December Update 2: Christmas

This year was definitely a different kind of Christmas. There are so many similarities between Christmas at home and Christmas in Honduras, like Christmas trees, lights on houses and presents. But there are also big differences – like the celebration here really start at midnight on the 24th and people stay up into the early hours of the 25th to celebrate. And there is no Boxing day (most people are back at work by the 26th!). And of course, it is more religious for most families. So here is what I got up to…

For the last few years my host sister, Azariah, has organised an event called ‘plato de Jesus’, in which she collects plates of food from people all over Tegus which her and others deliver to people in hospital over the Christmas period. We began preparing the plates at 6pm and left the house around 7.30pm… we then spent the next few hours going around the city collecting plates and then visiting 2 hospitals to give out the food. Due to the divide between the poor and rich in Honduras, people with money use private hospitals so the public hospitals are mainly used by people who have little money. One of the wards we visited was a maternity ward; in one room there must have been about 30 women and they all had to share their bed with their newborn baby as there were no cots for the babies. One of the saddest things I’ve heard about this year was when Laura told me she’d seen a new mother leaving Hospital Escuela (one of the largest public hospitals in Honduras) with her new baby and getting an amarillo, which is the cheapest but most dangerous bus to use in Honduras. It was so sad to think that she didn’t even have enough money to get a taxi home with her newborn baby. A lot of the people we saw in the hospital were very old and weak as well. It was really sad to see people so ill and alone over Christmas but at least we could help them even a little by giving them some food. 

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The next day I headed to the south of Honduras with my host mum, sisters and friends Teddy and Christopher. My host mum’s mum lives in Nacaome and it is also her birthday on the 25th. It is a lot hotter in the south of Honduras than in Tegucigalpa but it has been chillier lately so the heat was actually bearable more of the time! Two of my host mum’s brothers were there and a lot of great grandchildren so it was a lot of fun to see everyone. We had some yummy food, including a traditional Honduras Christmas pudding which I can’t remember the name of but is very different to anything else! And also a piñata which one of the cousins put $100 dollars into, woohoo! It was a really fun day but a very different kind of Christmas day for me.

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I did miss my usual Christmas Day in England with watching the dogs opening their presents, taking them for a walk in the cold and then a big Christmas dinner after. But I managed to skype with my Dad and Grandma and call my mum which was lovely 🙂 And I also received an amazing parcel from my family the day before Christmas with some cards and goodies, thank youu !! 🙂 

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I went to Nicaragua and all I got was this lousy Dengue fever…

It has been almost 3 weeks since I last posted – whoops! But as you might have guessed from the title I did go to Nicaragua and I did manage to catch dengue while I was there (at least, I’m guessing it was there). The day after we arrived back I had a fever and cold sweats and in the week that followed I suffered from just about every symptom dengue can throw at you: muscle and joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash… yeah, not a fun time! Luckily though it was just classic dengue, and quite mild, so I was up and about after a week.

But, back to Nicaragua… we took 4 buses and passed through the capital, Managua, to get to an old colonial town called Granada for the weekend. It was super pretty and reminded me a lot of Antigua in Guatemala – the cobbled streets, old colonial style houses and every street having about 5 cafes each. During the weekend we had a lot of yummy food, a boat tour of the lake and a night of dancing with both foreigners and some locals. And I even got to see Julia perform in a John Lennon bar we found. 

 

So that was Granada – the journey home was a little longer (leaving the hostel at 6.30am, 5 buses and a rude immigration man later, we got to Tegus around 7.30pm, ouch!) but we eventually got home safely. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the week was spent in bed. But the next week I was back on my feet and enjoying crepe sessions with Julia, receiving a lovely parcel full of chocolate and magazines from Laura and decorating the Christmas tree with my host sisters…

This weekend we also had the baby shower for my sister in law, Maresa, as she is giving birth to her first child next month, so exciting! It was a really fun party and, thanks to a game of pass the nappy, I even got to sing some raggaeton in front of everyone! 

My host sisters and mum:

 

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Me and my host mum:

So it’s straight back into life in Honduras and trying to make the most of my last couple of months here – it is really scary to think I have so little time left in my life here in this beautiful country but I am also extremely homesick at the moment (although Laura’s parcel did help a lot, thank you so much!!!). But hopefully I can hold off the pangs for home a little longer so I can enjoy the run up to Xmas! 😀 

Thanks for reading, all my love to everyone at home! x