Saturday, April 28, 2012


So, I have mentioned Hunter before as the person with the pics.  Well, it's true; he is our resident photographer/videographer here in the house and on the Ranch.  If you look at the NPH Honduras website, you will see the articles he has written, and the photos he has taken.  He is pretty talented, and I think it's worth your time to take a look at his pics and/or articles.

Here is his Flickr account that he has so willingly allowed us to share.  It's all of his photos that he edits and puts up, so it varies from event to event and day to day.


Thursday, April 26, 2012


Hm... I don't know what it is about this country, but I have been SICK a ton.

Ugh, what is up with that?

Just so you all are in the know... the obnoxious cough that I mentioned now has a diagnosis:


Seriously?  First that UTI, then I burned my foot, now this.  What will next month bring?  I mean, I knew I was going to have some obstacles, but I didn't think it would involve my health.  Man.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Feria de Salud, Brigada y Cedros!

Phew, it’s been a while since I have done this blogging thing, but I have also been pretty busy.  Let’s see, where to begin…

Ah, yes, right have Easter, Heather planned a Feria de Salud (Health Fair) in the school and middle school and asked if I could take a topic to discuss.  There were 8 stations, varying from all different areas of health from illness prevention to personal hygiene.  I had hand washing!  I chose this topic for a few reasons; 1) I had a poster already from when Heather and I did an activity in the school right after I got here, 2) b/c of the timing of said activity my Spanish REALLY sucked, and I wanted to redeem myself a little, and 3) the kids need ALL the help they can get to wash their hands.  The younger kids (especially in Casa Suyapa) don’t have any issues because someone is always telling them and then making sure that they do it.  For the older kids, everyone just assumes that they are mature enough to do it on their own.  Well, unfortunately, they are not.  Amazingly enough, all of the kids, young to old, knew so much about the importance of hand washing, when to do it and how to do it.  The thing is, THEY HAVE TO DO IT!!

It was a long (think, repeating the same thing over and over), but fun day.  There were only a few moments where someone had to correct my Spanish, or I had to ask for help because I didn’t know what someone was saying.  All in all, it was a successful day for everyone, and I am sure the kids learned a little something, too. :)

My awesome poster.

The ladies I work with everyday... from left, Dra Sandra, Maria, Me, Rebecca and Dra Irina

The cool hand inspection box 
(used with a special gel that represents germs and glows with a black light)

The Thursday after Easter, the brigade started in full swing with consults both in the surgery center and the external clinic.  I was looking forward to the brigade for a while, so I was happy to have it started!   The days were long, the nursing was still different, and I realized that my Spanish still needs a lot of work.  There were 4 specialties (Ortho, Gyno, ENT, and General), we saw over 700 people and had almost 100 surgeries.  Even though those numbers are impressive, it’s not about the numbers.  As Kate (the coordinator of the brigades) summed it up, it’s about the 2 Ranch kids who got ear surgery and will be able to hear better, it’s about the men and women who had hernias and weren’t able to work b/c of the pain and will be able to support their families again, it’s about those people who were living in pain because of orthopedic issues who will now (I hope!) be pain free and live their lives better and more fuller.

It’s about the patients and making their quality of life a little better so they can move on and live that life the way they were meant to.  It’s good thing to try to keep in mind, especially when the day-to-day frustrations, or overwhelming desire to crawl back into bed clouds the focus of why there are 50 extra people on the Ranch, all working towards the same thing.

Here are a few pictures I gathered.  I don’t have many, but Hunter has some that he took, and I will share those when he is finished.


Heather taking her turn scrubbing in and helping out the surgery.

Yup, mine turn.  Of all things I scrubbed in for... a foot.  An amputation for a toe.  
(and yes, I still don't like feet)

Rebecca was able to watch some surgeries, too!

Hunter working hard on that knee.

This past weekend, I worked a little differently.  Usually when it’s my weekend to work, I work Friday evening, and then Saturday (and, of course, I am on call the whole weekend).  Well, the entire ranch was going to a town called Cedros on Sunday, so because of that, I could go with them!  I loaded up the first aid kit (you just never know!) and was ready.  I wish I got to see more of the town, but I hung out with Casa Suyapa mostly, and we went to one of the Tia’s houses, and relaxed there for a while.  Everyone had lunch (rice, chicken, salad and tortillas made by the tios) on one of the fields, while we waited for the soccer games to be over.  It was a longer day than I anticipated, so I was so ready to be back home!

I wish I was able to see inside that church.

All of Casa Suyapa chillin' under a tree.

Cute Alberth. :)

Enjoying their treats!

I currently have this really obnoxious cough, am a little stressed that Heather is leaving soon, and worried that I really won’t be able to handle all of this here.  So, if you have a few extra moments, say some prayers for me!

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cena Amistosa

As I mentioned in my last post, on Easter evening, all of the volunteers had an INCREDIBLE dinner!

It's a time where we cook a great meal (not ranch food!), dress a little nicer and enjoy each others company.  We have Cena Amistosas every few months, and I was really looking forward to my first one!  We spent most of the afternoon cooking, preparing and cleaning.  We enjoyed every second of it.  Enjoy the following pictures!

My really great deviled eggs that I made from our dyed ones!

Amanda and I.  Please noticed the 'ambiance'... Hunter and I were in charge!

haha, Caroline and I. :)

MmMmMm... look at that food!

My incredibly awesome, full plate.  Meatballs, scalloped potatoes, homemade bread, broccoli, carrots, and rice.

Such a great group of people!

Semana Santa

Ahem, this post has lots of reflection and is quite long; feel free to skip to the pictures throughout. :)

So, as the title of my blog suggests, and if you have followed for a while (or know me personally), you already know I have indeed followed God’s call to be here in Honduras.  But, it seems that I have strayed a little from talking about it in my posts.  I can’t say I have done this purposely, but I think it’s a good representation of how my faith falls in my daily life.  If you do know me, it’s a struggle I have in general, and something that I always strive to be better at.  If it’s something I struggle with at home, with an awesome diocese (what up, Arlington?! Woot!), amazing friends just a call away, and resources up the wazoo, then I think it’s almost expected to struggle when those things are taken away and you are thrown in with all different types of people who don’t all share the same faith.  It has indeed been hard, but God still uses the little things (and it helps that my roommate is Catholic, and NPH is Catholic, of course!) to remind me of His love and His desires for me.

I don’t tell you all of these things for you to feel bad for me.  I have said from the beginning that I am going to be honest with you all, and that means sometimes talking about the things that are hard, awkward, and we like to turn away from.  But, I love talking about my faith, all aspects of it, so this shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone.  I actually think I am like an open book- for better or for worse.

With all of that out of the way, the rest of this will be about the lovely Semana Santa we had here on the Ranch that led up to Easter.  In typical Jen fashion, I had all of these great things planned for Lent at the beginning (not before, let’s be serious.  I didn’t realize Ash Wednesday was even upon me until the night before!), and have failed.  Miserably.  (I know this normal, sometimes we struggle to pray more, fast more and prepare in general for Jesus’ Rising, but these things should be done.)  And, then all of a sudden we celebrated Palm Sunday last week, and we headed full force into celebrating this special season of the liturgical year.  The time here seems to fly by more quickly than I anticipated!

As I noted before, the external clinic was closed, and I was “in charge” of the internal clinic.  All of the employees have the week off, so the university /high school students and volunteers run the show for the week.  There was some confusion in the schedule at the clinic, so I ended up being there everyday, instead of being “on “call” some of the days.  It was really ok.  I feel like I know the internal clinic a bit better now.  And, again, thank goodness Bill and Susan (doc and PA) are here, it sure makes thing run a little smoother, and not have to worry about taking all the kids to the hospital.  And, we saw some interesting things including a bad burn (from burning trash) and a crazy bog bite!  I love learning new things.

Holy Thursday came about, and thus began the many things for the triduum.  We had Mass and Eucharistic Adoration (you know I love me some good adoration time) in the evening.  It had been SO long.  As soon as I walked into the tiny capilla (chapel), I felt like Jesus was giving me a hug.  It was great.  I was really looking forward to being with Casa Suyapa (each Hogar had a time slot), but they had finished right when I got there.  That was a bummer, but I enjoyed my time nonetheless. 

I brought I Thirst: Saint Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa by Jacques Gauther to reflect upon.  (Fitting for the time of year… nice job, God)  It’s a pretty intense book, as it has taken be a while to read b/c I find that I stop every few moments to reflect on something.  These were the words that struck me that night:

“Love that has been given to us should not stay in our souls. 
It needs to reconnect with its source and it wants to continue through us its drive to give of itself.”
~Father Marie-Eugène, O.C.D.

How fitting.  The reasons I am here are to love the kids, and the people that I help in the clinic.  I have received SO much love my entire life, it is only fair to give of that love to others, just as God calls us to do.  It was a great reflection, and just what I needed to hear, during this lull in my faith and to remind me of what the heck I am doing here.

I was energized for The Way of the Cross on Good Friday the next morning, but wasn’t able to make it because there was no one in the clinic.  I was sad about that, as I heard it was a pretty cool thing to attend because the entire ranch participates and the last few stations are live, acted out by some of the younger kids.

But, I was able to attend the Veneration of the Cross that evening and was really happy I went.  It was a bit longer than I anticipated (think, almost 500 kids processed to kneel and pray at the cross), but it was moving and special.  During his homily, Padre talked about the symbolism of rope (with knots, it was similar to the one that Jesus was whipped with) and how the knots represent our sins and the knots in our hearts that prevent us from loving God and others.  He passed some rope out that we tied knots in, and then when we went up to venerate the cross, we put our knotted rope on the cross.  Watching it fill with so many pieces of rope was an awesome image to remind us that Jesus died because of those sins that were weighing Him down.  It was really neat, and something that I won’t forget.

Friday evening, some of the volunteers and I dyed some eggs!! :) I hadn’t dyed Easter eggs in a long time, and it brought back some good memories.  Thanks, Caroline!

Saturday was spent having good conversations with the other volunteers, relaxing, doing laundry, spending some time in the clinic, and eating.

Finally, Easter was here!  Alleluia!  Let’s be honest, not all of us (actually, were any of us??) were looking forward to waking up super early for the 4am sunrise Mass.  But, we did, and it was beautiful (and long as it was the vigil mass.  We weren’t expecting that!).  We all gathered in Buen Pastor (the boys side) and started with a huge bonfire, where Padre threw in all of our pieces of rope (from the veneration of the cross) to signify throwing away the old and new life beginning.  The Pascal Candle was lit and then we all lit our own that stemmed from the original.

We then processed back to the chapel and Mass began.  There was one baptism, and it was one of my boys, Alberth!!  :)  It was really sweet.  As a whole all of the kids did really well during mass, even though we didn’t end until almost 7am, and we all had been up since 3.

This was the only pic I had of him smiling. :)  And, our baptismal font is brand spanking new!

The rest of Easter Sunday was pretty tranquilo (calm), as everyone napped and relaxed for most of the day.  It ended with an AMAZING Cena Amistosa (friendship dinner) with all of the volunteers.  It was so good that it deserves its on blog post.

Thank you for making it this far.  I hope that you had a wonderful and blessed Easter with family and friends.

Blessings to you all!

Friday, April 06, 2012

San Vicente y Mi Cuarto

Yes, yes... it's finally that time!  The tour of my home, and a bit of my room. :)  Enjoy!

The front of our house San Vicente de Paul:

Walking into the iron gate, which leads to our common area/ living room:

Said common area and living space, which is in front of the kitchen:

La Cocina (yes, where the cockroaches seem to LOVE!):

When walking in from the front gate, there are stairs to the left that lead to the roof:

The roof:

The view from the house from the roof, as you can see it's in a rectangle with the living space/kitchen below where I am taking the pic, and the rooms surrounding the courtyard/volleyball area:

A view of some mountains :)

Right after the stairs to the left is our laundry/storage area:

And right before you walk into the laundry room, you are at the top of pasillo izquierda (left hallway).  My room is the last door.  Pasillo derecha is identical, with the rooms on the right.

This is the view from the end of pasillo I, close to my room, looking toward the kitchen:

And then just turn a little and this is the back hallway, where the dorms are (where we were for the first month). And, yes those are my clothes drying! :)

I walked back up pasillo D, and this is the view into the living area:

 Now begins the pics of my room.  Amanda and I still haven't changed our door decorations and do not have curtains (currently there are mismatched blankets hung), so I have purposely taken the pics so you don't see those! :)

This is what you see right when you walk in, our wardrobe.  We are lucky to have this, not everyone does!  Amanda's stuff is on the left, and mine is on the right.

I want to show this off, b/c I am very proud of this crafty moment I had.  I had found shoestrings on the Free Table (remember that?) and thought it would be useful for something.  Well, when I needed to figure out what to do with my jewelry, this is what I came up with!  Please, please, hold the applause for later! ;)

To the left of our wardrobe is our bathroom:

Closer view:

To the left of the bathroom is our closet/pantry area.  Don't judge me, the shoes underneath the shelf are mine, I brought a lot.  I am glad I did! :)

If you keep turning to your left you will see the door, and then again, my bed.  I just love the mosquito net, it makes my bed look so whimsical!  And, you can't see it here, but my Nemo blanket is on the foot of the bed. :)  All the comforts of home!

And some details of the pics I put under the window:

 Wall of pictures behind my bed and desk:

 And my desk:

Amanda's side looks pretty similar.  You can see you desk just a tad in the pic above, and her bed is positioned the same way, on the left.  Once we have real curtains and have our own decorations on the door, I will update you with those! :)  I hope you all have enjoyed your tour, and will visit again soon!