I haven’t yet announced it, and the only reason I’ve not is because I’ve been a wee bit busy and distracted by the circus surrounding the elections and immigration things, that I am the new librarian at Dowal School in Tegucigalpa. I’ve already had a couple of weeks in the job, which has so far largely been counting books and doing the inventory before the now former librarian, Teresa Galeano, starts her new job at BCIE (Banco Centroamérica). To her great credence, she trained me up very thoroughly and she has done some great activities and seems to have virtuous artistic talents, a keen eye for recycling whatever she can find and a magnificent attitude with the kids.
She’s also had convoys of patience while I’ve been reading out numbers during the book count (my seisentas and setentas – 60s and 70s – in Spanish can confuse people so it seems). Seeing her face when we thought there were 250 books missing was a picture, quite a shocked and furious one, though she’s been great at imparting all her knowledge about the library, given me plenty food for thought for activities and has been kind enough to bring me granitas de cafe a couple of times. I in turn have charmed her with my cocky sense of humour, brought in cake (I’ve had four different cakes for my birthday), pasta dishes, and Cadbury chocolate, though I don’t think she ate them ate the same time. At BCIE she will be an assistant to an English man, so I hope in some form that I’ve somehow prepared her for the stiff upper lip attitude, though I am not sure that I have this quality and, from what Teresa told me, he’s been in Honduras for 30 years or more, lured here by the charm and beauty of a fine Catracha lady (sound familiar?). All these years may have Hondurifed him and the stiff upper lip maybe tainted by the brown goo of refried beans in a baleada, but it does go to show that we Englishmen do hang around; a warning to Pam!
Being surrounded by so many books, education and stories is heaven to me. I have a huge thirst for knowledge, which I really should have had when I was at school myself. As well as the mountains of novels I look forward to reading, there are also nonfiction books about Honduras written by Hondurans, historical books and Honduran fables which I and I think many Hondurans never knew existed, which goes against the popular theory that Hondurans don’t write. I’ve come across a few, such as Jorge Montenegro who has written books about Honduran legends and ghost stories for kids which are sometimes read out on radio at Halloween, though I’ve been left ignorant to the majority. Maybe it’s because they’re not promoted enough or that Honduras doesn’t have a strong reading culture (though that’s something I aim to change in Dowal School, especially amongst older kids), but I sometimes think it’s a very systematic technique the government use to restrict education to ‘the people’ and leave them ignorant to their dirty deeds. I have heard many times that critical thinking is not widely taught in public schools and does not have a significant section of the curriculum that dates back to the dictatorship, which might be the reason why Hondurans come across as passive and humble, whereas neighbouring countries have had a longer history revolts and revolutionary wars in attempts to stop regimes overwhelming the people. It seems to me, having seen what’s happened in this election, Honduras lives in a dictatorship that is disguised as democracy, and the yanks let it continue, as the current regime insures capitalism continues it’s steady and overwhelming flow into the country. But who am I to speak? I’m writing this update on my new Samsung S4 Mini! I dropped my last phone in a cab, giving the unknown driver an early, exuberant and over generous early Christmas gift.
Anyway, back to the books. As well as seeing many lush books, there are always a few which have crept along upon remained on the bookshelf for years with many people missing it as their scan shelves. One of them is about buying second hand cars in Illinois in 1992, but the below one is by far the best, the most retro vintage and a sign that our times is a throwaway culture. This game will survive the years, it’s still an arcade classic, and it’s so good that it has a guide that beats any of them today. Move over Grand Theft Auto, PACMAN is here to stay!