Monthly Archives: August 2012

Are there any lists of NGOs or schools in Honduras?

Hi all

I just wondered if there were any Hondurans, or people working in the NGO field, that knew of any lists of NGOs in Honduras? I am armed with a strong CV and I am looking to work mainly for disadvantaged young people, whether it’s promoting human rights, administration, teaching life skills or creating promotional material to raise awareness. Please let me know.

I am also looking at schools in Tegucigalpa. I have experience of teaching street kids and refugees back in the UK. Just leave a message. Thanks.

Yesterday I went out with Pam’s family to have a typical Honduran dish in Valle de Angeles. Lots of lush meat, beans, tortillas. I also got to see where Pam’s family are looking to buy land, in a place called “Tres Rosas”, just outside Valle de Angeles. It looks out over oxygen pumping pine forests stretch for miles. The mix of fresh air and lots of food made me a little high. I still am.


¡¡¡Mi primo, Sam West, tiene 30 años!!!

Hi all

My cousin Sam West is turning 30 over the weekend. I would love to be with him to celebrate it. But I’m not. So there. Just to do a healthy bit of promotion for Big Figure, his band, I thought I would include this online article about him, http://entertainment.stv.tv/music/311376-scottish-band-the-big-figure-destined-for-big-things/.

Here is a song of his to enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6aEIiTSWEA&feature=related

And here is a lovely pic of the two of us at my brother’s wedding, courtesy of Alister Binney.

Happy birthday big man!

 


The mangos are back, bitches (and the guavas)

Dear all

I have just come back from the market near the stadium in Tegucigalpa and I have spent just under three quid on a very healthy fix called fruit. Of course, too much of it can turn into a downward spiral (in this case, the shits). I am going to launch into a mango and I am going to heaven while you’re going to be getting hungry.

fuck, yeah!

I also had two pupusas with quesillo. These lovely flavours keep coming back to me. I adore the fried hot dough breaking down in your mouth, so small but so filling, and the salty cheese making the dough all gooey. I love the market down near the stadium. You feel you’re money is going back to the people. Not to Walmart, where three avocados for 20 lempiras (65p, give or take)  means f–k all to those big businesses. The market sellers are good fun as well. They are around the world. Mostly. I remember my sister when she was twelve bartering these experienced market sellers down to the break of business in Turkey a good few years back. She terrified the crap out of not just the market sellers, but my own parents. She was an aggressive little thing.

I also saw a sign advertising a “sick-pack of Coca Cola” for so many lempiras. It put a whole new meaning to that business, doesn’t it! Probably a typo, but I like to believe the market seller had a bit of sense of humour about him.

Anyway, I am leaving you with a song that expresses my love for mangos. Watch the video. It sums up how I feel when I taste them. Fuck, yeah!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YhNQjaTrFI


A return to Casa Alianza

Hi all

After eight months away, yesterday I returned to Casa Alianza to speak to Menín, the director, and say hello to all the children. It was nice seeing so many familiar faces, especially children who entered Casa Alianza in such adverse and complicated states and see them thriving now. It was also great seeing members of staff like Carolina and Paula and the team that work with the kids. I enjoyed it.

On the sad side, since I have left, three children have died. I knew about it before I entered again yesterday, but you could see how the staff and children still seemed rocked by it. Two of them were murders, one of which was Dani which I mentioned in an update in February. Another was about a month ago which left the girl’s face unrecognisable by gunshot wounds. She was always a bit volatile with me, but she was only 14 or 15 and looked harmless to anyone. The other boy who died was a drug overdose, suicide. I had heard before that one girl I had helped, a girl who called me Papi and who’s story is in the book, is now pregnant and living in Olancho with the father’s family. She was 16 or 17 when I left Casa Alianza. The father was about the same age and also in Casa Alianza. The brother of the father, who was a budding footballer, is also due to be a father. He once threw a rope around my neck. He must have been 15 or 16 when I left, and I know his girlfriend was in Casa Alianza but I didn’t know her too well. There is also another lad who is going to be a father soon, aged 16, also a footballer as well as a barber. His girlfriend used to call me “hermano” (brother) due to having very similar surnames. I was very surprised by all three cases due to their mature behaviour and none of the kids seemed interested in having families before the age of 20. Now, and I hope I can be pleasantly surprised but I doubt I will, they are rejoining the vicious circle of poverty. I’m sad that I never got to say goodbye to any of the above children.    

Another sad thing I was told yesterday was that the funding sources for IHNFA have been cut. IHNFA is, if you like, children social services in Honduras. They work with the police tracking human trafficking and have hundreds of beds for desperate children all over Honduras, whether they are orphans or sent there by the police. It’s leaving thousands of children in precarious situations, either moving back with their parents, some of whom might be dangerous, or on the street. There are also massive job cuts. Seeing the NHS being cut is soul-destroying, but I think Cameron and Osbourne are cutting the NHS because they do not believe in a free health system and making everything privatised (I think they are both bell-ends because of this), it has little to do with the recession or austerity measures. Recession or not, he was going to cut the fuck out of it. With IHNFA though, there is absolutely no sense in cutting it. You’re driving your country into a less developed state. Years of hard work are cut with one hasty snip of politician’s finger.

I enjoyed walking through the doors and seeing the tinker-haired and enthusiastic Anastasio. He works on the door and usually has kids high on Resistol pestering him. He’s a great guy and was full of beans talking about the Olympic games and the closing ceremony. You can find the biggest anglophiles in the most random places.

Menín, the director, is leaving Casa Alianza at the end of the year. He seems ready to leave. 25 years of saving kids, fighting politicians and raising awareness of their plight is a job very well done. The book is going ahead online. Will update more on that in the coming updates. 

Another thing at Casa Alianza since I left has been a wonderful donation of the language programme Rosetta Stone by a US based organisation. The kids love it, as do the staff. They kept saying random phrases like “There are tomatos in the salad” and “The book is on the brown table.” It was funny. I have been invited to a dance event at the local theatre by one of the kids and I will probably be at the 25th anniversary. I will be going in one day a week to keep in touch with the kids and help out where I can, depending on whether time and work and future job permits me to.

I now have a fridge but I have a contant battle with the ants. I have killed millions of them. I don’t feel great about it, but it’s a matter of survival. It’s dog eat dog world. The ants go on the rather arrogant line that, “this big chele bastard buys the food but we’ll eat it.” I have found out where they are hiding but I fear the rath of God or Lady Karma if I kill anymore.

Last night I went to see a band called Pez Luna with Pamela and her brother and cousins. They call themselves jazz but I don’t think it’s jazz at all. It’s fusion of chill out and indie music. See what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tWY8yKtz9c&feature=related


Meteor in Honduras

Hi all,

Just to add on to my earlier blog update, I saw a meteor on Saturday night from Pam’s Aunty’s house. It looked like a firework. I thought it was at the time, as it looked green and colourful and sparkled and looked like a rocket. I found it a bit strange that the direction of the light was coming down from the sky rather than up from the ground, but I live in a country where people like to party quite a bit so you can forgive me for not thinking much of it at the time Only the next day was it confirmed that a meteor came down on the border of Honduras and Nicaragua. There was a big bang. I didn’t feel it in Tegus, but nonetheless, the paper said there was one and they never lie, do they?! Anyway, sarcasm over, it was interesting to see. I haven’t got a picture but I will include a video of a meteor shower below and you should google it if you don’t believe me. Go on. Do it. Dare ya!

http://proceso.hn/2012/08/19/Ciencia+y+Tecnolog%C3%ADa/Copeco.investiga.supuesta/56177.html


Six days gone

Hello all

I am now back in Honduras, back in Tegus, in el barrio “Look, Flowers”. In Spanish it’s actually called Miraflores. I’ve had wonderful welcomes from friends and Pam’s family. And now I’m accustoming myself with the heat and speaking Spanish again. I’ve been eating baleadas and granola (not on the same plate) and tasting the wonderful delights of Honduran coffee, blocking my ears to regaeton and devouring the salsa. Yesterday was the Tegucigalpa derby between Motagua (my team) v Olimpia (Pam’s team). It finished 2-2. I didn’t go. I watched Baby’s Big Day Out in Spanish instead.

I arrived at San Pedro Sula and had the greatest surprise to be met by Pamela. Loved it. On the night I had my first Life Saver (Salva Vida beer). It was as lovely and cool as always. She had some work to do the next day in San Pedro with her colleague Erika. I went with her and visited some humanitarian projects run by a Panama Priest who the Bank of Honduras were accrediting with a special award for his hard work. I can’t remember the name of the projects or the priest I’m afraid. We were chauffeured around by someone who I thought was called Jorge, only to find out at the end of the day that his name was actually Carlos. He answered me when I called him Jorge, so I thought maybe he was called Carlos Jorge. But no, he wasn’t. Anyway, the first project we went to helped young people from poor areas gain skills in hairdressing, beauty, cooking and mobile phone repair. They also helped ex-gang members with rehabilitation and return to normality. Pam and Erika made a video and spoke to the director (not the Panama priest, but I think Panama Priest would make a brilliant name for a hip-hop star). It reminded me of Casa Alianza and various projects that I went to see where the street kids attended during the day. The man who was not Panama Priest gave us empanadas and biscuits made by people in the project, and then we went to Chaloma (or spelt something like that), which is a small town just outside San Pedro, where the Panama Priest set up a project that cares for malnourished babies. It was a beautiful project to see. I don’t have any photos of the projects, but what I did notice was the train that goes through San Pedro Sula. As we were passing by it in the car, we looked on in hollow surprise at the tracks that went through markets and stalls had to be taken down momentarily as the train passed through. Kids were also playing on the tracks bare foot. It’s a return to reality, a reminder that 60% or more Hondurans live in poverty. I haven’t got a photo, but this is one I stole from the net.

We then came back to the cool climates of Tegus (which are still so ridiculously hot) and I went to my new apartment which is delightful. The owners are lovely. It has a kitchenette, bathroom, bed, tv etc. The fridge is dead but it should be fixed today, I have killed all the ants and the internet is now working (it wasn’t over the weekend). There is lots of greenry outside and it’s very cosy. It’s also close to Casacadas mall in case I need some cold hard capitalism to feed my filty Western greed, but that’s cool with me. McDonalds and Pizza Hut will be pleased. I’m still coming to grips with where things are but I’m getting there slowly.

Last Friday night I went out with Hazel, Marlon, Mariela and Oscar, as well as made new friends in Josh and Theo, both Americans who work with Hazel at Global Brigades. We went to a gay club and I accidentally stepped on the toes of a large angry lesbian who gave me a furious look. Large angry Honduran lesbians are not to be messed with. That’s my piece of wisdom for the day. It was nice to be drinking cheap beer, although I started dancing to Jennifer Lopez and I had to ask myself where on Earth my life had gone wrong. We also went to a bar called Glenn’s where they were playing Oasis songs. There was a girl there from Reading, England. That’s interesting, isn’t it! But here’s a lovely little Oasis number. Stand By Me. They’re from Manchester. Not Reading. I love the song though.

So, to finish off this entry, I suppose I must include the biggest reason I returned to Honduras. See below.


4 days to go – Part 3

Dear all

Should be the last update of the Cornish little tale.

After Godrevy, we stopped by the cider place, Henley’s or something or other, where they had the Cornish Rattler. Cider is one of those things I will really miss in Honduras. Maybe I could make my own brew with mangos and guavas and make a huge packet out of it. Brain wave. If Hazel Mealy is reading this, start looking at cider recipes on wikipedia missy! I will miss pasties too, but enchalidas are quite similar. They are not too disimilar. I’ll miss the lush steak meat in them though. And clotted cream. Roddas Clotted Cream, just for namesake!

I then went for a walk through St German and Sheviock and Portwrinkle beach. It was beautiful seeing it all in sunset. Somewhere along the line I sprained my ankle. It f–king well hurt for more than a week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I am saying goodbye to it all again. It’s a place I really love. It’s completely sentimental, but I do feel different in Cornwall. Just like I feel different in Honduras. The two places inspire me artistically somehow. Something in the food or water. Birmingham does too in a funny way. Bolt loves it. So do Warren and Blake. They said it after they took a clean sweep in the Men’s 200 metre Olympic final. So suck eggs rival cities who like to take the piss out of Brum (i.e. bitter Mancunians and your 4th city status (Liverpool is 3rd). Jokes aside, these isles I love.

It’s the people I’ll miss. Mum. Dad. Ben. Liz. Catherine. Ella. Leo. Gill. Pat. Sam. Hannah. Stuart. Rob. Niku. Jordan. Dutch Matt. Mary Sheard and her vicious rants. Boaz. The Refugee Council gang. My cat Huey. Who speaks more sense than ANY of the above people. It’s been nice being back, but I am going back to Honduras for a lot of unfinished business, with the book, to start an NGO, to start off a mango cider business or kiwi jacket outlet organisation, whatever comes my way. Someone very important to me is waiting. Pamela Cruz Lozano. I can’t wait to be with her. Just four days to go. Te amo. 

I am going to leave you with an Ian Brown (a manc) song that I may have included before, but it’s got great lyrics and a nice latin sounding trumpet, to make it a bit of a fusion between English and Latin cultures. It’s an optimistic song, and when you take big steps like this, optimisim is always useful. I hope to see some of those cheles listed above in the land of Catrachos some time soon.

For whatever reason, WordPress is being a knobhead and not letting me include the video on my blog, so I am just having to include the link. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BD-c8padYs