of the peasants captured our atention. A man with his child sleeping in his legs, a ten year old little girl that holds her brother in her arms. The kids looking behind the blackboard where the movie was projected trying to figure out where bambi and the rest of the animals were. After the movie we chatted with the peasants and walked again around their camp. Afterwards we returned home and tried to rest, still recovering from the birthday party.

Dear family and friends, as you might already know this is the group of peasants we wrote you about. These are the people that you too have been supporting. We would like to thank you all for your answers to our request. We are sure your actions will have a direct impact on the lives of these people. We feel close to them and their fate, and we are glad you do as well.

Of course, the children only allowed our departure after promising we will be there next sunday with a new movie!

Birthday celebration with our friends

Last saturday we celebrated Manu´s birthday with a bunch of friends from Honduras but also from Bolivia, Belgium and Germany. We cooked tortilla, meatballs, marinated vegetables, potatos with brava sauce and of course we acompanied it all with sangria. The sangria worked as the magic drink of Asterix and Obelix giving us strength to dance all night long. We enjoy many different kinds of music: bachata, calixto, the exhausting but thrilling punta and a little bit of merengue too. Manu received a beautiful cake from Pauliina and fulfiled the honduran tradition of breaking the "piñata" which is a kind of pupet that hangs full of sweets. Manu had to hit the clown pupet until it broked. Afterwards, tens of people tried to get as many sweets as possible. It was nice to see many friends together. When we went to sleep we were both tired and happy.

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2007

Heavy rains in Honduras

Coming back from Sico we saw the desasters that the heavy rain had caused. We had to fix bridges, get away fallen trees, try to pass flooding rivers with some kind of "boats" made of wood that almost sinked the car. Sometimes we waited for 8 hours for the water to go down. We passed many dead animals, but luckily all the people survived. Sadly many people lost their cultivations. For us it was a suprise that the rivers can flood so much in only one night, the level of the river can raise more than 3 meters! One of the main reasons is the ecsessive cutting of the trees. This way when in the mountains it rains heavily, the earth doesn´t absorb the water as it would with the trees. What a pitty. A human being can destroy so much.

Passing flooding rivers.

Waiting for the water to go down.

Getting across another river with a selfmade "boat".