Monthly Archives: June 2013

Nelly Nuñez – Part Two

Dear all

Sorry that part two of this instalment has been delayed for such a long time. I have been running around like a headless chicken trying to get my documents for immigration sorted. It seems, with some solicitors in Honduras, it’s YOU who has to advise, and then YOU get charged for it. This seems very unfair. Of course it is. I’m not going mad. Of course, it’s crazily unfair. But it seems that’s how it is with some lawyers here. It’s caused me a lot to think about, a lot to be angry about, a lot of pricking into a voodoo doll with a sharp knife with. Anyway, it seems the documents have been handed in to immigration and I’m just waiting for the call. One good thing; the translations department at the supreme courts are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They corrected some of my translations free of charge and did it all from my USB stick, saving me from going home and coming back another day. I will be doing some traveling through Honduras in July, which I can’t wait for.

Here we have it, the second part of Nelly’s interview. Enjoy!

What’s life like back in Choluteca?

Well, I’ve not lived there since the early 1990s. And whenever I do back, it’s just for a few days because of work and my studies. I’m studying psychology, which is very demanding, but I should be going next week. The first time in a long time.

However, when I lived there, I liked it. It was nice and pleasant. Safe. Before my father met my mother, he had two children. All my family went to the same school, cousins, brothers and sisters, everyone, so I spent a lot of time around them. My parents loved me. They were great to me. My parents, like I said, have always been very active in the community, especially through the church. Whenever there was a problem, they took a leading role. My father has lots of different roles and talents. He’s been a mechanic and worked in dentistry. Now he takes on a political role. It’s for survival.

What was it like growing up in the 80s with the military?

Well, Honduras now is very different to Honduras then. There wasn’t the same problems we have now. It was a safer place on the whole. There’s a lot of corruption and crime now. I’m not saying there has never been those two things, but the military never bothered me. The education was different. It was more conservative. It was more based on values. It is more open now. They don’t teach those same values as much.

What’s it like for a woman living in Honduras? Do you feel there is discrimination towards women here?

I like to use the image of a slave, for many women, who live and work for the man. I’m not like that and never will do. If I were in a relationship where the man tried to control me, I would get out of it straightaway. Ever since I was young I was young, I would go to community meetings my father was at and speak up if there was something discriminative being said. I was powerful and it made me angry if some men didn’t respect women. I feel wary to speak up now. It can be dangerous. I feel scared sometimes. Men don’t like being told what to do. There is definitely a hierarchy here. As I said though, I don’t want to be told what to say or do in a relationship. I like to be free to make my own decisions. I want to visit Italy and Germany, to learn for myself, to see a different culture.

What do you like about Honduras?

The people; they are very sincere and want you to feel at home.

I always like to say that, if you were to do a year long photography project in Honduras about all it’s beauty, you could go to so many provinces, see so much beautiful things, but still miss so much. We have outstanding beauty here. People tend to focus on the bad things, but there is so, so much more to Honduras than that.

And the final question, what do you dislike about Honduras?

I don’t like politicians here. I have no political preference. I don’t think the
Nationalists are any better or worse than the parties on the left. I’m not
anything here. There people of Honduras are good people, but they sometimes they have had intentions. And the corruption has a negative impact on the rest of the country. And because of the nature of Hondurans, we let it happen, and vote in the same people. The people in Honduras are some of the nicest, but many people, especially those at the top, do not want this country to change.

Thank you Nelly!

You’re welcome!

Advertisements

One link to inspire writing, another for David Cameron and one more for Ed Miliband

Hi all

  • To inspire my own writing, I saw this following website which is brilliant for writers who, as they say in Honduras, “tienen hueva” – a way of saying, “Can’t be arsed!” It includes many quotes from famous writers who have spoken in the past about how they picked up writing habits and routines. So, if you are budding writer, use this to eliminate the “hueva”. 

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/20/daily-routines-writers/

  • Another website to bring to your attention, which was brought to my own attention by my good old Manc chum Jordan Kenny, is a satirical website about David Cameron, UK’s current Prime Minister, trying to relate to today’s working class. I felt it must be included. It gave me the chuckles.

http://davidcameronpretendingtobecommon.tumblr.com/page/3

  • To try to be fair politically, I feel I must add something about Ed Miliband. I do not like David Cameron, but this interesting little rant is about how he has truely lost any direction, in respect to the Labour Party values. He is cut from the same cloth as Tory politicians, and I hope he stands down when he loses the next election, and the Labour Party go back to their true selves with a proper, stronger leader. Have a look. It’s charmingly called “Ed Miliband fuck off”.

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/ed-miliband-fuck-off/

 

 

 

 


Nelly Nuñez

Hola a todos

I couple of weeks ago, when thinking about some of the interviews I have conducted with Catrachos, I realised there was a bit of an imbalance of opinion. Not in terms of social class or political opinion, but in a sector a bit more obvious. GENDER! I hadn’t, as of yet, interviewed any women. Maybe through living in Honduras has made me more “machista”, but if it has, it is purely subconscious, or more so, done without thought. In many ways, women still do not have the same level of power as men in Honduras. I will try to level it out in my blog a little bit more.

I will start by presenting Nelly, who I worked with at Casa Alianza, a member of staff who I have a lot of time and respect for. When I was having problems with, let’s say, some difficult people in Casa Alianza, she did comprehend what I was going through and understood why volunteers didn’t feel valued by certain people in Casa Alianza. She is also fantastic with the kids. Absolutely brilliant. She’s not one for just sitting down and doing nothing with the kids, but she gets them involved in art, activities, games, talking to them on a level ground, which I could see made the kids respect her more than some of the other workers. She had a good therapeutic way of chatting and reasoning with them, understanding where they were coming from, but what ways they can progress in a positive way. It was very encouraging to see, and to me she symbolised someone who had vast experience and knowledge of how to work with street kids and disadvantaged youths. In many ways, she was an inspiration for me, not just a friend. During the writing of the book, she told me techniques of asking them questions on very sensitive subjects, and ways in which they might try to manipulate answers and lie. We also speak a few words of Italian to each other every time we meet. It very rarely gets past, “Como stai?” and “Monte bene” or “Bonjourno”, but it’s fun to do, especially to see the kids’ confused faces. So, I decided she would be perfect for an interview. She agreed to it, we met in the food hall above a bizarre little shopping centre in the centre of Tegucigalpa, and this is what we talked about. Just to let all you know, she was also rewarded with a bar of Cadbury’s Chocolate.

Nelly Nuñez

DSCF6843

 

Name: Nelly Nuñez

Age: 37

From: San Jose, Choluteca

Lives: Kenedy, Tegucigalpa

Works at: Casa Alianza

When did you move to Tegucigalpa? And why?

In 1992. I was 15 years old. It was through my cousin, who knew of a project set up by Canadians, called Jovenes en Frontera, which is through the local Catholic Church. I was leading one of the teams, and we would go to different places around Honduras, meeting children who needed help. It was excellent experience for me and lead me into this line of work. I did that until I was 23, when the leaders of the project decided to return to Canada. They were getting older and felt it was time to close the project. It eight years I worked with them. It was very good for me.

What do you go on to do?

I wanted to get my Bachelor qualification (a bit like a secondary school/university college qualification) I studied and worked. I worked for an events company, and I also sold countryside-based products at the market. That lasted two or three years.

What inspired you to work at Casa Alianza?

Two or three things really. First of all, part of my qualification meant I had to do some work experience in a place to do work social work. I worked for three months in Querebines, which works with exploited girls. Then a few weeks later, there was an opportunity to work and they called me to offer me the job, which I of course accepted, and I am still there now.

When was this?

In 2004, nine years ago.

Wow, a long time.

Yes. But I like it.

The other reasons I was inspired to work there was my experience working with disadvantaged youths with the Catholic Church. I knew what I was doing. I had the know-how, and that inspired me to continue working in this sector.

Another reason, which is more about me and who I am, is through my parents. I am from a town where my parents take on the role of community leaders. They help out in any way they can. If someone is ill in the town, they make sure that they are there right away and that a doctor is called. If there is a problem, they try to solve it. I grew seeing this, observing them, so I guess this quality was passed on to me. It definitely inspired me to work with people less fortunate than myself. But in a more profound way.

What impresses you most about the kids in Casa Alianza?

Their speed and ability to adapt from one extreme situation to another. They come off the street or from a difficult situation in their home, where they have seen things, been abused or taken drugs, then they come to Casa Alianza, which is loud, exciting, but can be quite daunting, and start making friends and getting involved with activities straight away. This always impresses me. Then, despite their problems, they have their goals, they build on their hope to succeed, they do their best to change their situation, they are generous, kind, and good people. Sometimes they seem, or are, badly behaved. But deep down they are nice human beings, and people don’t always see that. They see them as poor people, or people connected with gangs. But they are good people. And that is often forgotten. They are also very intelligent. When they have their goals, they just go for it. It’s incredible to see, and a very proud moment, as well.

One of the great things about Casa Alianza is that it gives children the chance to succeed. It provides them with the basic things to succeed and claim their goals, such as the opportunity to go to school or college, the things they will need and the support.

I remember one boy who came to Casa Alianza. He was there because his family were very poor and couldn’t look after him. He came in malnourished. After a while, he started at school, completed his secondary studies. Then he went on to study accounting while working, which he completed at university. He is now has his own organisation, and has worked in banks. I sometimes see him. An incredible story of success.

There was a girl, who also came to Casa Alianza because she was from a poor family and was finding it hard to settle into things in Casa Alianza. As soon as she was, she did a course to work in a salon. She worked really hard, and then managed to find a job which moved her to Spain.

There are other stories, who have learned to play musical instruments and have been to Germany to meet important politicians, or kids who are in dancing groups who have done events in Copan Ruinas and projects all over the country. It’s so good to see, especially seeing what they come from and where they go to. Sometimes, there is no stopping them!

Now I have asked that, you can imagine what I am going to ask next.

What least impresses me about the kids?

Yeah, more or less, what frustrates you most?

Some times, you can get a kid who has done well for weeks or months, to come off drugs, to behave well, to start school or college, and then they blow it all by taking a drugs one day or doing some thing daft. That really frustrates me. It’s sad to see, because you can see so much potential in the kids, but they don’t.

Another thing is that the kids don’t always help themselves to opportunities that present themselves. It’s because they have had an unstable time and they fear change. By trying out new things, they feel they may be let down again or it will all go all wrong.  Again, it’s a shame, because they had built a negative mentality through bad things happening to them, and it is so hard to break that negative mentality. The system can’t change that. The individual has to. The individual has to learn that there is an opportunity to take advantage of, but they are just to afraid to take it. They need to learn how to push on forwards.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . . .


Joselino Rivera – part two

Dear all

I finished the last update when we two-thirds through the interview, and about two and a half beers good, so some of my notes do not make too much sense and have a lot of scribble going back through them.

Anyway, here it is!

What do you like most about your country?

It’s cheap. You can get great value for your money. For example, you can go out and have a fantastic steak meal for $20, you can buy a beer for $1.5o (30-35 Lempiras). How much does it cost in England?

Depends on where you go. In London, I imagine it’s no less than four quid, maybe five (120 to 150 Lempiras).

Wow. That is a lot. I have a friend from the US, who works as a CO for an important international  institution. He makes $10, 000 a month and has a house in Switzerland. He must have the time of his life here. Life would be so easy. He can do whatever he wants, so cheaply for him.

Another thing is that we have a good climate, so we have good beaches in the Caribbean and Pacific. There is plenty of sun and plenty of rain so we can grow lots of food. There are many vast areas of unspoilt land, such as the Mosquitia, which is the second biggest jungle after the Amazon in America, and the biggest in Central America. I read in the newspaper a few days ago that American scientists believe that they have found a giant, ancient hidden city while flying over the Mosquitia Jungle, which is supposed to be bigger than Copan. They are very excited about this, as they don’t know who this city belonged to. It could be a great thing for this country.

Something else I like is the people. They are kind, simple, evolution hasn’t evolved them yet. They are mainly honest, nice people.

But they can have two sides.

On that note, it’s a good time to move on to the next question, and I bet you kind of know what I’m going to ask: what don’t you like about Honduras? Or maybe it’s slightly better to say, in what ways can Honduras improve?

We have a few problems, but what we need is better developing centres, schools and colleges to improve. Honduras is a young country, many young people, who do not have the access to education. We have high illiteracy levels. We need more people with a good education. We need people to learn! We need to improve technology and services in the country, develop the infrastructure, better roads, communications, transportation systems.

The corruption here – it is incredible – we have gold mines, water resources – more than the rest of Central America, we have good fertile lands, perfect for growing coffee and other crops – many natural resources. So why are there so many poor people? Because of government corruption! Look at the countries that produce oil. Venezuela, for example. It is a produce of the country. It should be belong to the country – the people of the country – it doesn’t reach them. It’s an imbalanced system. Only a small minority of people of the country are rich. The majority are the poor and starve. But this is not just the fault of the government. There are other factors too. Just look at the recent history of Honduras. We have an election every four years. We vote for the same people and we have the same problems. Nothing changes.

You have pointed out education and corruption as two big problems in Honduras, which affects most of Latin America, I believe. The two things are very interlinked.

Yes, and I believe it is more of a problem here than Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. And yes, corruption affects other things. Not just education. The police, health, business. But there is something else about Hondurans which holds the country back.

I remember working with a group of campesinos. There was about 50 hectares of land that could be used for growing and selling crops at the local markets. They were not making best use of the land and the water conservation system was not very good. There was a river running nearby. I designed a structure that would help them retrieve water from the river and use it effectively. We applied unsuccessfully for government funds, so I invested in it. The labour costs, the manufacturing costs, everything. But once it was made, they still didn’t use it right. They didn’t take the benefit. They just expected me to do more for them. They never learned. They didn’t grow more crops and they just sat around and waited for more money, more help, without doing anything. I went to see what they were doing and I could see they were idle. I never returned. Neither do I want to. I don’t want to go into that kind of business again.

So the problem isn’t always the government, but the attitudes of the people. Sometimes in life you have to take a risk, but the problem with Hondurans that they don’t like to take risks, so they won’t progress. Things will then remain the same.

We had a government that used to give everything. Not as much now. Now we receive donations from other countries, such as North America and the EC. We are used to this mentality. It isn’t always healthy.

Look at all our crops and food. You then go to the supermarkets, and where is it from? Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua. Why? We have chocolate from Switzerland and whiskey from Scotland, electronics from US and Japan, mobile phones from I don’t know where. They are all exports from other countries. We don’t care about our own economy. Everything has changed over time. It feels like we don’t have faith in our own products. We are not competitive people. But not being competitive people, Honduras is destined to have a bleak future.

I know exactly what you mean. Especially when I was back in the UK last year. You can go into Starbucks or Costa Coffee, two big coffee shops, and they advertise products from Costa Rica, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Honduras is the biggest producer of coffee in Central America, and there were no products from Honduras on offer, which I must say, I felt a bit dismayed about. I didn’t know if it was bad marketing, or if Honduras has contacts with countries so they felt they didn’t have to tap into the British markets.

 I saw this too, in Spain.

Another thing about Honduras is high unemployment. I read that 50% of Hondurans are unemployed, or have 50% economically active jobs. Many Hondurans go to US or Spain. There are roughly the same amount of Hondurans living in Honduras as living outside, so about eight million here and eight million in other countries. This can be good as they send back money, which is needed by poor families, but it can make people idle. If that source of money goes, it is not a good situation. Half the population is also young, under the age of 18, so not everyone is employable. People need job opportunities, and there aren’t enough to go around.

Unless you’re from a well-off back ground. You have more chance than someone without an education. I am lucky. I have been successful with four jobs since I came back to Honduras. There are jobs were.

Yes, but like you say, not for people without a proper education. But even people with an education here, it is hard.

There is one thing I would like to say. Honduran people are very smart. We are clever, and when we have a chance to use your minds, we do it well. We can use our brains well. To fix things, mathematics too. We are smart. For example, Sir Salvador Moncada, he is a doctor from Honduras who was knighted in the UK for his contributions to medicine. He is married to someone from the Belgium Royal Family. Look him up.

On that note, I will finish the interview there. Thank you for your time. It was enjoyable hearing the insight’s of Joselino Rivera!

The pleasure was all mine.

At that point, we settled the bill, while Joselino’s daughter came to take us home, a couple of four-pints-to-the-good gentlemen, both of us happy having enjoyed the interview. 

I will now finish off adding one of Joselino’s favourite songs, stated in part one of the interviews, “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd.


Joselino Rivera

Hola todos

To continue with the interviews with Hondurans about Honduras, I would like to bring Joselino to the foil, who was my private student at Academia Europea. He was one of the brightest sparks in the school, and probably the brightest. I have met in my time in Honduras, with a wonderful ability for dissecting the frustrating irrationalities of the English language in a simple and clear structure, which probably most native English speakers would fail at doing. In some ways, there was a reversal of roles; I became the pupil. A great engineer and problem-solver, he is also very funny, works hard, reads a lot and does his homework, which is a joy for a teacher here in Honduras. I won’t say much more now and let him be revealed in the transcript below. The interview took place 5th June 2013 in Hotel Marriott, it took about three hours and three bottles of Port Royal beer. I enjoyed it immensely. I hope you do too.

Joselino Rivera

Name: Joselino Rivera

Job: Professor at the National Autonomous University of Honduras in Tegucigalpa, import and sells oils to supermarkets, creator of FUAMA (Fundación Amigos del Ambiente)

From: Tegucigalpa

Lives in: Tegucigalpa

Age: 45

522667_576084865740536_752082745_n

So Joselino, tell me about yourself.

Well, I was born in the centre of Tegucigalpa. Honduras was very different to how it is now. There wasn’t the violence that you see today, nor the social problems. I used to play in the streets and walk to school and nothing would happen. You could go to the park and relax, or go places with your friends and not worry. I went to the Uruguay school, which isn’t actually in Uruguay by the way. But I used to walk there when I was 7 years old and my mother wouldn’t have to worry about me. I have an older brother. He’s now a manager in Hondutel (the national telephone and electrics company). My father died when I was 7.

My gosh.

He died in the operating room. It wasn’t very consciously aware what was going on at the time. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time.

I understand. You were very young.

Yes. You know, it was a moment that marked the rest of my life. I had to take on all types of responsibility around the house and I had to grow up fast. It also meant to I had to go to work at an early age. My mother cared for us very well. It was hard work for her. The problem came later in life, when I was a bit older. I missed a father figure.

Understandably. But I guess that it must be beautiful for you being a father for three daughters now. And you’re doing a great job, it seems, since they are all doing well at school. Then again, I suppose, without wanting to add salt to the wound, it can be painful thinking about what you missed out on by not having a father figure from a young age.

Yes, I guess so.

(We then moved over to the bar and started on our first of a few beers).

Anyway, regardless, I did well at school. I learned from a young age about how to fix things and work things out. I had an analytical mind and I was good at mathematics. So I graduated from school with an accounting qualification when I was 15.

You must have grown up in the 60s and 70s then.

Yes. I used to go to parties with friends, chase girls and have fun. It was a great age. I liked listening to Bee Gees and Queen. They were really big at the time. I remember the film, with John Travolta, and the song Night Fever. It was played a lot at parties.

You told me in a class exercise that one of your favourite songs was Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd.

 Yes. Another English group!! It was at a time of many protests against the military. I was part of one.

I remember you saying. Tell me what you did after school.

Well, there were two choices: work or go to high school. As I said, I liked fixing devices and mathematics, so accounting was great for me. It was rational. Mathematics is rational. Also with accounting, it was easier to get jobs in a wide range of places, pretty much anywhere. So I got a job in Hondutel, where my brother works, when I was 15. I was there 11 years. Most of the people working with me were engineers, so it inspired me to study engineering. I saw a great future in telecommunication. However, I didn’t like it at Hondutel. There was too much corruption. To be promoted or have a high position, it wasn’t what you knew, it was who you knew. It’s like that everywhere. It was hard. Also, because the military controlled the Hondutel, they could turn the power off or listen to conversations whenever they wanted, so it was very controlling. They controlled the electricity.

What was it like living under military rule?

They were there at the time because all the countries around us were having revolutions or were at war. They were there to stop the communists. Because Honduras is in the centre of Central America, they feared revolutionists entering. They came to attack the system, but the military stopped them. The people are passive and tranquil here, but still the military killed a lot of young people. It was frightening, to an extent, because you couldn’t say anything against the military. If you did, you just disappeared. Simple. But if you left the military alone, they left you alone. But it was repressive, and it’s why the way we are today.

What impact does it have on the country today?

Because we lived in a repressed way, we were taught not to be critical or creative, it has stopped my generation from being just that: creative and critical! It repressed everything about us. We are tranquil and passive people because of it. We aren’t progressive. It has harmed us in that way, because it has slowed down the progression of our country. We need our children, this generation, to be progressive and forward thinking. If you look at Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, they are all in better economic situations than ourselves. We never had a war, but the repression has prevented us from being progressive like in those countries.

How long were you at Hondutel?

I was for 11 or 12 years. A long time. I then did my university studies and got a job at Comtelca, which was a telecommunications company that provided all the equipment to telecommunication organisations across Central America. It was a fascinating job which I enjoyed immensely. I developed a lot and I was there for five years. But then came the job as professor at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. That was in 1997. It was one of the best things that I ever did.

Why?

It’s not just the place, but the job – to inform, to teach, to educate. It is satisfying, to transmit this information, this knowledge I have learned, to develop them, young people who are eager to learn. It is a proud moment to see them get jobs; it is a feeling that only comes to those who teach, something special. I do all sorts of activities that not only take place in the classroom, but also field trips to different parts of Honduras, to see different structures and examples of good engineering. I give classes in the faculty of engineering. I give three classes; one is economic engineering, the other is system engineering, and the last is research, where the students do investigative research, such as a dissertation.

It has opened up many opportunities for me. For example, between 2003-2006, it allowed me to do a MBA at UPM – Polytechnic University of Madrid. Much of it was long distance learning, so I had many classes online and sometimes I had to be there. Madrid is an amazing city; so much to do, so much life. I really, really enjoyed it – a very important moment in life.

The only thing about this job, it pays 24, ooo Lempiras a month, which is not enough if you want to have a particular life-style, if you want to give your children a good education and live in a nice house. For example, it costs half of your salary to put your children into a bilingual school, and I believe the bilingual schools are usually the best schools in Honduras. So, this is why I do different activities.

I noticed. You’re a busy man.

Yes. I have to be.

You know, I believe I am a pioneer in internet technology in Honduras. In 1998, I started a company that brought the internet to Honduras called Cybertel. Before, no one knew anything about the internet. They were scared about it or didn’t trust it. It was hard but a great experience. I not only had to sell the product, but also the idea, that they needed the internet, that the internet was going to change the world, teaching about the benefits of the internet, trying to convince them that it was essential for business and communication. I remember having the modems and cables. Imagine Hondutel, the biggest telecommunications business in Honduras. They had all the equipment to have the internet, but they had no idea about how to use it. I had to teach them the basic things. We were one of the first internet providers in Honduras. It was a challenge, but it was an interesting time.

Imagine Hondutel, the biggest telecommunications business in Honduras. They had all the equipment to have the internet, but they had no idea about how to use it. I had to teach them the basic things. We were one of the first internet providers in Honduras. It was a challenge, but it was an interesting time.

The mistake we made was selling the products to the cable companies, because once they bought the idea, they took it and made their own company, and from there they took over.

They were great days though. It as a wonderful challenge. After the company was finished, I became an advisor, a consultant, especially for the government and their BEAT programmes, as well as things to do with the environment. I then founded the NGO.

So there you go, it is good to have different activities taking place, in case something happens, you have something else to back it up. But it also helps you lead the lifestyle that you wish to lead. But also, this is Honduras. You have to do what you can to defend yourself.

TO BE CONTINUED…..


Weddings

Hola todos

I hope you’re all well. Sorry there have been no updates in a while. Since being offered the job at Macris, I have gone in to meet the students, get a feeling for the school and see how things are run. I can’t wait to get started. I have also had to translate all my documents and certificates for immigration purposes: one of the most evil, unnecessary and boring tasks I have possibly ever done, apart from the dull job I did at the Wesleyan. That was horrific. And at Birmingham City University. Awful, awful jobs on the road to success.

Now, I know that it’s not Valentines Day, but there seems to be romance in the air as there has been a few of my friends tying the knot of late, as well as my own baby sister (I don’t know if she’ll feel patronised by saying that or extremely happy, but she is my fantastic younger sister). It’s all very life changing and final in the most beautiful of ways: quite emotional seeing friends moving on with their lives, starting families and finding happiness. It might seem naff and cheesy to some by saying that, but it’s a genuine and free emotion of joy. I’m dead pleased for them all. Here are some other weddings that have been taking, and soon to be taking place.

Vanesa & Eric

I have been to my second Honduran wedding, an evangelical affair, of Vanesa and Eric. Vanesa is a colleague of Pamela. I was extra hungry, meaning I had extra portions of food. And the chocolate M&Ms which should have gone to children, well….didn’t. They went to me. And I’m proud. So there. In true Honduran tradition, where the bride has to throw a bouquet for the single ladies, there was also a garter for the single lads, which I caught. So male Catracho singletons have to wait a little longer while us “conquistas” get first pickings over the ladies! Anyway, here’s a picture of us all.

10567_645338265481161_683937741_n

Matthew & Marsha

Another wedding I have failed to mention which has passed is my good friend Matthew Armitage, commonly known as Dutch Matt (not because he’s a stingy git, because he’s not, but because he is actually from Holland!), who married Marsha. They are expecting a baby any day now. Matt and myself shared a house in Preston for two years, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I struggled through university together, and eventually came out with a 2:1, with a bit of help with essay planning for a certain International Journalism assignment about Italy from my old man! I wish them the very best together. They are a lovely couple, are perfect for each other and I can’t wait to see them when I am next in Holland. Dead dirtyyyy! (This is a private joke, but that makes dead dirtyyyy seem so much worse by saying so). I wished I was there on the day. So sorry I was not. Take care the two of you x

972125_10201312033463555_571860571_n

Jorge & Sandra

I also want to wish the best to my other friends from UCLAN, Spanish George (Jorge) and Valenciana Sandra (known simply as Sandra, but I enjoy adding their nationalities for the sake of doing it. They have been together for pretty much a decade, so in true “manana manana” spirit, the paella lovers and makers are finally tying the knotin a couple of days, which again is unfortunate that I cannot be there, but I very much wish I could. I will be there in spirit and I will be speaking Spanish from “el pais patria” to celebrate the great day, rather than the Central American sort I’ve been picking up on here, which I will include something on shortly. This lovely couple, in some ways, inspired me to be where I am today. They helped teach me the basics (and in Jorge’s case, all the rude stuff) in Spanish, put a little pressure on my and motivated me to learn the great romantic tongue, spoken by I don’t know how many million people. If it weren’t for them, I daresay I might not be in Honduras today, which might be a plus or a minus for many Hondurans. Asi chicos, os quiero mucho, lo siento que no voy a estar alli, pero te mando muchos abrazos, mucha suerte y deseo muchas felices x

82_6601495514_1863_n

Continuing on from the Honduran Spanish thing, I have come across a dictionary and phrase book on Kindle, from Honduran Spanish to English, which is one of the best books ever, especially as trying to decipher what the f–k some people are going on about here. Sometimes it feels that some people just refuse to pronounce words properly, and while Pamela makes jokes about my English pronunciation of some Spanish words which contain double r, at least I do try to pronounce the word in full, in stead of an incomprehensable shortened version, that even give some Spanish people I know problems. I am still used to Spanish from Spain, especially living with Nacho and having lived in Madrid and Seville, which makes it refreshing to hear words like “vale”, “de puta madre” and “z pronounced like a z and not a c”. Anyway, to my English speaking friends here, I recommend you get this book on your Kindle (if you don’t have one, just download the kindle programme to your computer). It unknots some of the knots in this confusingly knotted knot of Spanish.

41nfNiVhJ8L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-66,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_

There is a song that I would like to dedicate to Dutch Matt, a song that we used to motivate us while doing last minute assignments in the UCLAN Library. Headlines from History, Approaches to Journalism and Journalism Law come to mind. It is a cheesy song, but then again, we are cheesy people, so who cares. It’s All Night Long, by Lionel Richie. I suppose I could dedicate to the night of the wedding for the newly married couples, but that is a bit, well, strange and grotesque to say. But f–k it, I’m gonna do it anyway!