“Ni modo”

Dear readers,

I have been extremely busy of late with work and wedding plans that I have not been able to do much for my blog, which I must apologise to followers.

We will be sending invitations out soon to family and friends. The civic ceremony takes place on 23rd July, then two days later will be the Catholic ceremony.

I have been reading an interesting book of late by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers which is about how success has more factors than just good luck and a bit of graft. It talks about life lessons, how success and opportunities come to those being, kind of, right place at the right time, culture features that affect our personalities and character traits (and how it can conflict with others (and boy do I know a bit about that) especially in communication and society hierarchies), when and where we were born, educational inheritance from our parents, as well the clichéd, commitment and dedication, and hours of practice and self education. It’s not based so much on our IQ, but how we use our intellects, our attitude and how we go about things. Sometimes we make big and little decisions that have huge impacts on our level of success.

It’s very inspirational. I do recommend it. I wouldn’t call it self-help, but it has helped me to think of my attitude. It also made me think of how my attitude fits into Honduran society, how even today after three or more years living here that my thoughts and values clash. Punctuality for example, expecting people to be on time, when there is far less importance on it (I’m sorry Hondurans and Latinos, but it is a huge flaw in your culture), but also a willingness to try something new. It’s a traditional culture; people are happy with it. Creativity isn’t always appreciated (but that doesn’t apply to many Hondurans, I must add). I like to push ahead with things. It’s a kind of Brummie attitude. We don’t hold back. We get on with it. Here though, if people aren’t on board with it, they will block you. I don’t know if it’s through cultural inheritance from having past dictatorships, but being halted and having a no attitude does not help Honduran society.

Another thing which I clash with are people’s feelings. In the UK, we say it as it is. We, or I, don’t mind criticism. Constructive criticism on well found observations and facts, of course. The same goes for compliments. I don’t see it in Honduras as much. I consider it a guide. I don’t always get that in Honduras and I end up learning the hard way. Whenever I have a criticism of someone or something, many Hondurans take it to heart (they don’t tell me. I just become known as the rude Brit) and they feel attacked. I get the feeling I ruffle too many feathers, but they don’t let me know how I upset their plummage. I have to guess, through a labrinith of hidden clues. It’s a very high powered society, where in hierarchies people talk up and down to each other. I feel in the UK, it is more level, we speak with open dialogue and there is less significance about someone’s position. Not in all sectors, but in many.

To praise Hondurans though, I admire their graft. They work for long, long hours without moaning (though it might have something to do with being passive), especially the elders. Younger people should not lose that value. I’ve seen that a little, unfortunately. But on the most part, they work harder than us Brits, who will whinge after a while. Me included.

Another thing, Hondurans are smart. They are very good mathematicians. The public education system does not benefit those who are smart, but I can see it in the creativity and ability. What Hondurans need is to follow through, not let criticism act as a blockade and to eradicate the ni modo attitude, much like the C’est La Vie attitude laid down by the bleedin’ French!! They are weighted words. In a few moments I am going to include a Facebook status that I wrote last week. Before that though, I must say that there are criticisms through frustration, but more so through observation. Please do not be offended, and enjoy Honduran Thanksgiving.

“Ni modo”. They are two of the most destructive words in the Spanish language. It kind of means “never mind”, but it has an apathetic attitude. It is a phrase used to accept situations for what they are and not to want or care about change. They don’t question or think about overcoming barriers. It smells of lathargy and pessimism. I have a “can do” attitude, with rationality. I don’t like to hear “ni modo”. They are not useful words to me. Unfortunately they are words that I hear a little too often everyday in Honduras. I believe it is something in the psyche and a stumbling block for Honduras. Please use “se puede” in front of me. Thank you.

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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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