Latin America

Dear all,

I keep doing this. I keep going cold for months then coming back and doing a few updates and then disappearing again. The last time I wrote I had just started at Dowal School as a librarian, where I’m still at and I suppose I’m still settling into the role, getting used to the discipline and working with mainly wealthy kids who aren’t fond of reading. Not all mind. There are plenty of readers, but Hondurans don’t have a great appetite for it, which I’ve mentioned before, and it’s a great shame. There are several shelves of books gathering dust written by Hondurans. Mr Anariba, the Spanish teacher, is actually a writer. A former student at the school wrote a book last year and there is a very good poets currently, so Catrachos can definitely write, but the habit for reading isn’t there, maybe lost through dictatorships and oppressive governments trying to cut down on critical literature, or it could just be a cultural thing.

Much of my role is promoting literature and events, but it’s a fast paced school where activities change quickly so it often involves being alert to all sorts. I’ve restarted the book club although students have been preoccupied with other activities, but we did make a fwir whack from a valentine’s day ‘shoot the hoops’ activity where students took basketball shots to win prizes. I’ve also done some interesting bulletin boards where students can write their new years reading resolution on a post it note. I did the below ones this week.

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High school students often comment that they always seem to see me with some scissors in hand! I swear, I wake up in cold sweats thinking about how I’m going to design the next damn one! Not really the think to lose sleep over but it happens.

Another project that I’ve started (or restarted) is EEKK time (Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee), which is where parents come in to read with the preschoolers. We have decided to extend the invitation to grandparents, as my mum’s school often did this, grandparents have more time and have more interesting stories to tell. They throw all their wisdom into it too, which is great for the kids. They also command respect, which makes the kids a bit more wary about what they are saying and doing.

The discipline is still something I’m getting used to. I have to look after the teacher’s kids at the end of the day; a killer on the energy, especially when managing a room of kids of different ages, often excited and hyped on sugar. Silence and libraries are two words that don’t belong in the same sentence for them! Some are cheeky, but I suppose it’s karma, because I was a git at school as well. But on the most part, they’re pretty cool kids, many just going through their angsty years. A confusing period of life.

One nice thing was being given a turkey for Christmas by the school. Not having an oven was an issue, but I cooked it on 24th December at Pamela’s grandparents house under the watchful eye of her granny and the great help of her cousin Alejandra. It ended up being eaten at 11 @ night due to people turning the oven right down when I wasn’t looking.  An interesting ingredient for the stuffing (also very tropical); pineapple. I messed up the spuds by putting them in too much oil, but the family loved them and even asked for the recipe!

In terms of literature, I’m currently running three books. One is Port Mungo by English writer Patrick McGrath, partly set in Honduras, although it’s not particularly pleasant or focuses much on the country. The second book is Aseop’s Fables, to wisen myself, if ever one can. The last, and definitely not least, is Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano, a brilliant book about Latin America (as you might have guessed from the title), talking about the early plundering of the Europeans and then later the yanks, and how it affects the mentality and culture of the millions that stretch right from the Mexican border with USA to the Tierra de Fuego tip of Argentina in the Southern Atlantic. One fucking big stretch of land, not to forget the beautiful Caribbean Islands near the top of it. Poetically written with gusto and angst in rich vocabulary. I recommend you read it with a bottle of red (preferably a Latín American one) and plantain chips close. It’s an important book for Latin Americans, whichever your political or religious beliefs or nationality. To finish off this post, it seems fitting to include a certain Calle 13 song, conveniently called Latinoamérica. I might have included it before, although the lyrics are so powerful and vibrant that they deserve another airing.
http:// http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DkFJE8ZdeG8

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About Nicholas Rogers

I am an English journalist/copywriter living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and I have been here since 2011. I originally came to work with Casa Alianza, which supports street kids and vulnerable youths. I then stayed on, after meeting Pamela Cruz Lozano, who calls me her adopted Catracho. I work freelance journalism and I have my own translation business. Why did I come here? For the challenge, to open my mind and get out of my comfort zone. I love literature and I've written a book with street kids. I write novels, short stories and poetry, all of which you will find on this blog, as well as a lot of information about Honduras. View all posts by Nicholas Rogers

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