Saturday, September 13, 2008

volunteering at Casa Presidencial

Today was the celebration of "Dia del Niño" at the Casa Presidencial in Tegucigalpa. It's an open event and free to the there were A LOT of kids there! My friend Mandy works in the Casa Presidencial, and talked me into spending my Saturday helping out at the event. We arrived around 8:30 am, and didn't actually start any work until about 11 am. So for the first couple of hours, I got a tour of the Casa Presidencial.

Mandy used her really important and super cool security badge to get us in. They didn't even ask for my ID at the gate...just glanced inside my purse to check for weapons (I guess that's what they were looking for).

It turns out that the President doesn't actually live in the "Presidential House"...he just works there. Mandy works in an office that organizes donations/events for the poor children in Honduras. We got to see her office, and walk around inside the building.

The five flags below represent the five stars on the Honduran flag.

The "oval office" is upstairs, along with the First Lady's office. Mandy's office is cool, but not cool enough to be upstairs. Haha.

Afters hours of wandering around and doing nothing, the carnival finally started. We recruited some of the volunteers to help us with the piñatas, and moved 50 of them from the storage container to the poles. We hung the piñatas, and then waited forever again before we could let the kids hit them. We had to guard the extras laying around on the ground...they were so anxious to bust them open!! Watch the video below to see how crazy they went when the candy went flying!

There were a lot of cool performances scheduled throughout the day. Since I didn't stay the entire day, I only got to see a few. One really cool one was these guys dancing on stilts.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mayan myth of creation

I was bored tonight and started searching for sites on the indigenous people of Honduras. I came across several interesting tales/folkfore, and thought I would share the Mayan story of creation that I found. (FYI - The Mayans inhabited several countries in Central America...not just Honduras.)

There were four gods in heaven and each of them sat on his chair, observing the world below.

Then the yellow lord suggested that they make a man to enjoy the earth and offer praise to the gods. The other three agreed.

So the yellow god took a lump of yellow clay and made a man from it. But his creation was weak; it dissolved in water and could not stand upright.

Then the red god suggested that they make a man out of wood, and the others agreed. So the red god took a branch from a tree and carved it into a human shape. When they tested it in water, it floated; it stood upright without any problem whatsoever. However, when they tested it with fire, it burned.

The four lords decided to try again. This time the black god suggested making a man out of gold.

The gold man was beautiful and shone like the sun. He survived the tests of fire and water, looking even more handsome after these tests. However, the gold man was cold to the touch; he was unable to speak, feel, move, or worship the gods. But they left him on earth anyway.

The fourth god, the colorless lord, decided to make humans out of his own flesh. He cut the fingers off his left hand and they jumped and fell to earth. The four gods could hardly see what the men of flesh looked like as they were so far away. From the seat of the four lords, they looked like busy little ants.

But the men of flesh worshipped the gods and made offerings to them. They filled the hearts of the four lords with joy. One day the men of flesh found the man of gold. When they touched him, he was as cold as a stone. When they spoke to him, he was silent. But the kindness of the men of flesh warmed the heart of the man of gold and he came to life, offering praise to the gods for the kindness of the men of flesh.

The word of praise from the previously silent creature woke the four gods from their sleep and they looked down on earth in delight. They called the man of gold "rich" and the men of flesh "poor," ordaining that the rich should look after the poor. The rich man will be judged at his death on the basis of how he cared for the poor. From that day onward, no rich man can enter heaven unless he is brought there by a poor man.