Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baleadas In Armenia Bonito

The baleada is a yummy dish that is big here in Honduras. It is a thick tortilla stuffed with whatever you want…but, almost always contains beans, cheese and eggs. We were out in Armenia Bonito today and we were invited over to a friend’s house for homemade baleadas. Her small house was not big enough for us all so we sat outside…which is where the family’s wood stove was located.

We cooked baleadas, ate and laughed.

Check out this 2 minute video to see our baleada adventure:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Making house calls

As the community of Armenia Bonito comes to know us better, we are really feeling like we can and are making an impact. We had the opportunity to bring two blind people CD's of the book of Matthew. It was hugely received, and if they are happy with it, and are able to use it like they want, we will bring them additional CD's with more of the bible. Chela, one of the ladies we saw was blind due to glaucoma. Incredible, medical ailments that are easily treatable, go untreated here, and because of it, she is now blind. Another person I saw, Santos, a pastor at one of he local churches was recovering from a stroke. Over a month ago I saw him at one of my mobile clinics. His blood pressure was dangerously high and his blood sugar was very high. I advised him to immediately seek the advice of a physician and to be started on blood pressure medication because he was high risk for a stroke. Unfortunately, he did not go to a physician, and did indeed suffer a stroke. I will be following up with him weekly to check his blood pressure and blood sugar. I was able to see two other people yesterday. One gentleman had recently had extensive surgery on his leg - 6 screws, and a plate put in. He was hobbling around, with limited range of motion. I advised him on ways to improve his range of motion, and some resistance exercises. I told him to do it at least two times a day. He was very happy for the information as physical therapy is almost an unknown entity here. I also was able to provide him with pain medication. You will notice the addition of glasses...yes...I went to the optometrist and he advised me to wear glasses - it's only for distance, don't need it for close up, but I'm trying to be good and wear them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You know you are a Missionary when...

It's interesting how things have become the "norm" around here - things that would have seemed strange, if not unusual just 2 years ago. Here are some examples:

1. You have to throw your TP in the trash can - not the toilet.
2. You have NO IDEA what the latest movies are.
3. When your life revolves around the efficiency of your ceiling fans.
4. When blogging becomes second nature.
5. When English is no longer the primary language.
6. When an iPhone seems as foreign as the language you speak everyday.
7. When your mail life revolves around when your next care package arrives.
8. When local schools are canceled for a "rain day" (not a snow day).
9. When honking is a sign of "hello" rather than the middle finger.
10. When you "see" your friends on Skype, not in person.
11. Your clothing fashion is WAY out of date.
12. When your milk comes in a box and your mayo in a bag.
13. When your daily news includes what the current exchange rate is.
14. Where your shopping includes daily trips to the farmers market.
15. When household pets include scorpions, millipedes, tarantulas, geckos, ants and mosquitos.
16. When the question, "where is your home" becomes confusing to answer.
17. When you stop feeling uncomfortable when you have a conversation with a mom who is breastfeeding.
18. When you are excited that the grocery store is carrying SPAM.
19. 011 is a familiar code.
20. When you are okay with the bugs in your house because "that one doesn't bite"
21. When you watch a National Geographic special and you recognize where they are at.
22. When you are outraged that the dinner you just ate cost more than $4.00
23. You don't think it strange to cut your grass with a machete.
24. When you forget the date of the Super Bowl, but you know when the local soccer team plays.
25. When stopping for pigs or cows to cross the street doesn't seem strange.
26. When you go to the U.S. and you "can't drink the water"
27. You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service.
28. When you realize that traffic signs and lights are only recommendations.
29. You can order a beer at the movie theater.
30. When you sweat on Christmas day.
31. When you have to order additional pages for your passport.
32. When you stop wondering what kind of meat is in the stew (nor do you really want to know).
33. When you have carried the same dollar bill in your wallet for 2 years.
34. When you think you should own stock in hand sanitizer.
35. When you measure distances in how long it takes to walk there.
36. Size "large" is no size large you have ever seen (even my girl can't wear them).
37. You have friends on every continent.
38. Most of your friends view dental hygiene as a luxury.
39. You have a propane gas stove around the house just in case.
40. Where your seasons are hot, or hot and wet.
41. Horse grazing is the normal mode for cutting grass.
42. There's no local park, only the jungle.
43. The nearest ancient ruin is closer than the closest McDonalds.
44. Your fish is served with the head still attached - and you are expected to eat it.
45. Where no one has a bathtub, a dishwasher, or a coffee bean grinder.
46. Local tourist attractions include jungle hikes, zip lining, and waterfall slides.
47. When a nice short church service is only 2 1/2 hours long.
48. When you have to go to 5 different stores to get school supplies.
49. When you pay your electric bill at the supermarket, and pick up your health form at the bank.
50. When none of the above seems strange anymore.

Friday, October 24, 2008

English Classes In Armenia Bonito

Each Thursday we drive out to the community of Armenia Bonito and teach free English classes. These people are the poorest of the poor and have very few options. Learning basic English greatly improves their employment opportunities.

Here is a 2 minute and 30 second video to show you a little about our English classes:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


People are escaping their flooded homes

Streets get washed away from the water soaked land, or from sink holes

Rain is hitting Honduras! Although this country understands what rain is all about – the continued rain without interruption is putting stressors on many parts of Honduras. This is an excerpt from a local newspaper:

Nationwide disaster caused by tropical depression in Honduras

Tuesday, 21 October 2008 13:15

President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya, along with President of Congress Roberto Micheletti and his Secretaries of State, appeared Monday October 20th, on national television and radio, declaring a state of national emergency to address the damage caused by the heavy rains and floods that hit and continue hitting Honduran territory. The number of dead has risen to 11, and three people have been reported missing.

The rains have denoted the fragility of the road infrastructure in Honduras, which was already in a state of deterioration since before the rains, and was unable to resist the ravages of nature.

In the department of Yoro, in the regions of El Progreso, El Guaymon, and dozens of small villages and banana plantation fields, destruction has reached the belongings of thousands of people who have left their homes for shelter in schools, churches, and temporary tent installed by relief corps.

The rain has caused the overflow of contaminated waters, where bugs, dead animals, snakes, garbage, household utensils, tree trunks and even parts of cars can be seen floating around. People in search of safe havens are exposed to danger when bumping into these objects while walking through the dirty waters.

Monday, October 20, 2008


No, we didn't fall down, but it's Fall in Honduras. What does that mean, you may wonder? As this is a rain forest country, with sun or rain as the two seasons - where does Fall come into play? Well - the weather has definitely turned. I haven't been truly "hot" for a few weeks. I actually used a blanket over my legs last night as I sat on the couch (no - didn't REALLY need it, but it sure felt "normal"). I've tried to take a picture of outside - a little gloomy, rain or drizzle all the time, even the passing thought of wearing a long sleeved shirt (decided against it). Don't get me wrong - it's still 85 degrees, with 95% humidity - but definitely a change in the air. We were at the grocery store yesterday - and guess what we saw? A real honest to goodness pumpkin! Obviously brought in for the gringos! And only $2.50! The lady at the register said how pretty it was. She wondered what we did with it. When Mike explained that our daughter was going to carve a face in it, and I was going to cook the seeds, she was truly bewildered! But, her smile was fun to see - as we are learning about Honduras culture, it is fun to see them learn about our culture as well!

Gloomy Monday morning

Fall decorations

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Night With the Girls

Last night I had a great time with the girls! We decided that we all needed a "hang out" night. The life of a missionary, at times, can be filled with jumping from one ministry to another. Hosting a person or a group in your home, prepping for the next activity. Often times thinking of chilling out is not in the agenda at all. Therefore, we decided enough was enough! So, we all got together - ordered pizza, ate junk food, had cake, and watched Pride and Prejudice. My friend Julie has a DVD projector - so we sat on my couch and watched it on my wall - just like in the movies - just missing the popcorn! It was GREAT! Something I hope we can replicate more often!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quick update

Just an update blog. Surviving the Tropical Depression. Went from a huge storm warning, to now it's only a mild storm. We did get a lot of flooding, and Madison's school was called off for a day. I'm trying to struggle through a cold - lots of sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes. Enjoying our very sweet 4-month old dog Max. He's bringing a lot of joy into our lives! ESL is going well - another class tomorrow. The students are very excited each week and learning more and more. Anxiously awaiting our new team member - the McCann's new baby - any time now! Our other team mates, Andy, Josh, and Jamie, are only weeks away from arriving! We anxiously plan on starting additional ESL classes, and possibly the beginning stages of Street Children ministry. That's it for today - going to hit the bed early to try and get over this stupid cold!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hanging out with friends

Tonight we had a friend, Alex, his cousin, and his friend over for dinner. We met Alex in Costa Rica when we were in language school. They are passing through on their way to the Bay Islands. We also invited our other friend, Matt, who lives in La Ceiba who also knows our friend. It was a great night of fellowship, dinner, desert, and a hard core game of Dutch Blitz (similar to Nerts).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pico Bonito

Near the waterall

The waterfall and swimming area

Pico Bonito

Beautiful mushroom

Part of the jungle path we walked along

Cup mushrooms

Yesterday Pamela (our intern) and I went to Pico Bonito. It is a natural preserve and protected area about 30 minutes outside of La Ceiba. After about a 3-hour casual hike we made our way to a swimming area with a beautiful waterfall. After some crazy crawling over very slippery rocks, we made our way to the base of the waterfall. It was very dangerous, and something I'm thinking would NEVER be done in the states because of how dangerous it was. But - we had a GREAT time and the water was freezing (never thought I would be freezing in Honduras). We then started the hike back to the van in the pouring rain through the jungle. It only took us about an hour to get back as we weren't looking at everything and taking pictures. All in all, a great day, exhausting, but just beautiful!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Making a house call

Today after our ESL class we had our normal mobile medical clinic. Did a lot of teaching, checking of blood pressures, and some follow-up with a few pregnant moms that have been coming diligently for pre-natal vitamins and other general concerns. Today one of the young girls in our class asked me to come see her baby brother. She is the daughter of one of the moms I saw at the pregnancy clinic. At that time I had told this mom that she needed to go to the hospital immediately to have her baby. She was a few weeks post-due with a VERY high blood pressure, and VERY high blood sugar. So today I was able to follow-up with mom (she went to the hospital 2 days after our visit and ended with a c-section), and assess her baby. Her baby was born at 12.5 pounds, and was currently a rolly-polly 2 month old. We were also able to see the rest of her children. There are 11 children in the family. After providing the family with tooth brushes all around, medicine for a few, assessment of the baby and just spending some time with the family we were almost ready to go. However, we found out that the mom's oldest daughter was also pregnant. I checked her blood sugar and it was clear she had gestational diabetes. So commenced a LOT of teaching, and vitamins, and we will be following up with her weekly to continually assess her. This is the kind of thing we were hoping to establish - trust, and the ability to follow patients in the community.

This is a picture of the mom when we were handing out flyers for the pregnancy clinic

Doing an assessment on the baby

Not even 2 months old!

Part of the family - the young woman in blue holding her brother is 2 months pregnant

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Meet Max

Well, our new addition has come to our family. His name is Max, and he is a 4 month Rotweiller. Just by looking at his feet it is CLEAR he is going to be a HUGE dog! He's still getting used to things around here, and a little timid. But - he had a great bath, has checked out the back yard, and still isn't quite sure what to make of our stairs. I'll keep you posted on how things go. YEAH!! It's been a long time in coming and we are thrilled to have this new addition to our family!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Project Honduras

This last week from Thursday through Saturday I attended a conference entitled Project Honduras. This is a project that is committed to networking with all private/non-profit/NGO's, etc. that are working in Honduras. We listened to a number of speakers that are working in Honduras, including the new U.S. Ambassador, Ambassador Llorens. He was thrilled to be there, and took time to speak to a number of individuals. This was an opportunity to speak to a number of people, pass out and receive cards, and network. Good conference, but ready to come home.

Ambassador Llorens

Snack Break

Friday, October 3, 2008

Old Folks Home In La Ceiba

There is an old folks home in La Ceiba. We drive by it all the time and visit periodically. We are starting to develop a relationship with the staff and see numerous opportunities for ministry there.

This facility is where the undesired and uncared for seniors go to spend their final years. We have done a few things to assist the home and its residence, but, we envision a great potential for regular, ongoing work.

Take a look at this 2 minute and 30 second video we created to show others this facility:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It’s A Gringo Thanksgiving Charlie Brown

So it looks like we are going to be hosting at least six other North American missionaries for Thanksgiving…and maybe more. We figured it was a good way to reach out to other US citizens that are here in La Ceiba. We are thrilled about the opportunity.

We want to try to give them all a little touch of home. Unfortunately, we can’t find all the things we need for a “traditional American Thanksgiving” here in Honduras…go figure.

So, this is where you come in…do you want to help us make Thanksgiving 2008 special for a bunch of missionaries here in La Ceiba, Honduras?

If this is appealing to you please pick one or two of items from this list:

french fried onion rings (the kind you put in green bean casserole)
cream of chicken
corn prong thingies - you know - to pick up hot corn on the cob
pie plate - tin - have one, need more
can of sweet potatoes
all spice
packages of gravy mix
canned cranberry sauce
canned pumpkin
candy thermometer

…and mail them to:

Mike & Erin Pettengill
PO Box 1090
La Ceiba, Atlantida
Honduras, Central America

Please send these items out sooner rather then later, as the mail is VERY slow. Thank you!