Our final day was basically lots of driving and lots of airport
We talked about the trip on our way to Tegucigalpa and plans for next year. We also shared some interesting sights.
Then it was all just airports and boarding passes. We bid farewell to Mario and entered customs.
We had a last team dinner at the blue moon brewery at the Atlanta Airport. Tom finally broke a several year streak of getting hung up in immigration. It was past midnight when we landed.
Next year’s projects include a Spanish books drive, a lap top drive, we are hoping to send a pallet of donations around November with extra paint for Luis. We will be doing presentations on our trip over the next few months and recruiting new team members. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and the events page here, thank you for your support!
It is our final work day, so we are concentrating on the final mural at the library. We had pancakes for breakfast with the staff of Hogar Los Ninos. When we arrived on site, it was straight to work. Luis worked on a mural depicting Robin Hood, Jyl a mural with many creative stories coming from a book, Drok painted the door and Sam painted a cloudy background with Tom, and then the alphabet.
Isella joined us just before lunch and started working on another piece while Tom and Drok painted the back wall and Sam finished her letters.Reporters came to interview again, to spread the word of the projects we have been doing. Profelita came with a class full of students to thank is and to present us with a snack.Lunch was great, Listenia cooked something special for each of us, Jyl and Mario brought it back for us to eat on site. Sam initiated an impromptu dance party with Luis and Isella, then with the arrival of Erika Karolina, Arte Positivo member since the beginning, we were back to work
Alfredo came as well, he admired the work of artists. Luis affirmed there as a musician, Alfredo is an artist as well. It brought to mind the elements of hip hop that Universal Zulu Nation conceptualizes. Bboys (Dancers) Graffiti, DJ, and MC. A holistic view of what we see in Honduras is singing, dancing, instruments, and painting, though there are many more elements, craftsmanship, sculpture, and more. Luis invited us to his tv show after painting, which he runs every Tuesday night. We were able to talk about art and the kind of work our team has helped accomplish over the years.
When we returned we had dinner and made plans for where to send any leftover supplies we brought. We also talked about plans to keep in touch throughout the year with Microchip, with Luis, and to maintain the connections we had built upon.
Sam successfully completed her second trip, and her project as lead. She joins the ranks of Nashua HOT alumni who realize in a deep way, that the world we visited marches on as we return to our own. The need remains, the passion is real and the courage to push fear aside, and lead, is something we all have waiting to be rekindled. We are connected, even as elements of art make up hip hop, leadership is made up of many expressions of service, meeting need.
We all made a choice to get involved in the lives of others. We brought what we had, we prepared as best we could, and we made a positive impact in the lives of many.
This morning we tackled Sam’s return project. Last year she took note of this playground at a Kindergarten.So this year we planned to restore it to a place children could play. The Hondurans started by painting the wall and equipment. We spent the morning removing construction debris, including a couple hundred pounds of moldy asbestos roofing.Sam interviewed as spokesperson, for two local news stations to raise awareness of what we are doing and the projects underway here in the community.We picked up three truckloads of debris and brought them to a nearby landfill.While a better location than a kindergarten playground, this field is a dump site which is eventually burned via controlled fire. Nothing as organized or environmentally friendly as we are used to in Nashua, where trash is sorted, incinderated, recycled, compacted landfilled and monitored.Tomorrow we will be laying down fresh turf and soil to make the ground a little safer for young children.We returned to the Hogar Los Ninos for lunch and a siesta, the temperature was mid nineties today so working with the sun at it’s peak was not a good idea.Drogon didn’t mind the heat at all.Our afternoon project is at a school library. We met the principal and many students, whom Sam entertained and quizzed.Then we got to work prepping the site, moving booksheves and furniture, cleaning and priming the wall.Drok taught a pop up dance class when kids started to get really curious as school let out.We also bumped into 2.0, a boy interested in break dancing on Drok’s first trip. As always, Drok brought him shoes.Then we had dinner at Karina’s coffee shop down the street from the Hogar.Los MicroChip was waiting for us at the Hogar when we returned. Their dance practice was cut short by news of a personal tragedy.
As a team, we do extend our best wishes to them. We are guests in their community, they have made us welcome, we share their pain.
We have passed the halfway point of the trip, today is a day of rest and celebration. Drok was not quite ready to emerge renewed but was on he mend. It is Easter Sunday, so of course we went to celebrate Easter mass with the community.
We encountered a surprise in the form of Father Dan St. Laurence, founder of project Eden, former pastor of St. Louie’s church in Nashua.
We picked up Drok and went to have lunch. In observance of Easter, many shops and restaurants were closed, but we found one.
We spent the afternoon at the Hogar planning our last two days. We hard-boiled and colored Easter eggs to surprise Listenia, our cook. We reunited with Oscar as well who watches the Hogar at night.
The summit is always better sweet, it is the height of the mountain, with the best view of what came before and what comes ahead, we are nearing the final stretch of our work week. The team is recharged and refocused, tomorrow we will work on the playground and more murals
Drok had a rough night, he couldn’t keep food down. We travel with anti biotics in the event that we accidently eat or drink something that makes us sick. The local water has bacteria we aren’t used to. Travelling through airports and sharing space on airplanes with people from around the world can cause any number of issues. Drok wasn’t running a temperature so we gave him ibuprofren, Pepto bismol, Gatorade and extra rest in the morning.
We worked on the elemtary school murals, using Jyl’s design, to compliment last year’s mural, while Luis and Arte Positivo did panels wrapping around the building.Sam started a city wide search for coffee, and several Hondurans obliged, we we’re visited by a tourist from Miami, and John, a regular volunteer living in San Francisco.At one it was time for lunch. We were painting next to the park where the Festival was planned, and teams from the other cities, Juticalpa and Catacamas were already arriving. Drok was back on his feet so we cleaned up the murals and started getting ready.
Jyl’s mural from last year in back, with this year on the closer wall in front.
Involved To Impact
A few days ago, we talked about a cultural issue we had noticed for years. Last year we only saw two girls on the dance teams that came, it’s a tricky balance encouraging movements with self determination. We don’t want to impose our own ideas and disempower them.Samantha had a very frank conversation with Microchip on Thursday night about girls and dance. Microchip agreed, they were aware their group had gotten very macho, but they didn’t know any girls that wanted to learn to dance.Tom pointed out he had tackled this in past years. Girls will play soccer in Honduras and are very athletic up until their teens, and then they segregate and don’t engage. Microchip added that when some girls were interested, they had ultimately been pushed out of it by jealous boyfriends or husbandsA past effort was to try to introduce cheerleading at games as a bridge to dance, but the project was never really continued.
Tom pointed out that engaging girls that were younger, in a school setting might work culturally. Parents weren’t likely to let their daughters hang out with a group of older teenage boys unsupervised, or even after dark, which is when Microchip practices.Sam can’t change the world alone, but she IS involved to impact, so she lead by example. Sam had been training with Drok for a few weeks, with her own background in dance and Drok’s ability to coach, she used the opportunity to make a point. Sam free styled as the solo female participant in the festival.Sam, and Drok judged. Despite his unsettled stomach Drok was determined to support the dance movement. Now on his fourth trip he is greatly respected by all three teams, as a coach, and certainly as a dancer having battled them all to victory the past two years. Sam, as a bilingual liason is appreciated by all, and Tom, in addition to being handy, is recognized by many on sight after many years of service trips.Los MicroChip took victory in the two on two battle. The full contest will be uploaded to this site’s gallery.Juticalpa won overall, but there was extraordinary talent and the product of incredible dedication to training on display. There were a few incidents where competition between Catacamas and Juticalpa nearly got personal, and physical, but to their credit, Los MicroChip intervened as hosts, and the judges set clear expectations that dancers would respect each other’s space on the floor, and each other as competitors.While the battle was under way Luis and Jyl were organizing art on display and activities for younger children.During a break in the dancing, Tom, Jyl and Alfredo, a musician and artist Luis invited to participate, gave a brief concert. Following the battle, some games for kids included an easter egg carry and a sack race, posted live on our Be the Change Facebook page.The second urban arts festival was a success. Dancers went home happy, and determined to train more. Artists showed their work and gained some well deserved recognition, and children had fun! In a few years, if word starts to get out, about a new b-girl movement coming out of Honduras, remember the spark. A few years ago Drok had the inspiration to come to Hondutas, and then the courage to share himself with them. Sam’s dance did not go unnoticed, in addition to earning a new respect in the eyes of the dancers present, both as a dancer and a judge, Sam’s comments made them think. In addition, there was a little girl in purple watching by the steps during the video that stayed for all the rest. Everything starts with an idea, and an example.
We started our morning with grilled cheese Quesadillas! Today we went to see the Stations of the Cross. Last night being Holy Thursday, the celebration of the last supper, and today being Good Friday, where the Passion of Christ is observed. We left at 8 am, the 14 stations concluded around noon.
This is a very important cultural moment in San Francisco La Paz, it was very hot but the town turned out, many with parasols, people of all ages and walks of life.
The Stations concluded at the Church and were followed by mass.
We saw many familiar faces along the way, this is the community we serve so we saw some of the young students who helped us yesterday as well as many from past years.
We stopped back at the Hogar Los Ninos for some lunch and to refill our water, then after one we loaded art supplies to finish the welcome to San Francisco Mural.
Moises is a graffiti artist who joined us in Tegucigalpa, he brought a lot of skills to the mural and is a hard worker.
Luis’s students returned to help us finish, even though Good Friday is a major holiday, and businesses and schools were closed.
Luis apparently signaling angels in the outfield
Drok adding some lines
Finito mural 1! We also stopped to wish Manuel Ramirez a Happy Birthday. Manny finished his second year trip last year and led a project to introduce Arte Positivo to aerosols, which worked, given Moises and Marvin both using spray in their pieces.
We were pulling into the Hogar La Nino to get ready for dinner when Mario asked us to stop just outside. We collaborated with Luis, Marvin and Moises. This piece is inspired by today’s stations of the Cross and the river of parisols we followed around the city. There is a deep sense of community here, which called to mind for us Ephesians 2 :19 “ you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his family”And speaking of family, Mario’s wife stopped by with his daughter!
Jyl and Tom will be practicing with Alfredo tonight to play guitar at the Festival, Drok is watching the clock for when Los MicroChip arrives to practice.
We began our day in paradise, Drok locked out of his room and Luis waiting at the gates.
Mario gave Drok an assist with a butter knife, and our day began. Listenia has been cooking for our trips for years, she always has a coffee ready in the kitchen. Breakfast is typically juice, cereal and something special.
Local honey helps with allergies but really just tastes good on pancakes
We started collecting pictures of Chickens for Alderwoman Shoshanna Kelly back home, and will run a separate news feed for those. #chickenfeed
Of course we do not have roosters in Nashua as they are prohibited by ordinance.
Group photo at today’s work site
The ground in front of this year’s section of the mural is more like a cliff so Mario build in a ledge
Luis brought students from his art studio to help.
We ran a quick errand to get veggies for Sam who is vegetarian
Sam started planning out signs for Saturday’s Art Festival
Still needing some touch up on the Welcome To San Francisco Mural, we broke for the afternoon and went to Centro Park, Luis is doing a custom mural for Easter, so first, Christmas has to be over.
Manny’s impact on the Sam Francisco Art scene is already spreading fast, as evident in some of the artwork shown above, but every time we do one mural ourselves, Arte Positivo has half a dozen more waiting for us when we return.
We were tired and ready for dinner like this guy.
But of course Micro Chip arrived and Drok’s time began. Two days to the dance competition, let’s see what potential Drok can unlock.
Day one of any trip is about travelling. Over the past several months our team has fundraised and prepared for the trip. This year we are all alumni of past years, looking forward to our return, and reconnecting with the community here. Day one is about laying the groundwork for the upcoming week and experiencing the transition from our lives at home to our lives as visitors.
Lucky wasn’t happy about being separated by a door, let alone four thousand miles.
Drok and I travelled from Nashua NH to Logan Airport in Boston Massachusetts, it was a 46 mile trip by car, we woke up at 3 am and took an Uber, to arrive at 4:15 am.Jyl and Sam travelled from the Manchester area.
We flew from Boston to Atlanta, our first layover, 1,086 miles, the flight was just under three hours. Delta was kind enough to check us in as a group and not look too closely at the six bags we checked, weighed in advance at just under 50 lbs each. Two of them contained educational activities and supplies collected and donated by the Nashua Police Athletic League. Four of them contained paint for our murals, donated by Nashua Wallpaper, and packed in 1 gallon plastic jugs donated by Riverside Barbecue, duct taped shut, and wrapped in garbage bags. Once we checked them, they were out of our hands for the duration of our flight, bit our hands were full anyways. Trip members packed their own clothes and supplies for a week in carry on bags. Samantha discovered her first aid kit had too much liquid disinfectant, Tom had carefully organized cell phones, cameras, chargers a laptop and a projector only to unpack it all and repack it all for inspection. Drok has some kind of automatic knack for search and pat down, anywhere he goes, despite being the most harmless person in the world, and Jyl passed through without incident.
In addition to our carry on, Jyl bought a Viola and a guitar to donate. While Delta allows for a musical instrument separate from bags, it has to be stowed, so it is always a challenge to get on the plane before all the overhead space is taken, otherwise the guitar ends up in storage below.
Sitting beside Tom and Drok and behind Sam and Jyl, was a coffee salesman from Honduras, travelling back from a conference. Sam made good use of the networking time
From Atlanta, we flew to Tegucigalpa, the capitol of Honduras another 2751 miles, it took us three hours and forty seven minutes, but we also set our clocks back two hours. At last we had arrived in Honduras!
Tegucigalpa was hot, in the upper 80’s. It was pretty humid, and dusty. We collected our check bags and were greeted by our host, Mario Ramos, director of Project Eden, as well as Moises, an artist from Tegucigalpa who would be joining us, and Arte Positivo for the week. Since our last trip, Mario has gotten married, has a four month old, and helped his wife started a coffee shop. This year’s trip might be about change!
From Tegucigalpa we travelled by pickup truck to San Francisco La Paz, a final 128 miles in about four hours with three stops.
Mennonite rest stop halfway to San Francisco, on the side of a major road it has grown over the years, this past year completely transformed into this space. We ran into a few Los Micro Chip members along the way. Drok’s movement spreads into the surrounding communities. We were aware one member was planning to visit, another was spotted in the distinctive Los MicroChip dance T shirt. As we approached Juticalpa we met Luis, leader of Arte Positivo, and Marvin, another Arte Positivo artist.
We travelled a total of 3,911 miles. and travelled for a total of 17 hours, arriving around 6pm.
There’s Drok waving like he’s done.
Now that we had arrived at Hogar Los Ninos, we had to unpack. The volunteer housing was left in good shape by the previous team, probably Mary Fitzpatrick’s group from Littleton NH. We picked our rooms, then examined our bags. The paint we checked in, back in Boston survived mostly intact. One jar leaked into it’s plastic bag but didn’t affect the rest of the suitcase contents, probably the best results we have seen in years, and a good sign. The guitar IMMEDIATELY snapped a string, but Jul had prepared, and packed extra strings.
Los MicroChip began to arrive, as tired as he was, Drok was talked into coaching a few, and then Lucio, their leader arrived followed by Luis.
We met as a group, helping Sam and Drok plan our second urban Art Festival for Saturday, working out activities, prizes, participation and promotion. Dance teams will be coming from surrounding areas to compete, Arte positivo artists will be coming to show their work, we run our plans by the Mayor tomorrow.
Through out all of this travel and planning, we settled back into the rhythm of this community even as we left ours behind. On a team fully comprised of experiences travellers, we spent time reconnecting with leaders and volunteers we have come to know through past service. The activities we do wouldn’t be so unfamiliar to anyone from Nashua NH, where the energy of Positive Street Art is there for all to see, and the Downtown Arts Fest is a similiar gathering of artists, but there’s a different flavor to it here. In Honduras, they have their own tempo, their own strengths, their own barriers. This week we will work together in this community in service, bringing the best from our own, as leaders.
Are you interested in joining our 2020 team? Our tentative dates are
February 29 to March 6 with some variance based on plane ticket availability. Trip members interview with the team oversight committee, and make a two year commitment. Your first year goal is to learn and experience the communities we work in, your second year you will develop a project that the team will help you achieve, based on the needs you see, and your own strengths as a leader.
We encourage all applicants to volunteer locally with our organization to get to know what we are all about. Our first information evening will be April 27 from 3-5 pm at Riverside Barbecue. For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org