The Randomness that is Honduras

Yes, it’s me again… I just have too much to say about this crazy city!! And I don’t think I’ve really told you enough about it yet to communicate how crazy it is…!

One of the things I most love about Tegucigalpa, and will miss the most when I go back to England, is the randomness. I don’t think I ever take a bus or taxi journey or walk anywhere without seeing something a bit weird that you would never see anywhere else. So I thought I would start jotting things down (as my memory is awful) and here are just some of the things I’ve seen the last few days (I think I actually managed to forget to write down most of it, oops!

1. It’s pretty normal here to see people piled into the back of pick up trucks (me and Brynja even had a go at it once as we just had to try it – it was freezing!!), sometimes literally piled on top of each other. But last weekend I actually saw a huge truck, like the one you would usually see on a building site, carrying people. Very strange – can you imagine that happening in the UK??

2. Another regular thing here is the stray dogs, there are hundreds of them. You won’t walk for 10 minutes in most places without seeing a couple… and sometimes they just sleep on the pavement and you freak out that they are dead! But they aren’t. They are so adapted to life here that they know how to avoid traffic and walk around like they know exactly where they are headed. I have only seen dogs on leads here twice. The other day though when I was on a rapidito bus, I saw a group of about 6 or 7 dogs all walking together in the same direction… like they had agreed where they were off to and the way to go! 

3. Something sad that you see surprisingly often here is men with one, or no, legs. There seems to be a surprising amount of men in wheelchairs, or without one, begging on the streets. It is something you occasionally see in London maybe, but here I see about two men like this a week… 

4. It is also very common to see young children selling things on the street, like water, fruits and sweets. They are just so young and should clearly be in school. 

5. One of the nicer things I have seen, well funnier things, was when I was walking through the centro and quite an old man was walking towards me, combing his grey hair! He had one of those little combs you imagine old Italian men to use and was just combing it over and over obsessively! Made me laugh a little..

6. Today on my bus home I also saw a wall literally made of mud and tyres and also a, clearly homeless, man in the middle of a busy triangle junction just spinning around and around. It isn’t funny to see something like that, it is quite sad, but it is really just fascinating so I’m actually kind of looking forward to getting buses to work now for all the crazy things I will see! 

7. Yesterday me and a friend at my project, Sarah, went to the local shop (they are called pulperias and are the ones with bars across them so they look like jail cells) and were met 2 minutes from our project with a Garifuna style dance off. It was right in the middle of the centro so the roads were closed off (apparently with no prior notice) and there was a big circle of Garifuna people (an ethnic group in Honduras that came here as slaves from Africa years ago) in amazing tribal dress and lots of instruments being played. They would take turns to go into the music and basically shake their bum to the music, but a little more impressive than I make it sound. But I honestly do not know how they did all that dancing in all those layers… it was so hot!!! Me and Laura are hoping to go to a Garifuna festival in July so I’m looking forward to seeing more of this dancing, it’s so much fun! 

8. Another weird thing about living here, particularly where my new house is, is the ‘gated communities’. You imagine big walls, big impassable gates and strict security. No… from what I have seen the guards let most people by without any questions and often the barrier into the estate isn’t exactly intimidating anyway. 

9. Something quite funny happened at the weekend also… Me, Laura, Brynja and a guy called Noel from Honduras (he was one of the guys who went to Tela) went to a Chinese restaurant. It was amazing – we sat in a little boat and the food was greasy but delicious. Anyway, we let Noel order the food as he could order in Spanish easiest and then he starts to have a full on conversation with the waiter and we pick up the word ‘lemons’. Turns out his dad sells lemons and Noel had decided to have a go at selling some… it worked! And a few days later when Noel was late to meet us, it turned out he was delivering his lemons. Just random. 

So they are my random things for now… I will try and keep remembering them so I can keep giving you all an idea of the crazy randomness here. 

I also forgot to mention before that my family have a cat, which for the people who know me well will know that this isn’t happy news for me! But actually, as far as cats go, it’s OK. It has a fluffy tail and it stays away from me. I think we’ll just about manage to get on. My host mum also said tonight that if I stay living with them until I leave next year then they will get a dog, haha! That is a good reason to stay right?! 🙂 

When I got home from my project today, my host sister showed me around the colonia (neighborhood) so I could start to get my bearings a bit… or know where the nearest place to buy M&Ms! The views are amazing… it is unbelievable how far you can see. You can see the Christ statue which is a good 40 minute drive from my house. There is also a big ‘shanty town’ on a hill close to where we were so when I get my camera back from Laura I will go and take some pictures as it will finally be safe to do so!! We also went into a huge abandoned house nearby… basically a woman who worked for the ousted ex-President, Zelaya, built the house but when Zelaya was basically thrown out of the country she had to flee too. So ever since then the house has been deserted even though it is worth millions. It is gorgeous and the views are amazing… I will take pictures of this too! 

I’m also really excited about things at my project at the moment… tomorrow I am making a new sign for the computer room which isn’t really a big deal but to me it means that there will be something I’ve made at the project at least for a little bit after I have gone! Also, next Wednesday, Hector who teaches English classes, has asked me to plan and do a lesson! I’m really tempted to do lots of colloquial language and throw in some proper British slang but as they have only just started learning I’m not sure this would be great for them… The director of the project has also asked me to give a presentation on human rights to the people who work in my project. I’m really excited to do it but as it will need to be in Spanish I’m quite nervous too! I will keep you updated on how it goes…

Hope I didn’t waffle on too much, I’m tired and the words just ended up on the page somehow… Buenos Noches!!