Monthly Archives: May 2013

Casa Domingo still needs your votes

Hi all

In the past month, Casa Domingo has been competing in a competition to go to Costa Rica and win a possible $25,000, which is very much needed after the organisation lost it’s funding last year. It’s with Project G, which I published a few weeks back, but it is fantastic opportunity to keep this project going and support this meta group, which is in desperate need of your assistance. It is currently in 6th place, which a few more days for voting. It needs to be in the top four. So please, please vote. http://www.thisisyourplanet.com/ideas/community/281.

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I have written about how beautiful this project is, how dynamic it is and it’s hugely important role in the reintegration of street youths to society, which they were rejected from. It’s fantastic to see these guys, having been abused and gone down wayward tracks, to get back on board and strive to make a success of their lives, with wonderful results. You can see their determination and their willingness to do what it takes to change their lives around. This is well Casa Domingo comes in. They motivate the youths, help find scholarships, work or accommodation, teach them interview techniques, life-skills, cooking, re-educate them, psychological assistance – my gosh, the list really does go on and on.

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I have not seen an organisation like this that fully integrates them, giving them infinite opportunities to return if they derail. The staff are fantastic, always there for them, chasing them up, making sure they remain on a disciplined line to “exito”. They remain in contact with youths long after the youths have reached their goals, inviting them on day trips so they can consult younger youths who are going through what they did. The transition from despair to success takes a lot of balls, passion and hard-work, so it’s full credit to this organisation who continue regardless, especially when there is only one or two staff at any one time.

I am now going to include a couple of profiles of the youths, after I did interviews about six months ago. I have changed their names for their own security. I suppose it bodes in well with the interviews that I have done with other Hondurans as of late. Enjoy!

Name: Hector Varela
Age: 27
From: Yoro, Northern Honduras
Entered Casa Domingo: 2005. I have been in and out of various centers battling my addition to drugs
Past-times: Playing football, billiards, cards
Favorite soccer team: Olimpia (the most popular team in Tegucigalpa)

Life before Casa Domingo:
I’ve been living in the street since I was seven years old. My parents abused to be me badly. They used to beat me and say awful things to me. I left home, came to Tegucigalpa and started taking drugs a year later, when I was eight. Marijuana, Resistol, crack. I was sleeping anywhere, in buses, parks, going in and out of centers. But I was too addicted to the drugs and kept returning to the street. It was dangerous, gangs everywhere, people being abusive and doing things I would rather not say. For four years, I was running with a gang. I regret a lot of the things that I did. I thank God that it’s over.

Life in Casa Domingo:
It’s a relief. I’m relaxed here, more tranquil. I have a house, a bed, food, I have everything. I feel better now, about myself. I have self-esteem. Casa Domingo helps me every day. They have helped me find work. I’m working in construction. I’m building a house like Casa Domingo. I have money. It stops me thinking about drugs. I have also found God. I’ve stopped taking drugs I’ve changed so much. I’m happy.

Goals for the future:
To have a family, have a beautiful wife, and my own house.

Name: Leonardo Alfaro
Age: 25
From: Tegucigalpa
Entered Casa Domingo: 2005. I have been in and out of Casa Domingo a few times. I kept returning to the streets and other centers.
Past-times: Playing football, learning to read.
Favorite food: Fried chicken

Life before Casa Domingo:
When I lived at home, my dad used to beat me a lot and mistreat me. I would hang out on the streets with friends when I was a teenager. I wasn’t in college and I didn’t feel my life was going anywhere. I was seventeen when I started living on the streets, and then I was in and out of homes and other centers, then I was nineteen when I got more involved with drugs. Marijuana, Resistol and alcohol, mainly. I did it for the pain. I felt ashamed and drugs helped. I felt bad and missed my family a lot. I had no self-esteem, I could be volatile and I would do anything to get drugs. I saw friends die from drugs. I was suicidal too. I feel that I’ve wasted a lot of years.

Life in Casa Domingo:
I have everything here. A home, a bed, food, people who care for me and watch my back. It’s not like that on the streets. I feel safe and I feel my life is going somewhere. Casa Domingo helps me with everything, in all corners of my life. If I’m ill, I have someone who will take care of me. I entered Casa Domingo to quit drugs, change my life and be happy. That´s exactly what’s happened. They are helping me to read and write. The educators have patience, they’ve helped me step by step, little by little. I have learned to occupy mind, so I don’t think about drugs. I’ve learned how to cook, live independently and be a different person. There is no other center or organization that helps older people in the street. It’s like we don’t exist. I’ve never been in a home where they give you so much attention and support. Casa Domingo is a family. I am very grateful to Casa Domingo. I’m a better person.

Goals for the future:
I want to have a house and a family. I don’t mind what job I have, as long as I can support them and be successful.

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Don Rony Alexis Hernandez

Hola todos

Referring back to my teaching post last week when I stated that I’d had an interview at the Macris School, I am proud to announce that I was successful. I shall be the English teacher starting from the next term, but I will be observing classes starting as soon as Thursday, which I look very forward to. It means dealing with the lovely so and so’s from Honduran immigration again, but it feels great. It’s one of the best schools in Tegucigalpa and Honduras, and it will involve teaching lots of literature; a huge passion of mine!

Continuing with literature, I have recently downloaded a book set in Roatan by an American named Chas Watkins. The book is called “To Hold The Sun”, which so far seems interesting and humorous. If you liked “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel and “A Load of Bull” by Tim Parfitt, it’s a concoction of both in same ways, a mix of the profound and Spanish pronunciation difficulties, about a guy who does lots of hand-stands and does self-help and motivational talks. I haven’t been to Roatan, but the description is lush. It paints another side of Honduras, which so often gets forgotten about. You can download it here if you’re interested: http://www.amazon.com/To-Hold-The-Sun-ebook/dp/B00CFAH78Q.

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Now, to the interview. A friend of mine, David Soto, told me a story about a friend of his who had been in England. I originally wanted to write the story just as a short-story, which I will still do, but I thought, after interviewing him, it would be a fantastic to put on my blog, too. I won’t tell you too much now, only that we met in Dunkin’ Donuts in front of the Presidential Palace, and Don Rony had a lot to say!

Don Rony Alexis Hernandez

Name: Don Rony Alexis Hernandez

Age: 52

From: Victoria, Yoro

Currently lives: Lomas de Guijarro, Tegucigalpa

Profession: Civil Engineer (Hydrologist)

Mr David Soto told me that you have an interesting story about an experience that you had in England.
What did he tell you? Anything bad? (He laughs).

Nothing bad. But I am going to leave it to you to tell me in your own words.
Fine.

First of all, when did you go to the UK?
It was between 1990 and 1992. I was about 30 years old at the time, your age, more or less. I was working for an organisation called SANAA, which deals with the drinking water supplies, potable systems and sanitation throughout Honduras. Through the British and Honduran governments, they formed a relationship and water programme, to get more technical assistance and people with skills here in Honduras. We had quite a few British people come over. All of them were nice, had a great attitude and good values. It was a wonderful exchange.

Part of the programme included a scholarship for two Hondurans going over to the UK and studying in universities for two years. I went to UCL, and my friend went to University of Birmingham.

Wow, that’s where I am from and where my father has taught for about 40 years.
It’s a small world. I went there for a weekend.

Did you like it?
It’s okay. It’s very industrial.

The process to get on this programme was long and hard for me. You see, people here do not always pick the right person for these types of scholarships or jobs. They choose the person who they know or friends. Politics, basically. SANAA probably wanted someone else to go. I had to go four times to the British Embassy to sort out the immigration documents. They kept missing something out, a form or a document, and I kept having to go back.

Another part of the process was to present our application to a man called Andrew McKenzie, a respected expert in this field. The main problem for me was I couldn’t speak English! We had a test which was harder than the TEFL exams, and I hadn’t much time to prepare for. I got around it one way. I knew two other people I was competing against who could speak English well, so during the exam, I positioned myself in the middle of the two of them, and they sat 30 degrees in front of me. I copied the answers which I didn’t know. As it was multiple choice questions, I guessed the majority were going to be B or C, the middle ones. And guess what? I was right. I got 80%! I couldn’t believe it!

The second part of the process was a written test in Spanish, which I wrote about fifteen pages. The third part was an oral test. It consisted of six questions. The first question was, “What is your profession?” and I had kind of prepared for it. My father had a similar role, so I talked about him, about myself etc. The second question, I had no idea what they were going to ask me, so I interrupted them before they had a chance to ask me, and I asked them, “What am I going to be doing the UK?” And they spent some time answering, and I somehow passed. They seemed impressed. The problem was when I got to England: I was really stuck!

It took me three months to learn English. It was more about how to write a thesis than the useful things you need for everyday life. The accent was so, so different to what I expected. Everyday I would return to my house and I would have a big headache. Anyway, through the lectures, I made a good friend called David Benniston, who lives in Dubai now, who wrote very good notes, so I photocopied them, went home and studied them. The technical words weren’t too difficult. There are many latin words so it was straight-forward. But there were some phrasal verbs or jargon, that was impossible to understand without someone telling me. Drop down for example! Not even many English speakers would not what that is in hydrology!

It was a fantastic learning experience.

Tell me more about what happened to you while you were in the UK.
Well, through a link through the government and the university, I had chance to meet the Queen. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited! I had called my family, I was showing off to friends, I had a suit and I looked “smokin'”. As you can imagine, I couldn’t wait to meet her and the Royal Family, one of the most important and powerful people in the world!

However, about week before I was going to meet her, I was asked by the contact from the university where I was from. Surprised, I replied, “Honduras, obviously.”
He then looked at me, “Which Honduras?”
“Well, Honduras, Honduras.”
“Not British Honduras?”
“No.”
“Not Belize?”
“No. Honduras.”
“Oh dear.”

He then explained that I actually couldn’t go due to a mistake, or more of a technicality: I was from the wrong Honduras! It was actually a meeting for the British Commonwealth countries and they were looking for members of each of the countries.

You can imagine how I felt. I was crestfallen. Distraught. I had to tell my family that I wasn’t going to meet the Queen anymore, because I was from the wrong Honduras! It was hard to take. I was disillusioned and disappointed.

So do you now hold a grudge against the Brits?”
No. Hahaha. Luckily I have a sense of humour. I can laugh it off. It was a near experience. It would have been nice, but the story is funny. These things happen.

On the whole, I really like Britain, and the people. The weather isn’t great, but the people have strong values, and they live by them. It’s more organised, people have a good attitude, to most things, to work, to understanding different cultures. They have rules and people respect them; not like here. They want to make foreigners feel like they are in their own homes, so it makes them want to return, which is great for your tourism. You can trust the Brits. They are more friendly than people think. I can understand why it stays out of European affairs, especially with the EU.

One thing we get a lot with foreigners doing service contracts in Honduras, is that they don’t want to pay the local people for doing the work. I own a civil engineering company and we have hydrology contracts all over Honduras. Many of the projects here are funded by the EU, who contract the work to bogus companies, in Europe or wherever, and they don’t even start the work. The projects are incomplete and the money is swallowed up. We lose out. And local people have to continue with poor water and drainage systems. We lose out to corruption.

I have reported a case to the anti-fraud committees in Europe, and it’s under investigation. I don’t know if they’re going to do much about it, but we’ll wait and see.

I can imagine this upsets you.
Yes.

Now a positive question about Honduras. What three things do you like most about your country?
The sun, the sea and the people. They are friendly, good-natured, helpful, and they have a special quality.

What three things would you change?
I would eliminate corruption, have a progressive plan to develop the country and eliminate poverty.

What dreams did you have as a child? And how have they changed?
My dream has never really changed. It’s always been to sustain myself, and my family, to have a business, which I have, and my health, which I also have.

And to meet the Queen?
Who knows? Maybe one day!


Hector Alvarado

Hi all

Today I would like to present Hector Alvarado, who works for Alternativas y Oportunidades, the organisation my friend Jessica Marshall is volunteering at, from ICYE. She actually introduced me to Hector, telling me that he had many insightful views about Honduras, and had apparently only just the week before compared Tegucigalpa to Gotham City, but without a masked nocturnal, part man, part flying rodent, crime fighter. Apart from this, I didn’t know too much about him, so it was quite hard to prepare questions in quite the same way. But as with most Hondurans, once you trigger them with a topic, they usually have something to say, with quite a strong opinion, and Hector was no different.

We met in Espreso Americano in the city centre, or downtown as they call it here, although the geographical location of the city centre is neither downtown or in the centre, but actually in the northern areas of the city. The interview was done in Spanglish. It sometimes involved me asking questions in Spanish and he replied in English, or sometimes I asked in English and he replied in Spanish. It barely took a second to get him talking, and this is what he had to say.

Hector Alvarado

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Name: Hector Alvarado

Age: 50

From: Colonia Las Vegas, Tegucigalpa

Profession: Educator, youth worker, with Altervativas y Oportunidades in Tegucigalpa

So Hector, tell me a bit about yourself.
I am from Tegucigalpa, I have a wife and young baby, I work as an educator for Alternativas Y Oportunidades, which helps children at risk, and I live in Colonia Las Vegas, not far from Jessica. I was brought up by my mother. My father ran off. It’s what many men do here in Honduras; they get a girl pregnant and they run off. They don’t want responsibility or they do it early and aren’t ready or old enough.

Was that hard for you?
It was harder for my mother, I think. I never had a father so I don’t know what it’s like. For myself, I waited to meet my wife and I was old enough. I had my daughter, just a year and a half ago. She’s my first child but I don’t think she’s going to be my only child.

This is a very open question, but what is your opinion of Honduras?
Wow, where do I start?!

Okay, back in the UK, when I was raising money to come here, I said to them that I was going to volunteer in Honduras. They would respond by saying, “Where’s Honduras?”
Yeah, that’s true. Not many people know where the country is! It’s a problem. I don’t understand why. I don’t know if it’s bad luck or what. The people outside the country know of all the bad things, the violence the drugs and everything. But the people are good, they are not violent. The politicians are bad.

We as people are not poor. We have so much here, but we are impoverished. The wealth of the country belongs to only ten families or so. They keep it and don’t share, so there isn’t a fair distribution of wealth. The rich don’t pay taxes so the economy suffers.

Honduras has had independence for about 200 years from the Spanish. They stole a lot, but they didn’t steal everything. We’ve had the Americans come and do their stuff, but we still have resources. We just fight amongst ourselves over it. We have the Caribbean, and we have the Pacific Ocean. And like all countries, we have a lot of mines. You know, the country does have fuel, oil and petrol, but do we hear about it? No. Because they want to keep it.

Why don’t the people know about it?
I don’t know, but I think we should know. But the people who own them don’t want to share or distribute them, especially the wealth.

Do you have any political opinions? Or are you partisian to one political party?
No. The two main parties, Liberal and Nacional, used to be the same party. They separated, but they are both conservative, right-wing parties. When “el golpe del estado” (political coup) happened back in 2009, I believe both parties wanted it, even though Mel Zelaya was leader of the Liberal Party. It was because Mel Zelaya was becoming too left-wing for their right-wing ideas. Out of the coup came the Resistencia and the Libre party, who have challenged what happened with Mel Zelaya, and they protest about what’s happening here. I suppose I have more sympathy for them, but I don’t really have contact with them.

The Liberal party are supposed to be the left-wing party, but they are both right-wing. The two parties want to repress people. They believe in military. They want right-wing and religious politics, with capitialism. They don’t care about the town. They hold people back.

The church has a lot of influence in Honduras. There are a lot of fundamentalists. Religion and politics are mixed here. They want people to believe that they need religion, especially the poor people. They dictate people what to do and what to think, and feel they must rely on religion. For example, they will tell people to get a credit card to be rich, which is dangerous, as well as other ideas. They are rich people. They support capitialism, because it is self-serving. They don’t want things to change, because they are happy how it is. It is to their convenience.

I believe everyone has a right to education and a right to work. However, the rich don’t pay their taxes, so the poverty grows.

Do you pay your taxes?
Hahaha. Yes. It’s about 20% of my earnings, more or less.

What three things do you like about Honduras?
I like the geography: the coasts, the mountains and landscapes. I like the climate. And I like the people. The people are good people. They are humble, kind, friendly. They are not violent, like the press say.

And conversely, what three things do you dislike?
The social injustice. I think the people are very conservative. And the country is being left behind culturally.

How do you mean?
People don’t read here. If they do, it’s newspapers, El Heraldo or El Diez or whatever, which is rubbish. It’s awful. They read bad things about their country all day and believe everything the church tells them. They don’t read books, they don’t educate themselves. They prefer comics. They don’t think outside the box. For example, they look at you and think you’re gringos straight away. They think you have money and don’t ask any more questions.

Is it like this in other developing countries?
I don’t know. But it’s what happens here.

What other countries have you been to?
Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica. I’ve never been outside these countries. San Pedro Sula, in my opinion, is the most beautiful city in Central America. The most ugly? Probably Tegucigalpa!

Wow, you speak good English for someone who has never been to an English-speaking country.
Thank you. I studied it at university. I also teach it sometimes in my job, so I use it a lot.

You told me before the interview that you have been working with Alternativas Y Oportunidades for one and a half years. What were you doing before that?
Many things. I’ve been a mechanic, electrician with IBM, working with teles, I worked for Clarion Hotel, I had my own business. To be honest, this job is a big change, because I am working with people. I am used to working with machines. Machines are easier to work with. They are more predictable. With people, they are different and there is no manual on how to fix them!

I was fired from Clarion Hotel and they gave severance pay. With the money, along with a loan from the bank, I set up a machinery business in San Isidro Market in Comayaguela, but the market burned down about a year and a half ago –

About the same time you had your first child.
Yeah. Things were bad. I’d worked so much for this business and it was gone in one night. I was kind of lucky, though. Through the market trade, I had a friend who worked for Alternativas Y Oportunidades, she helped me out, and I got a job quite quickly. I enjoy it. The problem is, I have to pay back the bank loan but I have no money. I don’t know what they can do. They can put me in jail if they want. But I have nothing to pay them back with.

Tell me more about Alternativas Y Oportunidades. I know they work in the markets but I don’t know much more than that.
It’s not just with the markets. We work with kids at social risk, from many poor families and neighbourhoods, who have to go to work to help support their families, and balance it with going to school. We have contact with about 1,600 kids, and we help educate them, getting books and uniforms and stuff they need.

In primary and secondary education in Honduras, they are supposed to get this stuff for free from the government. It’s not true. The kids and their parents have to pay for it, and it’s expensive, especially with inflation. The schools don’t pay for it, so we help them out.

We also help mothers set up micro-businesses in the markets. I teach the kids stuff like physics, sciences, English, Spanish, life-skills. They don’t always get this at school. I try to help them find ways of balancing their work and study, listening to them, seeing what skills and talents they have. It’s not easy for them. I try to find opportunities for them. I like it when they come to me and ask me questions, ask for my help; that’s one way the youth can help themselves. Honduras is a young nation. It needs to educate itself.

The organisation also has health workshops to teach about HIV and AIDS, and cultural activities, such as dances and painting. It keeps kids a chance, away from gangs, drugs and violence.

The thing that annoys me is that the children don’t sit still! They have short attention-span and get bored easily. You have to constantly motivate them. I work better with machines. It’s always busy, always something to do, we never stop. We get funds from the Canadian Rotary Club, and they then send the money to the Honduran Rotary Club, and then they choose what we get. It’s hard, as we have to account for every little thing we spend, and it can be hard to manage. We get lots of visits, but we are grateful for the money, especially in the global financial crisis.

I’m looking for another job, something to do with machines. I need the money, but I enjoy the job.

Is the neighbourhood dangerous where you live?
No. We live wire around the neighbourhood. It has walls; people can’t get in. There’s a saying here, “We’re living in a cage”!

You seem to have had many jobs, and many different experiences in life. Has there been one that has changed your life?
Yes, on July 5th 1990. It was three days before the soccer World Cup final between West Germany and Argentina in Italy. I was coming out the stadium here in Tegucigalpa after watching Honduras against El Salvador, when one bullet came flying out of nowhere, a 9mm bullet, and it struck me here (points to a scar on the left side of his throat). I didn’t know who fired it. I think it was the military, but it wasn’t on purpose. Just a stray bullet and it hit me, there were thousands of people there. I felt something warm in my throat, and it took a couple of seconds to realise I had been shot. I remember it clearly. I was rushed to hospital, where I spent 10 days. Afterwards, my mother and brother helped me. They supported me so, so much. I am still affected by it. My right arm was paralysed. It’s still numb. I can’t feel it. I can use it, but I can’t use my hand too well.

I felt useless after it happened. I didn’t know what I was going to do for work. I had no confidence. As I said, it was my family who helped me get myself together, who helped me through it. It taught me that the family is the most important to me.

What was your dream when you were young?
To be a mechanical engineer, but I wasn’t disciplined enough. I didn’t want to put in the effort with the mathematics. I wasn’t motivated when I was young.

What’s your dream now?
To support my family, and find a better job.

To see more about Alternativas y Oportunidades, see this link:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alternativas-y-Oportunidades/144919902226932?sk=info#!/pages/Alternativas-y-Oportunidades/144919902226932

http://www.coneanfo.org/?art=1178&title=Alternativas%20y%20Oportunidades,%20AYO&lang=es


G Project – Casa Domingo

Hola todos

Last week, I assisted Casa Domingo enter a competition with the chance to win $25,000, along with a trip to fellow Central American country, Costa Rica. This $25,000 is very much needed, as the charity had it’s funding cut in 2012.

I’ve written about the organisation before. It supports youths coming off the street and reintegrate with society. They are mostly older youths, who have been let down by the poor social service infrastructure and indifference from society and the community or family they were in. Many have been abused, leading them to survive on the street, and sometimes turn to a life of crime. The aim is to make them functioning members of society, helping them with drug rehabitation, finding accommodation, giving them life-skills, education, work skills, micro businesses, family rehabitation, and a place they can turn to in an hour of need. There are very few or more or less no organisations that cater for this meta group, who properly rehabitate these guys. I have met them many times and they are great lads, like those in Casa Alianza, have been let down and they are making an effort to regather their lives. The organisation has supported over 250 youths, fantastic considering it hires no more than two or three staff.

What we really need is your vote. You might need to log on and register with the website, but it should take no more than a few seconds. You can find a link below. Please do it! It would be of great benefit to this organisation, which is a necesity in the reintegration of street youths. Once you log on to the website, just have a look at some of the comments of the people who have visited and what they say! It is a truely dynamic project. I’ve visited a few projects in Honduras now, and there is really nothing like it. Please vote!

http://www.thisisyourplanet.com/ideas/community/281?g=vote

Just to add, there were a couple of lads in the project, Carlos and Luis, who have tried there luck and head off to USA. I have contact with them and they are in Mexico, getting money together to make that final leap. It is well documented about the dangerous USA/Mexico border, and I have documented this a few times on my blog, especially with the film, Which Way Home and Tren de Muerte.

I knew Carlos better than Luis, to be honest. I knew Carlos from his time in Casa Alianza, so we clicked quite well when I saw he had joined Casa Domingo. He had problems with marujana and was working hard, with Casa Domingo, to kick the habit. He was doing very well, and I could see him progressing. We often used to chat about overcoming depression, setting objectives and having aims in life. He spoke quite quickly so I wasn’t always able to understand what he was saying, but he was always quirky, interesting and helpful, finding taxis and buses if ever I needed them. I remember he saw my tattoo, Nunca Te Rindas (Never Give Up), which inspired him to get the same tattoo on his hand, next time I saw him. This wasn’t my intention at all for him to do this, but just to feel inspired and not to give up on his goals. But I suppose we will forever be tattoo buddies.

His goal, with Luis, is to get to USA. So, if he’s reading this, “Carlos, nunca te rindas! Y cuidate, compe!”


Teaching

Hola todos

I know I recently said that I will be including Honduran voices on my blog. Like I said in the previous post, I’m waiting on a few interviews, and they will be uploaded as soon as possible.

I recently had an interview at the Macris School in the El Sitio neighbourhood, on the way to Santa Lucia. It’s a Catholic bilingual school, fantastic location surrounded by lush green hills. Apparently in the morning there’s a refreshing mist that coats the place, giving the area a mysterious edge.

I put together a model class about how to write a poem about the sea, which I think went down well. I have to wait and see if I am successful or not. The kids were about 13-14 years old, some of them read there material at the end of the class. They have been reading Tolkien so they were impressed to know I was brought up close to where Tolkien grew up. To give them ideas for their poem, I sang Octopus’ Garden, the Beatles song, which you can hear, see or sing along to below, and maybe crack some window panes with your awful voices. It’s a song my mother used to sing to me when I was small, and it’s also one that Noel Gallagher often sings a few lines to at the end of the song Whatever, when he sings it live.

Before that though, for any teachers reading this, especially those who teach English as a second language, I would like to introduce to Emma Lay’s blog, Keep It Real ELT. She is a fellow Brummie, who has been teaching a for a few years now and she writes a blog about different methods and styles of teaching, which you might find useful. She helped on my poetry night to raise money to come to Honduras three years ago or so. Take a look here: http://keepitrealemma.wordpress.com/about-this-blog/

Now here’s one for the karaoke freaks. Give it some, Ringo!


Lightning strikes

Hi all

As the summer turns into a hot rainy season, we are getting hot and cold fronts clashing on a frequent basis producing some quite spectacular loud, bright and soaking storms. The picture below was a week or so ago and produced a small flood in the apartment. When these storms strike, the rain literally falls in sideways with the wind, and it’s a drenching that we don’t really get in the UK, which is just grey, slow, damp, miserable and boring for 11 months of the year. Here, you literally could have more chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery: much, much, much more of a chance! It was literally above over heads, and when it thunders, it sounds as though someone is dropping something extremely heavy on the roof, like large rocks or trucks, or trucks with large rocks. I think the picture is of Lomo Linda, which is the next neighbourhood to mine, so the photographer could well have been taking this picture from the same very street without me knowing. Just to calm my mother’s nerves, I was not gripping anything metal during the storm. It has brought a few mosquitos, so if elecricity doesn’t knock me down, maybe dengue will!

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Pam’s Birthday

Hi everyone

Recently I told you I was reshaping the blog to make it more Honduran, with Honduran opinions, rather than my own. I have a few interviews on the way (three over the weekend), though I have been quite busy so I have not been able to do as much as I would have liked.

Even though it passed by on the 6th May, which was Monday, Pamela had her birthday. as well, of course, with her twin sister Dennisse. I took Pamela to a spa in the Hotel Marriott: very nice if you don’t know it. Pamela celebrated it by falling over and cutting her knee unfortunately. It’s belated on my blog, but I would like to dedicate a song, because I love her very much. Because my niece Ella and I like to call her Pocahontas (I think Pocahontas was more Native American than Central American but I am allowing myself to be completely ignorant for the pure joy of winding Pamela up), I am dedicating her a song by that name. So take it away, Neil Young!