More stories!!

I have started to take a notebook around with me (the one my mummy gave me for xmas, thank you!) as theres so much to remember all the time and I never know when i’m next going to get a chance to blog… we’re not too busy atm so I’ve been able to blog a lot 😉 

So Tuesday we went to learn about one of the ethnic groups in Honduras, called Garifunas, who were first brought here as slaves. It was really interesting and they showed us all their traditional dancing, the most common one being ‘punta’ – basically shaking your bum lots!! I asked our ICYE guy whether the garifuna (being originally from Africa) experience any discrimination but he said they didn’t. However, a few days later a tour guide at one of the museums said that racism is a huge problem in Honduras and anyone with dark skin is assumed to be dangerous and about to rob you… (Jewish and Arab people are assumed to be ruthless business men and of course, us gringos have lots of money and good to be robbed!!) 

On that day we also took our first buses!! The two main types of buses are the directivos and the amarillos – the directivos are around 11L (so about 60p) and are quite safe. The amarillos are a completely different thing and i HATE them – they are old yellow school buses that America don’t want and they are just 4L so very very cheap but that also means that you get the poorest people on there. When we went on everyone was staring at us constantly and it was so dirty – i’m definitely going to stick to the directivos whenever I get a bus!! 

The next day we had a police talk on safety – the advice was basically everything we had heard before but the police that did the talk were SOOO nice!! We all sat around afterwards having juice and oreos despite none of the police speaking English and none of us knowing Spanish – and we then mentioned we were going to the mall after and the police offered to escort us! We presumed they meant they had a couple of cars but no, they walked us – they would walk out into 4 lane roads and just stop the traffic for us! It was great and made us feel a lot safer but we managed to get even more stares than usual… 

The next day I went with the two girls who will be working with the children’s cancer project to see the office and hospital they will be working in. It was hard to see the hospital to say the least. The hospital is the largest in Honduras and still only has 23 beds for children with cancer – I don’t know where the rest of the children go. The children were all smiling and the parents were friendly too and I was slightly jealous of the girls project but I don’t know if I could handle it…! I mentioned to our ICYE guide how good the hospital seemed but he told me that the corridors etc. are ok but once you get deeper into the hospital it gets a lot worse (it is a public one so for the poorest people and gets very little funding). He also said that the situation is ‘sad but true’ 😦 

That night I had the yummiest meal yet here – egg in a hole (fried bread with a hole in the middle which you put an egg into – apparently its western??) with kidney beans, peppers, onions etc. So yum! I’ve also been trying to explain to my host family what yorkshire puddings are but it’s impossible… what are they?? 

Today, we went into the centre of Tegus which is full of old buildings and lots of people – except today there were demonstations around the congress so there were a lot of police/military barriers to stop cars and people getting too close. We were meant to be visiting 4 museums but only managed 3 due to this – the last one we got to as our police escort (again!!) told the military to let us past and we looked so cool haha. I also got a glimpse of my project and when I told one of the policewomen that it was my project she made a ‘oh really??’ face which was a bit unnerving… 

So that was the last few days and my journal has lots of things that I’ve noticed or thought that I can’t even remember where they fit in with the rest of it so again i’ll quickly run through them… 

1. homosexuality and abortion – BIG no no’s here. I haven’t seen much regarding these topics yet but i’ve heard little bits and pieces that show how controversial it is here, mainly as the Catholic church has such a big influence here 

2. I’ve seen a lot of people just throwing rubbish on the floor here despite there being perfectly good bins everywhere. The hills are covered in rubbish, the river is full of rubbish… i’ve seen people just moving rubbish from outside there house to outside their neighbours houses. People just don’t seem to care…

3. Being a gringo (technically an American but people don’t recognise the difference between Europeans or otherwise…) you constantly have taxis peeping at you because they assume you hve money and will want a taxi. It’s very strange because at home you assume you’re doing something wrong if someone is beeping at you! Being white also attracts shouts of ‘hey gringo’, ‘marry me gringo’ etc… The stares are also constant and it’s just something you’ve got to accept will happen. 

4. The constant taste and smell of the fumes is also horrible and another thing you just have to accept. I’m sure I’m going to knock about 10 years off my life just spending 6 months here…

5. The police talk also informed us that 70% of the car accidents here are fatal – but I’m finding it hard to believe as the two car crashes I have seen so far were just bumps and despite the roads being crazy, none of the cars have dents, bangs etc. 

6. The funniest thing about our police escorts was how laid back they were! Whenever we stopped for lunch or a drink they would get something too and just wander around with their coffee. They also all have Blackberrys and are on them all the time – its just so weird to see compared to home! The second time we saw them they were all hugging and kissing us on the cheeks, they’re just so lovely 🙂 

7. The most profound kind of thing someone has said to me so far was our Spanish teacher when we were discussing the corruption, poverty etc here. I asked her why she didn’t want to just get out and leave… she responded by saying ‘I’ve been to Europe, Asia, the United States… we don’t have the peace that you have in your countries’. I can’t really explain why that hit a nerve with me but it just seems so unfair and we don’t realise how good we have it in the UK etc. It was also interesting because people here, mostly, just accept how it is – in the UK people seem to strike over anything, but Hondurans have so many problems and they do have strikes but mostly they accept it. Our spanish teacher did admit that a lot of people want to leave and would if they could, but she said that she wanted to stay because people have to try and fix the situation, or at least try and make it better. 

8. Oh and lastly, one of the girls is fascinated by the fact that shops in the mall are allowed to sell completely fake brands – every shop has knock off Gucci, Prada, Ray Ban sunglasses. And I can’t understand why the govenment lets all the cars here have illegal blacked out windows. You come to realise though that the country has so many problems, where do you begin?? Blacked out windows and fake sunglasses probably aren’t at the top of the list…

I’ve just realised that this is quite a negative blog!! But the longer you spend here and the more you travel around I guess you can’t help but notice this stuff – and after the initial excitement, I guess it is natural to start seeing the reality of life here. Despite all the sad and awful things you see here though I am still really enjoying it, I feel like I am learning SO much and while I enjoyed my masters, I have probably learnt more in a week here than I ever could have done sat in a lecture hall in the UK… 

I’m on a computer that can’t load pics but I will put all the ones I have taken so far on facebook at some point this weekend… and you might notice that every beautiful picture of the landscape of Tegucigalpa’s surrounding mountains always seems to have something in the way, like a car letting out black smoke or a lamp post, but I think it’s kind of symbolic of this country!! Aren’t I becoming so deep and thoughtful… 😉 hope you all have a great weekend at home! 🙂 x

 

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