Monthly Archives: October 2012

New job, Colin and poem

Hi all

I would like to start with some sad news about Colin, who passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was a neighbour of mine in Hall Green; an interesting character with many-a-musical-talent and a wonderful quirky sense of humour. He donated some money to me to come to Honduras back in 2010 and he had been reading my blog in Honduras. He suffered an accident a few of years back but that didn’t stop him continuing his music, learning Spanish and writing about a book about busking (if I remember right – my good friend Niku Mehta, who was also his chiropodist, told me). As I said, I was told by many people that he read my blog and enjoyed it, so if you’re looking down from Heaven, this is for you. I hope your family are okay in their mourning and I dedicate this song from a brummie busker called Andy Gayle playing a reggae version of “I can see clearly now the rain has gone” on the trumpet (or sax, I’m not musical, I don’t know the different). Thanks for your support, Colin!! And thanks too to Denise if you’re reading!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxWDJiSL4Bs&feature=relmfu

I have found a job at the Academia Europa in Lomas teaching English. It doesn’t pay very well, but I wasn’t expecting it to. I’m holding out for an NGO job but I suppose my CELTA qualification is coming in handy. Doing class plans takes me ages and I hope it is only temporary. The staff seem nice, as do the students. I hate being ripped off by taxi drivers to get there though. I have to wait and see if I was successful with another interview. Cross fingers.

Today, I gritted my teeth and wrote a poem about Honduras. It’s not the most optimistic poem, and I am sorry if it offends some Hondurans, but sometimes when you think about what is going on here and how honest people lose out, it can make you feel pissed off.

Devoured at both ends

Good people are devoured at both ends,
Like Lady & The Tramp; the scene with the spaghetti,
People plough, swindle and strive for every centavo they can get,
While politicians and gangs sprinkle their misery like confetti.
Honduras scoffs itself and nobody can stop it,
Ripping out chunks of the resources it once had.
Young people are exploited and the elderly die working,
And no cares for poor, crazed or mad.
Pride? Crushed with pointed fingers,
Though the guilty dodge the bullets of blame with ease,
While the blood pours and pours and pours,
And innocents, like always, are brought to their knees.
 
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Lions outside Wendy’s

Hi all

I forgot to add in the last update about a strange experience that happened when passing the Wendy’s fast food restaurant near Plaza Miraflores on Saturday. I was going past in a taxi collectivo when I saw a lorry parked up outside. At first I couldn’t believe it. I thought they were stuffed lions. There were five or six. I thought it was strange that they would put stuffed lions in a cage outside Wendy’s, but there you go, it’s Honduras. Strange things happen. And they certainly did. One of the lions moved. Dozens of people who watching on. It was even stranger was that the bars of the cage were quite large, especially from where I was sat. If someone got too close, injuries would take place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a picture (I didn’t have my camera for starters, but even if I did, I would not brandish it in a taxi collectivo).

I told my friend Hazel about it, and she went to take a longer look. She told me the lions were sedated to pieces, and the owners were also walking around with a leopard on a leash, while people petted it like a dog.

I have decided to include a video about lions attacking people. It as a) to encourage people not to get too close to wild fierce creatures b) standing up for Simba and the animal kingdom, getting revenge on those you try animals so poorly like that. c) for comic value. Enjoy! If you have kids, maybe they shouldn’t watch it!

Don’t piss off lions, Honduras!!


Paranoia, my best mate has had a baby, other English people & dodgy taxes – part two

Hi all

To start off part two, I want to start with some great news from home. Some very close friends of mine, Stuart and Susan Harbourne, have had a baby. I am very pleased for them both. The baby is called Holly, although Stuart, being the Red Devil that he is, was trying to suggest the name Keano! I would like to dedicate the song I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, which is a song that used to send my brother, my sister and myself to sleep when we were young. I hope it works guys. I wish you all the best!

 

Last but not least, I have come into contact with two English people in the last couple of days. The first is through a taxi driver, and the lad is called Matt and he’s from Essex. He’s been here three years and is more experienced with Honduran customs and how things work than I am. I had lunch with him yesterday, where he told my girlfriend about some of the female Essex customs, like “Vajazzle”. If you do not know what vajazzle is, then the below picture should give you a clue. I have never heard of it before, neither had Pam, but she was most amused (and puzzled).

Why do girls do this?

The other English guy is through Pam, who is on her course. I haven’t met him yet, I am unsure where he is from in England, but he has been here 10 years. Pam told him that I was from Birmingham and he replied that our accent is strange. I agree. So for Pam to practice one day when she comes to Brum, I am including a video of brummie people leaving valentine messages. Get used to used to it, bab. If you’re learning English, don’t let this video put you off.

 


Paranoia, my best mate has had a baby, other English people & dodgy taxes – part one

Hi all

It’s been two weeks since I last wrote. It’s not been quite as eventful for myself since then, but things are moving well in terms of job hunting. Interviews had dried up for a while and it was worrying me a bit. I have now got two interviews next week which is a relief and it shows some of my hard work is paying off.

I will start by talking about paranoia. It was inevitable after being mugged that I would feel uneasy walking on the streets. The thing is, it isn’t helped from hearing horror stories every now and again about near kidnappings, people being shot when driving off in a car jacking, gangs investigating people, seeing what people have and then rob them. I didn’t want to be like this, looking over my shoulder every few seconds and paranoid about every youth who passes by in the street. I get lots of funny looks because I’m chele. But it is ironic that when I go to Casa Alianza or Casa Domingo and I’m talking to street youths, I don’t feel one bit scared. They are good people and I like raising awareness of their plight and promoting their human rights. On the streets, it’s a different matter.

It can frustrate me that the policing system here can be absolutely demented. It’s very easy of me to correct the wrongs of coppers here and say what they should be doing, but that would be too easy. It annoys me that I get stopped in the street and get bullied about not having the original documents with me by coppers looking to make a quick buck, but when it comes to tracking a murder or an actual crime, they can’t be arsed. Some of them are poorly paid and have some many murders in the street to investigate, but this is always the excuse. They don’t really protect anyone. Only themselves. Nobody says it is wrong. Nobody polices the police. It happens everyday and the government don’t do anything. Criminals know that they can get away with committing horrendous crimes and make a profit (many say that the police are the criminals, but I would prefer not to state that myself). Pulperias too have a hard life making a profit, but then have to hand over a massive percentage of their takings to gangs, who sit their waiting for their money and do fuck all with their lives; apart from committing other crimes. Knowing that you aren’t protected can increase that horrid feeling of paranoia and isolation. It’s not nice. And it’s not fair on the millions of innocent people who have to live in fear.

One thing my friend Jorge Oqueli told me the other day was that Menin, the director of Casa Alianza, was commenting on the up and coming party elections. One of his greatest concerns is that neither the right-sided Nacional or socialist Libre party have nothing to say about street youths or any plans to help them. The problems will drag on or left to NGOs to sort out. I suppose the only positive of this is that no lies are being told, no false hopes are being filled and so expectations remain the same. But should it be like this? Why all the political indifference towards street kids? What good comes of it? Why not give these people a chance to prove themselves? I gave them a chance at Casa Alianza and I could see how strong they are, how capable they can be. They are the youth, the future of tomorrow, develop them now and you’re developing your country. Throwing away the lives of street youths has no sense. Give them an opportunity and you’re building something positive, rather than a life of delinquency (not all street youths are criminals by the way). Too much money is spent on military here, or it’s just stolen by politicians. It grates me. It really fucks me off.

I am going to include an old b-side track by the trustworthy Noel Gallagher which pretty much sums up my feels on mood now about the situation we have here. It’s called Sad Song.

I have a bone to pick with DHL and taxes here. Some clever money-making scumbag in the tax department here in Honduras puts tax on ALL items coming into Honduras, even on items sent by courier services. You can pay a shit load to send a package here via DHL or whichever company and some dirty fingers will want a slice of the pie. Whats more, DHL do not tell people this when they send packages, and they have stopped the service that helps people collect their packages at a lower fee. I doubt very much that any of that tax money will ever go back to the people. Tax services – scum. DHL – scum. Manchester United who have DHL sponsors – scum. Below is a picture that sums up my feelings of DHL.


Casa Domingo (INJOCA) & the floppy haired chap

Hi all

To follow up with some of the work I have been doing with Casa Domingo, I am going to include a video that is on the Casa Domingo website. It is in Spanish, some of which is in street Honduran Spanish, so it might be a little hard to understand to those who can understand. I work quite closely with the red haired woman, Ana. I have also interviewed a couple of lads who feature in the video. One of them is the floppy haired chap and the other is towards the end of the video. The floppy haired chap was wearing a Beatles t-shirt when I interviewed him. He didn’t believe me when I told him the Beatles were English. I gave a 50p piece as a gift from the UK anyway. He’s a decent bloke. He’s originally from Yoro, in the north of Honduras. He has been on the street since he was 8, after his dad beat him senseless. He turned to drugs. They have played a large part of his life and led him down avenues that he preferred not talking about.

He is now working in construction and looking for a beautiful woman, so he says. Casa Domingo has been helping get his life back together, making him concentrate on being independent and surviving by himself. He’s had a tough ride, made some mistakes. Many of us have. He’s nearly my age now (32 if you’re wondering). He’s doing alright.

I am going to include a Beatles song that I absolutely love. I suppose it kind of suits a lot of people living in the streets, when they need to rely on someone, like the floppy haired chap relies on Casa Domingo. It’s Don’t Let Me Down. I was listening to it with Pam’s brother, Juanjo, on Saturday night, but I would like to dedicate it to the floppy haired chap.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!

Hi all

It’s my mum’s birthday! Salute her! 2nd August. Have a lovely day at your art class.

Today I finally reported the robbery to the police near Iglesia De Dolores (Church of Pain – I love the name). Vilmer, one of Pam’s aunty’s, showed me where to go. I took a book to read in case it took ages, but like the Honduran CRB, which took me just a few minutes to get (unlike the UK where it takes a few months), this too was equally quick. I have no doubt that they just wanted me out the door, they will make no effort to monitor the area and even less effort to investigate the crime. I only wanted the crime number for insurance reasons anyway. On the police report, the woman (who was very straight to the point the nicest possible way) stated that my nationality is Honduran. Pam has been joking in the last few days that I am now officially Catracho: I have been assaulted. Why couldn’t they have just made me put my hand on the heart and ask me to hum the national anthem? It’s done anyway. I have a new camera now. The feeling of being watched or stalked is playing havoc with my paranoia, but I guess that just makes me more cautious. To celebrate the police’s quick interview model and the fact that it’s my mum’s birthday, I am going to include a Police song. I have included it before: King of Pain. That’s nothing to say against my mother, but more to do with the Iglesia De Dolores and I saw the police today and I like the song.

On second thoughts, I am going to include another song that I know my mother really likes. I know it’s popular back home, as it is everywhere. The video is silly. The music gives me nose bleeds. Pam loves dancing to it. So does mum. Gangnam Style.