There are so many things to love and hate here, like all countries I guess. But having been thrown from a country like the UK (after 22 years of leaving it for no more than 6 weeks at a time) to somewhere like Honduras, and more specifically Tegucigalpa, it is easy to take note of the great things and awful things. Here are a few of them…
The good stuff:
1. The people. Yes some of them are crazy and creeps. But the majority of people are absolutely lovely and really appreciate it when you attempt to speak Spanish with them, no matter how bad your effort is. I have given examples before of strangers being kind to me and that is something I have seen quite often here.
2. The weather. Laura won’t agree with me on this one – yes sometimes it is unbearably humid and hot, but I always see it as at least it isn’t freezing winter of the UK. Apparently April is the worst month so hopefully it will actually get a little more bearable soon.
3. The randomness – as mentioned before, often not nice but still it can be eye opening at times.
4. The adventure of it. This may fade as I get out of Tegus more, but our weekend to Lago de Yajoa when we had no idea where we going or staying was a bit scary but exciting to be travelling so randomly and just seeing where the road took us.
5. The food. Delicioso!!! The food is samey here (basically always tortillas, frijjoles, queso, cream and maybe some meat) but as my closest friends and family will know, this suits me fine. I’m pretty fussy so when I find something I like, I’m quite happy to stick to it.
6. Learning… like I’ve said before I learn more here in 2 weeks than I did during my Masters (and it cost less to come here too).
7. How cheap everything is! Bus to work… about 5p. Bottle of soda at lunch… about 8p. Weekend away with friends (accommodation and food included)… less than £35. Nice.
8. The places to visit… I have the Caribbean about 6 hours away (although it’s actually quite awkward to get there)… I’ll be going to the Bay Islands next month. If you don’t know what they are… google it! And be prepared to be jealous 🙂
9. Meeting such a random variety of people. I have met a far bigger mix of people here than I ever have in the UK – I guess you don’t get that many different walks of life wandering around Middlestown. A lot of this variety comes from the link to ICYE but still it is great to meet such varied people who have so much to say. I have also met a lot more gay people here than in the UK, which is also something the other volunteers have noticed (one of whom is gay)… I would like to know why this is though! In a country where homosexual people are often victimised you would think it would be different?! The different social classes here are also stark and so I live and work with people of opposite ways of life so that is also really interesting.
10. Just how different it is here… I was extremely bored of the UK when I left so now it is just amazing to be surrounding by a place so different, but in some ways so similar. But is it fascinating to notice which things are the same and which are different.
The bad stuff:
1. The poverty… it is something that I don’t think I will ever get used to. Every time I see someone begging, with dirty clothes on or sleeping on the street at night it is like a fresh reminder that a lot of people here have nothing. This morning when I was sat at a traffic light on the bus I saw a man sat in a huge pile of rubbish picking away at different bits of food and slowly building up a meal for himself. It made me feel a bit sick but this is what he has to do to survive.
2. The crime. It iss starting to get a little more real for me how dangerous it is here, I’ve said before that it is easy to ignore but it has become more and more noticeable how many deaths actually happen every day. I can’t remember ever seeing the front pages of the newspapers and not seeing dead bodies from the day before (and each newspaper has different murders). I’m beginning to see how Honduras does have the notorious murder rate that the UN proclaims.
3. As I’ve mentioned before, the men here… they drive me crazy! I was walking with a girl from work today and she said ‘slow down, slow down’, I didn’t realise how fast I walk! I explained to her that it’s because I get all the things said from men and after about 5 minutes she saw what I meant and said I was allowed to speed up again…
4. The pollution. It is unbelievable, you can taste it and smell it as you come back into Tegus from somewhere else. The rapidito bus I came on today let out huge amounts of black fumes as we went up the hill to my neighbourhood. No doubt he won’t bother to get a service.
5. Just the dirt, rubbish and smells. You can’t imagine how bad it is until you’ve been here.
6. People having no patience with others – I miss how polite we are in England that if someone is coming through a door the opposite way we will always wait to let the other person past (usually meaning we both awkwardly stand there not wanting to go first!). Here people just barge through as though there is no one else coming through.
However, despite all the bad things (I couldn’t think of 4 more things!), there is something unique about Honduras that makes me enjoy my life here. People describe Tegus as ‘raw’; it is the capital city of Honduras but it is, to be frank, a mess. However, it doesn’t pretend to be anything more and it bears all; the good, the bad and the downright ugly. You get what you see. I think it is this brutal honesty that draws me to it and makes me want to stay. If that makes sense… it’s home 🙂