Oh what a charmer…

I had a bit of a realisation today. And what brought about this realisation today was a guy in the centro shouting at me, as I was walking to get my bus home – “let me see your titties baby”. I couldn’t believe it, despite the fact that I get things shouted at me literally every single time I walk anywhere in the centro. And I usually walk from the bus to my project, to and from somewhere at lunch and then back to my bus home. So that’s at least 20 times a week I have guys shouting at me,  so I would say I’m pretty used to it by now. However this guy took me completely by surprise. It was just such a disgusting thing to say. And in English. Does he speak English or had he just learnt the most vulgar cat calls he could find?? I think I literally froze where I was stood for a couple of seconds… I didn’t even see him, I just heard him shout at me from my right somewhere. And if it had been in the UK I would have loved to have gone and told him what I thought of him, but of course I can’t do that here, so I had to force myself to carry on while still reeling from being verbally abused in the street by a stranger. I suspect guys reading this will say ‘verbally abused’ is too strong but I don’t think it is. It’s disgusting and it makes me feel victimised and vulnerable in a place like Tegus. But anyway, that isn’t the point I’m making (if it was I would direct you to the website http://www.everydaysexism.com/ which I think is an amazing idea), the reason why this particular incident bothered me was a bit more complicated than that…

As I sat on the bus home afterwards, still recovering from shock, and looking out of the window at the markets of Comayaguela – it became more apparent to me than ever how out of place I am here. I suddenly realised that if I did want to stay and live in somewhere like Honduras (which is definitely tempting for me), then I would always be the outsider. However long I lived here for, however well I learnt Spanish and built up a life here, I would still be made to feel like I was different and didn’t belong. People will always double take me when they see me here (the white skin, the blonde hair and, yes guy from today, the big boobs)  and I will always have insulting things shouted at me when I am just trying to get home. When you live somewhere and want to move there permanently, you want to become part of the community and part of the every day life in that place. But I would never have that to look forward to. If I did live here permanently, and especially if I worked in the centro, I would always be singled out every day. And really, why would I want that? Who would choose to be treated like that? I sincerely hope that one day, somehow, this will change about this part of Honduran culture and men on the street will just let a white girl past…

It has truly annoyed me that this one man has made me feel like this and, to some extent, made me question my potential desire to stay here for a more long term period. But of course, it is not all bad to look a little bit different. I was waiting at the bus stop the other day and got chatting to a woman from Honduras who had been living in the US for 20 years so was visiting her friends for a few weeks. We chatted all the way on the bus and she even paid my bus fair; things like that make me feel really welcomed in Honduras and grateful to the majority of the people here. It’s just a shame that the men, or the majority of them, want to make me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. I know we have huge issues of xenophobic attitudes in Europe and the US, but really, it is nothing compared to here. Which is quite possibly because there are so few people here from somewhere different so the country just isn’t used to it, but they are sure making it hard to welcome others in. Something to think about Honduras? 


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