I.C.Y campaign

The organisation I am volunteering with recently asked UK volunteers around the world to send in picture of their time abroad with a caption of what they have learnt from their volunteer experience. Here is the finished video (I am around minute 2.15 mark); there are some really inspirational quotes and I really wish I could do an ICYE year all over again!! Unfortunately I actually need to work when I go home next month… 😦

Enjoy! And be inspired! 😀 x

Advertisements

Proud to be British

I know I don’t always like to scream my love for the UK but sometimes you can’t help but be completely in love with where you are from. Word of advice… if you’re ever bored or feeling resentful of your home, just move to the other side of the World for 5 months, and you will soon start to appreciate home more (just noticed 5 months today since I left!!). This appreciation really showed itself last night when I visited my friend Joel’s house last night. Joel did an ICYE exchange year in the UK so he has a few things in his house from there. I can honestly say that I have never been so excited to see a WH Smiths bag. I couldn’t get over the excitement of it. Just one of those things that you completely forget exist even though it’s such a normal part of life at home… so it made me miss overpriced books and chocolate. Here is me enjoying my Britishness last night…

I also hallucinated slightly today… you know when you’re walking down a street in the UK and you have to walk past a chippy, and no matter how hard you try you can’t help but smell the delicious, fried smell of greasy, salty fish and chips? And then you crave it all day so you treat yourself to eating at the local chippy that night. Well I had that today, I hallucinated smelling the British fish and chips smell… and now I just have to wait 7 months to satisfy my craving. Ouch. 

If anyone can think of a way to get proper fish and chips to me here I will owe you forever. 

What exactly are they teaching in Religious Education classes in the UK?

Muslim-not-terrorist

My blog is mainly focused on my volunteering experiences in Honduras but after a couple of events recently in the UK I really felt a need to post about these events- and also vent my frustration. So, I got back 2 days ago from 7 days on a paradise Island and within the days I have been back in Honduras I have seen on the news stories about a girl hitting a cyclist with her car and boasting about it, and tragically today a solider being attacked in the middle of the day in London. It quickly emerged after the attack on the solider that the two perpetrators are extremists and were exclaiming ‘Allah Akbar’ as they apparently hacked the solider to death. And of course Facebook was filled with people saying ‘I hate fucking Muslims’, ‘shoot all the Muslims’ etc.

 

These views are just so shockingly out of line and it makes my blood boil. I just can’t believe that people from a country like the UK, where education is supposed to be among the best in the world, are even capable of actually believing such rubbish. The news has recently been full of the court cases of Stuart Hazell (who pleaded guilty to murdering 12 year old Tia Sharpe) and Mark Bridger (who denies killing 5 year old April Jones but the evidence looks pretty solid against him). But you don’t see people crying out about how all white men should be kicked out of the country in case they might be murdering pedophiles. There have been two recent court cases over sex gangs raping young girls – one was a group of Asian men, one was a group of white men – which do you think got a lot more media attention? And even in the case of religion, it is no secret that the Catholic church has repeatedly been discovered to commit and cover up the abuse of young boys – but you don’t have people demanding that every single Catholic must a pedophile and kicked out of the country. Because that is clearly a ridiculous generalisation. Do these people commenting on Facebook, Twitter, the Daily Mail and wherever else really honestly believe that every single Muslim person would love to kill others? Really?! No – extremists are called extremists for a reason. Islam, like all other religions is against any violence – but extremists twist what they believe in order to justify terrorists actions. After the Boston marathon attack, I read an article by a women saying she was praying that the attackers wouldn’t turn out to be Muslims because she was sick of her Muslim friends being vilified for acts that shocked and upset them as well.

 

It makes me so angry to see all of these comments and views – especially now that they are so publicly expressed and this can do nothing but spread these ignorant views. But then I realised it is not really these people’s fault that they are so ignorant to the fact that not all Muslims are extremists and want to blow people up. I realised that is the fault of the education system in the UK. We have Religious Education (R.E) classes through all of secondary school, or at least when I was at school – that is five years of teaching about religion. And yet too many people leave school with the narrow minded view that one act of violence by two people represents an entire religion. Surely 5 years of teaching about religion should be able to help students distinguish between the extremists and the ‘regular’ Muslims who just have a faith like Christians, Buddhists, Jews etc. Something really needs to be done to teach people this distinction before innocent Muslims are victimised and parties like UKIP and BNP get too much control. It will be a huge effort to change the mindsets of so many people, especially as views such as this are passed down from generation to generation, but it is something that desperately needs doing.

 

And as for the girl who boasted about committing a hit and run – where are her morals?! I honestly do not know what is happening in the UK anymore… we have so much to be thankful for and yet people are oblivious to how much we have. I saw some graffiti on my way to work yesterday – ‘we have rights’ and ‘education – it’s not a privilege, it’s a right’. People in Honduras struggle to gain proper education and are passionate about gaining it; we have the education in the UK, we’re just not using it right. Seeing pictures of the attack today, it looked like a front page from one of the Honduran newspapers. The UK needs to confront these social issues now, before the situation gets much worse. 

My thoughts are with the solider who lost his life today and his poor family, and also all those who had to witness such a cruel attack. 

Changes

Since last week quite a big change has happened for me here in Honduras… I have moved to a different host family. I decided to move for various reasons that I won’t go into here but I decided I wanted something else from my host family experience and so I took the plunge to change after 3 months here.

I moved in with my new family on Monday and I love them! They are so friendly and welcoming, I have a host mum, dad, sister and brother… their other daughter is currently volunteering in Germany with ICYE. The family owns a food chain in Honduras (delicious!) so on Monday they took me to see their factory which was really cool and we went for a lovely meal at a proper Honduran restaurant. We had my favourite thing which is called ‘alagre’, which is cheese and frijjoles over heat so they melt with nachos. Mmm!! My new host parents don’t speak English which I think will be really good for me… I feel like my learning is slowing down a lot at the moment! My host dad said my Spanish is good though which was lovely to hear. My host sister is amazing as well, she’s hyper and talks a lot and loves films and chocolate…so I think we’re going to get on really well! Although we’ve already realised we need to stop talking so much in the night and go to bed earlier as we tend to lose track of time…

The family live in a very different area to where I was before… I lived just a 10 minute walk from my project but when I told people where I was moving to, everyone responded by telling me how far it is! It isn’t too bad though and there is a bus that goes straight to el centro where I work. I have to be on it at 7 in the morning though due to all the traffic to get to my project by 8 but it’s been ok so far… yesterday my family brought me and came in to see my project and meet everyone which was so lovely! My family have also given me a nice, new phone… it’s kinda swanky haha and I love it! Basically there are only two phone companies in Honduras and to drive up the competition, it is cheap to phone someone on the same network but expensive to talk to someone on the other one. And as my family all have Tigo and I have Claro, they have given me a Tigo phone to contact them on! My experience living with them has been amazing already and I’m doing lots of new things… like peeling melons at 6 in the morning yesterday! I love it though 🙂

So apart from that, a group of us had a bit of a dinner party at a house (thank you for hosting us Daniel if you’re reading this) in honour of a different Daniel who is leaving next Tuesday… very sad! Daniel is from Sweden and has been here for about 8 months (his Spanish is amazing) and he says he is ready to leave and get home now. It’s feeling quite strange to say goodbye as he is the first volunteer to leave since I’ve been here and I can’t imagine how he is feeling as it is such a long time until I go home. We are having another meal tomorrow to properly say goodbye, it will be quite sad I think!

Other news, the guys at work have calmed down now… they did something not very nice the other day and I got very angry so I think they finally have the message now!! And I’ve started talking about my ‘novio’, which I don’t think they believe, but it seems to be working!!

I was in my project the other day and the director asked me to help her 4 year old daughter practise her English pronunciation which I was more than happy to do… she was soooo cute!!! And we were making our way down the list of sentences, which were really basic, saying things like ‘the dog went to bed’ and ‘the sky is blue’… when we got to the last sentence I read out for her ‘God was right to punish Adam and Eve’ which took me back a bit! I then noticed from the school name at the top that the school was Catholic… but it still seemed strange to have all of these simple sentences and then suddenly such a strong statement about God. I guess it’s normal here but it surpised me a little and shows how central the belief in God is to a lot of the children’s school learning.

I also have a lot of people asking me if I miss England… and I have to say no. Of course I miss my family, friends… and dogs!! But I don’t miss England and when they ask me why (and I have to respond in limited Spanish), I say that people in England have a lot… they have money, cars, their own house etc. but they’re not happy and they don’t appreciate it. Whereas people here don’t have much, some don’t have anything, but they are happy. So I prefer it here. And all of the hoopla over Margaret Thatcher’s death has just reinforced that… I was so embarrased to see pictures of people having parties and writing disgusting phrases on banners because someone has died. Yes, a lot of people don’t agree with the things she did so fine don’t be sad that she has passed away, but have some respect. Unlike many developing countries, we have the privilage to have democracy and vote in the leader we choose… and we chose her 3 times. Political rant over 🙂

I have been trying to update the blog for the last few days but everything has been crazy lately… and with the meal tomorrow night and trips the next two weekends I’m not sure when I will write again but I will try to soon!

I hear it is finally getting warmer in the UK… don’t go getting burnt guys 😉 Here, it is 30 degrees as usual…