So after a couple of weeks of grueling, selfless, and thankless work for the Honduran people I’ve finally carved out some time to write a blog post. In reality, it’s just really tough to sit down and write these things but I promise I’ll keep them coming. Alright, where do I start? A month ago now (it’s crazy that I’ve been at my site this long) we had the moment that all Peace Corps trainees dream of, the Swear-In Ceremony. Finally, after three months of monotonous language classes, sessions on the dangers of diarrhea, and playing an awesome game with the soccer ball named “Ass” (not a real complicated game if you were wondering), I was going to be an official VOLUNTEER. After three months, everyone was chomping at the bit to get to their sites and start doing what we came down here for. That being said, for me, training was a great time. It’s kind of like a Peace Corps fantasy camp. Especially during FBT in Yuscaran, getting to hang out every night with a bunch of gringos not having a care in the world is something I’ll never experience again. I made some great friendships, learned a lot, and, all in all, had a great experience.
The Swear-In Ceremony was on Friday May 13 (a really unfortunate date) at the US Embassy. Never having been to an Embassy before, I was expecting some massive, impressive structure with swimming pools, a putting green or two and maybe an in-house movie theater showing the latest American movies. Instead, we show up to a sort of dilapidated neighborhood and all I could see from the bus was a wall with massive spools of razor wire on top. Behind the wall was a building that looked like it had been transported from a suburban office park. As we stood in line waiting to go through security it started to rain so they just let us go right on through, not even bothering to check some sort of identification. I guess since we got Osama they’re kind of taking it easy. Despite the rain, it was a great ceremony. We sang both national anthems, listened to some speeches from our Country Director, the Ambassador himself, and two volunteers; and had some snacks afterwards. What more could you want, right? Seriously though, it was a cool feeling to say the oath and join the ranks of thousands of volunteers that have come before me, especially since this is the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps. It definitely was emotional as we took pictures afterwards. Saying goodbye to PC staff and other volunteers I had gotten to know and develop friendships with was a lot tougher than I expected. A lot of these people I probably will not see but once or maybe never again. It’s a unique experience, 53 people from a different country being thrown into Honduras, all with varying language abilities and backgrounds, trying to integrate into the culture while not being held up on a bus or offend our host families somehow. It acts as a crucible, forging strong bonds in a short amount of time. After the ceremony, a group of us went to the Hotel Intercontinental in Tegucigalpa to celebrate. As we sat outside, eating sushi, talking about all of the great times during training: we all knew this was last time we’ll be enjoying these comforts for a long time.
The next day, my counterpart (the person who I’ll hopefully be working with for two years) and her husband came to pick me up and take me to my site. Add this to the list of really awkward experiences. I wouldn’t want to ride in a car for a couple of hours with a new boss in the States, let alone a person in which the subjects we can talk about range in the low single digits. Thankfully she’s super nice and her husband was there as well. A volunteer who came and talked to us during training said that his counterpart, when he got into the car, said, “the last guy got us an ambulance and a dump truck, let’s see what you can do.” Talk about pressure. Now, I already knew a little bit about my site and mainly heard two things, “It’s really hot and known for its mangoes.” Cool, I thought, for two years, I’ll be sweating and stuffing my face with mangoes. The name of my site is “Pespire” which for those non-Spanish speakers out there means “perspire”, or as I like to say “the Big Sweat.” When we finally showed up, I stepped out of the air-conditioned car and was hit with a wave of heat and humidity. Right now it’s reaching the mid 90s every day which might cause some of you to say, “Come on, it gets that hot or hotter back in Missouri.” To which I say, “Yes, but does your house, car, and every building you walk into have air conditioning that tries to approximate the temperature of Northern Canada?” That’s what I thought. The difference is you can’t escape it but once a day when you’re able to take a cold shower. However, I am accommodating. The trick is you just have to be O.K. with sweating pretty much the whole day. Once I accepted the fact that I was going to look like some guy who just stepped out of a sauna at the end of every day, I slowly adapted. Now it’s just a fact of life, like the Cubs losing and Lebron choking in a big playoff series (so happy to hear about that!).
Besides the heat, I really like this town. It has a classic feel of a Spanish colonial town with the Catholic Church on the square and other buildings that have been around for a century. Pespire is about the perfect size in that it feels pretty small but you can find about everything you need in the town. Right now I’m living with a host-family in a house right on the main town square/park. It’s pretty sweet (and also a little dangerous) in that they have a pulperia (kind of like a convenience store) in the house, which means that at any time of day I can buy pop, chips, soap, and even a piñata. In one month I’ll be able to move out of my host-family’s house, which means I need to find a place of my own. I’m currently looking for a place; however, there aren’t classifieds or Craigslist or anything so it’s a little difficult. The really hard thing is going to be when I need to buy furniture. Peace Corps gives us 5,000 Lempiras as a one-time move-in allowance which is enough to buy a bed and a plastic chair or two. So I want to officially start the Brayton Rand Furniture Fund, any monetary donations would go to a great cause in supporting a PCV by providing means for him to sit on something other than the floor.
And with that, I’ll sign off for now. Next post, I’ll talk about the work I’m doing, which, to preview, includes planting corn, building chicken coops, and trying to pay attention in meetings that last three hours and are spoken in rapid Spanish. Please, feel free to email me (email@example.com) and give me an update on your life or just say hey. It might take me four or five days to get internet and read it, but I promise I’ll read it!
 Funny Story: The night he was killed my host family and I were watching TV and the newscaster comes on and says, “OBAMA Bin Laden está muerto.” Come on , man!