It’s been 2 weeks already!!

It’s almost been a week since I last wrote and over 2 weeks since I arrived in Honduras – the last few days have been really good and I have a lot to forward to at the moment so I’m really loving being here 🙂 So I’ll just run through what I’ve done since last Friday and more crazy things about this crazy city…

I didn’t get up to much on Saturday – my host dad works away so when he comes back home the family just like to stay in and spend time together. On Sunday, we went to visit an old college friend of my host parents and their house is in a valley about 30 minutes drive from Tegus – it was HOT. No one here wears shorts so I’ve had to buy lots of leggings and jeans and I really don’t know how I’m going to cope wearing them when it gets to summer here!! While we were there we went to have a look around the best university in Honduras, Zamorano, an agricultural university which is very strict! We were there on a sunday and most of the students were still in uniform and my host sister’s friend who showed us around told us that any parties have to be finished my 10pm!! Nightmare… but it was the prettiest campus I’ve ever seen. I’ll put the pictures on fb soon but it was a very lovely, peaceful place… but I think I would get quite bored after a few months! Also, last year two students from the university were found dead in their car after leaving a party. It is pretty much certain that the police killed them both but no one really knows why – one of the boy’s mother was the president of the university but it was all very covered up. Very sad…

The rest of the week was mostly Spanish lessons and other random activities – we had a first aid talk, HIV/AIDS talk and a presentation on hurricanes and Earthquakes. Most of this was pretty boring tbh – we receive a lot more education on this kind of stuff in the UK than they do here so it was a bit strange being shown how to put on a condom on again!! There were some interesting bits of info we found out though – like the fact that you have to be some ridiculous age to get condoms for free from the hospital without your parents there, so with a lot of people here living on less than $1 a day (and condoms not being the first thing they will buy!) you can see why underage pregnancies and things like HIV spread so easily. Also, it is estimated that in Honduras there is only 1 firefighter to every 6,000 people so if you have a fire at your home you are likely going to wait for an hour before anyone can help you! 

Today I visited my project for the first time – we weren’t there for long but I think I’m going to love it!!! The director is so lovely and although she doesn’t speak any English she was talking really slow for me so I could pick up on quite a lot of what she was saying. The project will be preparing lunches for children when they go back to school soon so i’ll have something nice and easy to get involved with while I’m still learning the language! The main work of the project is to go out to the various markets in Tegus and Comayaguela (Tegus’s more dangerous sister city) and give presentations on issues like HIV, violence, human rights etc. It seems like they’re doing such important work and I can’t wait to help. They also have some bilingual staff so they’ve said I can put some presentations together myself and they’ll translate them for me which would be amazing! They’ve also recently received funding from the EU so it will be interesting to see what they do with that help and how useful the EU are… So I start next Monday so I’m really excited for that 🙂 

Until then, we’re having a big ICYE meal tonight at TGI Fridays with all the current and previous volunteers which should be a lot of fun! And tomorrow night my host mum has really kindly invited the new volunteers to the house – the garden has amazing views over Tegus so I’m looking forward to sitting out there with a nice, cold glass of wine! My host brother has also mentioned going to a mountain on the other side of Tegus for a little day trip so that will be really fun 🙂 

During all this I’ve noticed the following things:

1. You hear a lot of crazy stories here and however crazy some of them sound, you begin to realise that most of it is probably true! For example, a few years ago the financial minister’s wife was pulled over by police with some ridiculous amount of money ( i think around $40,000). She claimed to just be making a deposit and tribed to bribe the policemen with $500… it didn’t work! However, her husband is still working in parliment, just in a different position.

2. My host sister and brother took me to rent some films to watch – the shop doesn’t have one genuine copy of a dvd or game. They are all really obviously fake – it’s just crazy to know that in the UK a shop like that would be closed down straight away but here its just normal! 

3. Also, all of the little corner shops have metal bars at the door and the guy in the shop just asks you what you want and brings it to you so no one ever actually goes in the shop…

4. In regard to the crazy corruption here, we were told about how prisoners are often let out for hours, or days, at a time to go see their girlfriends and continue their drug dealing etc. I even read about one guy who went out at weekends at a time thanks to his police friends but when he was eventually formally released from jail, he was shot within minutes. Supposedly because he could have revealed too much about how he left prison so often – the three people that witnessed the murder were all killed within days as well. 

5. Rubbish is a huge problem here – there is no proper way in which the state collects and disposes of it, and often people just dump it in the river which makes flooding much worse. So you will often be walking or driving around and you will see someone just at the side of the road burning their rubbish.

6. When we were walking around in the centre of Tegus last week, our ICYE guy told us yesterday that someone came up to him and said ‘take them out of this country, its too dangerous here’. Which sounds quite scary but in a strange way its kind of nice because this guy actually cared about our safety and didn’t just see us as rich gringos… 

7. Another thing that really confuses me about this country and its corruption is how the Church influences some things and not others. Honduras, and the rest of Latin America, is hugely influenced by the Catholic church. The church’s influence stops sex education being taught in school and has made abortion illegal in Honduras. Yet, issues like murder and corruption are not affected by this God fearing culture… how does that make sense?? 

8. Before I came here I had read about the most common way in which people are addicted to drugs in Honduras and I saw it for the first time the other day. People (including children) who are very desperate get a bag (like the ones we use in supermarkets to put our veg in) and put glue in it. They then breathe this in and it stops them feeling hungry etc. but they become addicted and will do almost anything to get more. I think I will be meeting a lot of people using glue through my project which will be really hard to see 😦 

9. To finish on a light note, I had my first ‘cosita rica’ shouted at me last night!! And some more today… it means ‘you tasty little thing’ and you’ve just got to laugh! I was sat somewhere today and an old man came at sat next to me and literally just stared. Most of the time it’s like they just can’t believe they are seeing a white girl sat on her own in the middle of downtown Tegus… 

My first two weeks have gone so quickly and some of it has been hard but I am really enjoying it – so please don’t worry anyone!! I will put more pictures on facebook this weekend hopefully 🙂 x

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