Before I get started with the blog, I just want to update you on a couple of things that have happened in the last couple of days. I’ve heard about the rioting back home. It seems to have caught on here.
- Back in Tegus while on the bus on Monday (I know I always say I won’t catch the bus again but I always do), it drove past a strike taking place near Hospital Escuela (which is where I had the fright with the Maras a couple of months ago, and before that a thief tried to rob a woman with a knife behind me on the bus). This time, the police set off a smoke bomb near by to stop the demonstrators, who looked to be students. The smoke started pouring through the bus windows. Everyone was choking, screaming and shutting the windows. Once woman fainted. For some bizarre reason, the smoke bomb had no affect on me and felt super human and immune to it. Maybe that’s from living in Birmingham: I’m used to the smog! I helped a few people off the floor and gave them a bag of cold water to cool themselves down. Unfortunately I had to get off the bus not far from the riots (the demonstration had turned into brick and stone throwing) to get to where I had to go, so I got off, went into a petrol station, had a coffee and watched as students threw stones at the police. I don’t know what the riot was about but I wish I had my camera.
- The second bit of rioting was at Casa Alianza while I was away. Nineteen kids have been thrown out after they rioted when staff were on a training day and some temp staff were put in place. Doors, windows, tables and chairs were smashed. They were also smoking. What exactly, I don’t know. It was all fixed before I got in yesterday morning although noticeably there were less tables. A number of the kids that I’ve interviewed for book have been thrown out and I was surprised some of them were involved. I saw some wandering around aimlessly outside at lunch time yesterday and today. Disappointment is the first word that comes to mind, and then stupidity.
Back to the Girl Guides, who thankfully never rioted (much).
Tuesday 2nd August 2011
Baleadas for breakfast, if my memory serves me right. Delicious. Some of the girls were a little unsure but on the most part, they were wolfed down. We then had ice-breaker activities and talked about the project, Honduran life, culture shocks they might have and various activities. One of the Girl Guides, Sarya Ross, introduced us to a game that involved standing in a circle, pointing, yelling, chopping, yelling and pointing, and being alert. I was crap at it. It would become a popular game later while in Pespire, which brought many strange looks but lots of laughter.
In the meantime, Rudolfo kept calling American Airlines to find out what was happening with the missing bags. Somehow they managed to send four of the bags to San Pedro Sula, and were then sending them on a flight to Tegucigalpa, and then driving them down to Valle de Angeles. Then other staff at American Airlines said this was incorrect and that the bags were being sent to Tegucigalpa. In the end they got there late at night. I don’t know how, I don’t care how. But it was good to see the girls’ spirits uplifted a little, even though they didn’t seem down at all. Luckily the missing bag that was still in Miami (where they had caught a connecting flight) belonged to Kris, the leader, who I wrote a poem about yesterday. The reason I say lucky that it was Kris who lost her bag is not because I dislike her or wish bad things happen to her. It’s just that Kris takes life in her stride and goes with the flow. She has been arrested for not carrying her passport while wearing a bikini when she lived in Brazil. She lives a bit. I hate to think what it would have been like if she was pissed off about it. She had to wait until the following Saturday to get it back. While waiting for the suitcases, we sat in the restaurant watching the CCTV cameras that were on the TV. There were nine cameras in all, but on camera six was a big spiders web. Every so often a spider would crawl over it. It was an arachnophobia’s nightmare, seeing the legs and ten eyes peering back up close. I’ve personally never had a problem with spiders but I could understand the screams. We then set a task for girls, to find all the nine cameras around the grounds. If they found all nine, they would get an ice cream from Kris. They didn’t find them. No ice-cream.
Wednesday 3rd August 2011
The next day, we had water-melon for breakfast. The reason I remember this clearly was because I took an unused piece of melon, went to the aviary and started feeding the parrots. The first time I came to this hotel (I can’t remember the name of the hotel, sorry!), I remember feeding the birds pistachio nuts. They survived that so I thought they could eat some fruit too. Other Girl Guides soon followed with pieces. The parrots seemed to enjoy it but I hope it didn’t give them the runs. There were about six macaws stuffed in a small aviary. They looked lethargic and ill. They deserved a bit of fruit!
We then did a bit more training with the Guides and taught them some Spanish. Then we headed down to the main town of Valle de Angeles to look for gifts and change money. The bank, rather strangely, didn’t accept the American dollars, so the girls had to make do and get ripped off by the shops instead. Valle de Angeles is famous for being a bit pricey and it’s “dulce leche” (sweet milk, but it tastes more like fudge, giving me memories of Brixham in Devon). Luckily there were enough lempiras floating around between us to get any goodies.
We then made our way back to the hotel and then set off for Pespire. I think everyone felt a bit travelled out by this point. We stored our bags in the Mayor of Pespire’s office and then went to play more Girl Guide games – lead by Marcia Wendy, the Guide Leader and my temporary host mother. She is a delightful person with a lovely round face and wide cheeky smile. In the blazing heat, she had us all jumping around to games called Guavas, and Tierra and Mar, which is a bit like Simon Says but a lot quicker. I sweated a smell I didn’t know I could produce. It lasted with me throughout my time in Pespire as well. It’s scorching. Forty degrees C throughout the whole year except for the month of December where it drops a bit. I have lived in Seville which is 50c in the summer, but at least the Andalusians get a winter. The sun pounds this place.
After, we went to collect our bags and then the girls went with their host families. I met my host brothers, Jean Franco and Johan: both really sweet kids. I felt a bit guilty as Rudolfo and myself were taking over their bedroom. I helped Johan with his English homework but both of us were knackered. I then went to use the shower. I kept turning the knob but nothing was happening. It was then I was shown how to use a pila, which involves pouring cold water over yourself from the main supply that sits in what I can only call a huge sink and the water comes from a hole in the wall. I think the shower fitting was put in just for decoration. Also, the toilet was manual flush i.e. you pour water down the bog to wash away your cack. Nonetheless, it was refreshing. I loved it in fact and it felt like I was going back to basics. I can’t see the idea catching on back home, especially with our winters! Marcia Wendy giggled delightfully when she first say my face though. The best shower I’ve had in years (although there are a million mosquitoes ready to suck your blood lurking around). It was lights out for me. Tomorrow, our welcome from the school “Monsieur Turicos”. It was going to be a long, long day.
Part three will come in a day or so!