The Saturday after I returned from Tela to La Paz I was scheduled to play in a futbol (soccer) game. The hospital volunteer group I belong to meets every two weeks and we had been planning the game for a couple of months to raise money to help renovate the hospital’s birthing center. Sixty players poneyed up L500 each to buy uniforms at cost. Most of the players were doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and other professionals. And me, except I couldn’t play because of my painful foot. So I asked Sulma, at 13 years old one of the oldest girls at the Fundacion Senor San Jose, to play in my place. So along with her 10 y.o. brother Marvin, and 10 y.o. Leroy, off we went Saturday afternoon to the Police Academy soccer field. The original idea was to have the 3 alternate playing times, Sulma first. When she put on the uniform she moaned and complained that my uniform was too baggy for her, that she looked terrible, and she insisted that she did not want to go out onto the field. I told her she looked great and pointed out a couple of other girls already working out. Reluctantly she went out and began participating. To make a long story short, when it came to the boys’ turns to go out and play she refused to relinquish the uniform, she had made friends and happily played the entire game, the boys moaning and complaining all the way home. We lost: 5-2.
What a crown jewel of the caribbean is this small city nestled at the edge of the sea. Tela was chosen to host our PVVA taller (Personas Viviendo con VIH/SIDA) and an excellent choice it was with the sound of waves breaking in the background every moment we were there. Our three-day Peace Corps-sponsored workshop attracted folks from all over Honduras who are involved in the world of HIV/AIDS. Members of my team included two from Jovenes Sin Fronteras in La Paz and two from Jovenes Sin Fronteras from my former site of La Masica. It was like old home week renewing friendships with Peace Corps Volunteers and contrapartes from all over the country. Besides all our well-planned classroom activities we were taken on a field trip to a natural forest called Lancetilla that is the second largest natural botanical reserve in the world, the largest being in Malaysia. A truly remarkable collection of forest species from all over the planet. On our way home our team stopped off at Lago Yojoa for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake, Honduras’ largest.