Last Friday, I went up to Los Laureles,a colonia on the mountain outside of El Progreso with several others (OYE's director y translator, Sandra Erika Gómez Osorio, two facilitators, and Mr. Nando--skilled driver) via rutted roads as we searched for las baleadas- a typical Honduran snack--but settled for soda and crackers, only. As we climbed up the mountain road, we passed many concrete block houses--finished and unfinished--and many neighborhood pulperias--small grocery stores-markets.
We arrived at an open air after school program of Las Panchas--a group of young women who are using video as a tool to raise social consciousness among themselves, families, and communities on subjects such as environment, drug abuse, and life. The members gradually drifted in, picked up name tags, signed in, and we started the meeting. The oldest Las Panchas--Leticia--videotaped the meeting and proceedings.
I shared photos of the Nari Jibon Project videobloggers and talked a bit about the Nari Jibon programme in Bangladesh. Las Panchas asked many questions about Bangladesh including questions about the bloggers clothes, burkhas, teen age pregnancy, dowry among other things. Although the weather and temperatures are nearly the same between Bangladesh and Honduras in December, the differences in clothing were quite apparent especially given the three piece salwar kameez and burkha of the Nari Jibon bloggers in contrast to the tight capri, jeans, and t-shirts of Las Panchas and in religion--Muslim and Catholic. At the same time, I recognized the same sly glances, whispers, and behaviours that I have seen at Nari Jibon project when young women must sit and listen to an older foreigner-gringa talk. I explained that we were very interested in sharing pictures with one another over time.
The two psychology and sociology students --Yalena and Jorge-- who facilitated the meeting, talked about developing trust with one another and group dynamics for Las Panchas. The members talked earnestly and at times with tears as they sorted through their conflicts. This session ended with two songs by Jorge, soda, and crackers.
I shared some pens from my Carbondale bank--First Southern Bank-- and some small toiletries from my travels--a form of socio-emotional cleansing as conveyed by apt translator, Sandra and I provided translation of the contents on request.
I also took a picture of video operator, Leticia and her two daughters.
We headed back down the mountain around 5pm--very slowly over rutted roads--and sped back into El Progreso...for me to contemplate what I had seen and heard...and resolve to work more on my Spanish before my next trip to Honduras....