Welcome back to my blog! It was has been a very, very long time since I last posted but least I am keeping it consistent with the inconsistency. Besides, I have actually inadvertently deleted this post once already and been ill for a good couple of weeks but here it is finally so I hope you all enjoy 🙂
During our second week in Honduras we sadly said farewell to Karina, a volunteer from Honduras who was working at Miqueas over the summer. As a final farewell, we went out for a meal at a restaurant owned by one of the tías who actually works at Miqueas. Unsurprisingly as everything in Honduras seems to come with meat on, there were no veggie options, however the tía kindly made us soft-shell tacos with cheese rather than meat and then covered them in salady bits. It was very tasty, although arguably a bit too cheesy, although it was only 40 lempira, £1.30 ish – what a bargain, you really can’t go wrong. Throughout the next few weeks we have been going to that restaurant, obviously asking for meals sin carne (without meat), my favourite has been the tajadas (fried plantain) very delicious but probably not as healthy as I am telling myself. The next morning Karina left, it was sad to see her go as in that week and a half we had got to know her, she had become a friend and somewhat of a port of call which definitely helped when settling in. However, she has now begun the next phase of her life, uni, and I am looking forward to hopefully seeing her in the future. As I am on the topic of food I may as well mention my other two food loves of this month: iced coffee and Oreos. We have this coffee filtering machine (sort of like an electronic cafetière, although I could be horrifically wrong in the description so don’t quote me on it) and the coffee this machine makes is so rich and distinctive in taste it is like no other. I have never really been much of a coffee drinker but some mornings as we have not begun the primary school yet and if we have no other jobs needing done, we will sit on the steps outside our apartment and drink our iced coffees in the sun. We have only actually done this once, but it was such a relaxing and enjoyable experience – especially with a good book, I look forward to doing it again. My second food discovery came after our first mini holiday to Tela to visit two other volunteers. I don’t know why I had never liked Oreos before, but when we were in Tela I ate so many. The girls kept them in their fridge which I think had something to do with the enjoyment factor because now I have become fully converted and I preface, addicted to Oreos.
At Miqueas, work has become a lot more structured and regular which makes it easier to form a routine and to understand what we are supposed to be doing. We begin the primary school the week you are reading this (that will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings) so in the mean time we do have those free which I do appreciate although I am very excited to begin the primary school. As I stated in my last post my primary role is tutoring the children who attend the international school, every afternoon and evening I help them with their homework. Most of the time I feel as though I am running around like a headless chicken between the children, however I thoroughly enjoy spending time with them. As out of all the children they are the ones who I spend the most time with, I feel as though I have built up a good rapport with each child, which only makes it more rewarding when they compete something they have worked so hard on, I feel accomplished and proud of them too. Work normally doesn’t finish until 6:30-7pm (although those kids would happily continue working for hours, while I sit there hungry and tired haha). Each day, Gemma and I teach this one boy English, swapping between English classes one week and fun, interesting ones the next. Recently we have been exploring the oceans, continents and have just been getting onto marine animals. With the research we completed for that, I now know a considerable amount of random facts so if you fancy learning about chinstrap penguins or the Indian Ocean then hit me up. Completely unnecessary but did you know a blue whale’s veins are so wide that a child could actually swim through them. That is crazy and now I know that for sure something important has been pushed out of my head. I digress, I also teach one boy English for 30 minutes a day, he is really sweet and for the most part enthusiastic so I have been really enjoying that as well.
Honduras living in general has become a lot easier over the course of the month. The heat is something I have actually acclimatised to and now mid 30 degree heat is nothing that phases me (never thought those words would come out of my mouth). The same too with stares, comments, whistles etc, we get it regardless whenever we go out but it is a fact of life here which does sound rather sad but it’s just the culture and we cannot change that. On a more positive note, our ability to budget has skyrocketed, our first couple shopping trips were pretty much trial and error, hoping that we wouldn’t over spend – invariably doing so, testing out different products and adapting to the prices. Now we have a solid baseline and know what is more of a want than a need. The meals that we subsequently make are not particularly gourmet or impressive but we are still alive so that must count for something. Oh I forgot to mention, we now have a pet lizard who lives behind our fridge called Philip, he pops his head out every so often and then scuttles away when we arrive home. His role as insect destroyer is working pretty well as our only other encounters have been with ants and a couple of mosquitos – that we promptly swotted to death. Moreover, our painting has also been continuing, we have actually only painted twice as our weekends have been quite busy but in those few hours we has added the flowers to the vines (we don’t take credit for the vines the previous vols did them), half finished the butterflies surrounding the flowers which aren’t photographed and finished off odd jobs the other vols hadn’t. I’m really excited to start working on a bigger project like the world map on the other side of the classroom/library area and see what is turns out like. Painting though surprisingly hard and time-comsuming work, is a very cathartic activity which I have really enjoyed doing.
For the travel segment of this blog, the last weekend in August we headed to visit two other volunteers Jen and Allana in Tela. This was the first proper bit of travelling we had actually done since being in Honduras so we were incredibly excited to explore this beautiful country. We hopped on a bus after waiting quite a considerable time for it and headed in the opposite direction than we are used to when going to Progreso. The bus journey took an hour so really not too long and dropped us at the depot where we luckily found the girls around the corner in a smoothie shop. I have failed to mention before that smoothie shops are in abundance in Honduras and something we drank a lot of that weekend thinking we were achieving our Khloe Kardashian health goals but no, after research we discovered they are drowned in sugar which is probably why they taste so so nice. Anyways, we got a little tour of Tela which is essentially the same as El Progreso only much bigger and obviously beside the sea. Honestly when we saw the sea for the first time it was like a dream come true and I couldn’t wait to run straight into it. By lunch time we had decided to get nachos and eat them with the beautiful view, thus we sat down at a plastic table and chairs for about 5 minutes none the wiser, until this middle-aged Honduran lady came over and demanded 240 lempira for the day’s rental. In hindsight we should have just gotten up and left or used our classic Spanish spiel of ‘no entinedo lo siento’ or ‘no hablo español’ but us being the idiots we are simply paid it. Due to sheer pettiness we wanted to get the most out of this table and chairs so dragged them a good distance to be beside the sea where we then stayed for the next couple of hours. My first time walking into the sea, I was pleasantly surprised with how hot it was, I simply did not expect it but it ended up loving it. My next surprise came in the from of clothing, a lot of Hondurans like to holiday to Tela so they weren’t dressed in shorts and t-shirts or swimming costumes or even bikinis, however, for the most part, people wore jeans and long-sleeved tops into the sea. I can only imagine how horrible it must be to take off sodden denim afterwards. Apologies for that image, we stayed in the girls’ house which is so cute and a lot bigger than I was expecting and passed the evening playing card games and chatting. The next day we essentially did the same thing except without the table and chairs and just relaxed on the beach, Sunday is family day however so the beach and sea for that matter was a lot busier. That night Jen and Allana made us a veggie curry which was incredibly flavoursome and spicy, our cooking has diffidently not been that adventurous but maybe they will inspire us. The next day we arrived home exhausted and feeling rather ill but we had a memorable weekend which well and truly infected us with the travel bug which is why I cannot wait until we can do our big holiday next year. That was our first Tela trip, but certainly not our last.
So that was my month. I still cannot get over the fact that I have been here for a month (well over that now but you catch my drift). Everyday has not been perfect but for the most part I have had a fab time and achieved so much in the space of 1 month that I can only imagine what the next 11 will hold! See you soon (whenever that will be).