Tag Archives: Casa Alianza

No Hay Nadie Como Tu – part seven

Dear readers,

21st July 2015

It was a Tuesday and I woke up very excited to see my cousins, while knowing the haste to the wedding was truly going to kick in, especially as the wedding decorator/planner was not answering to calls, I had all sorts of legal documents I needed for the wedding, the new job and immigration floating around my head. Stress always seems to come in twos and threes, no matter what wise men say about planning effectively ahead of time (believe me, I try to). I think it’s because there’s nothing wise about Honduran bureaucracy, or wisdom about it’s slow pace which seems to be run by lethargic devils.

There was also the predicament about my cousin’s luggage that had been left in transit at one of the airports coming from Cuba. Toncontin would be a well visited airport that day, as my uncle and aunt would be arriving as well.

Jordan, forever the gentleman, was sleeping on the sofa at myz apartment, refusing to take the bed, even though the sofa was a foot too short. I wondered about the state of his back and mind. But he seemed content. Sunshine, great coffee and cheap beer seemed a great consolation. We hopped over to Casa Bella to meet Sam. Hannah had already gone to retrieve her baggage with Pam, so I decided to be the tour guide around the city centre, which geographically isn’t the centre of the city at all, but more towards the north. We stopped off at the Galeano store in Palmira, which has made quite a stylish name for itself as a social enterprise that raises money and clothes through selling cool designed tshirts and a funky coffee shop, for children and families living in poverty in rural areas throughout Honduras. By the end of the Honduran stay, I think my family had bought enough tshirts and coffee to keep the project running for a few decades.


We then strolled into the bustling centre where we stopped off at the Iglesia Dolores, the market nearby (to try a legendary baleada) and the cathedral, but was unable to fit in MIN (Museum of National Identity).




(Photos by Jordan: used without permission)

As I had a tight itinerary and a family of hungry mouths, I took them to Cafe Paradiso, a place I’ve had quite a long affinity with. It’s a bohemian cafe, book shop and artist hangout. It’s also where I took Pamela on our first dates, where Hazel and I used to catch up and talk at length of tales and the complexities of Honduran life and where I was once chased by a dog. It is a place I knew my parents really enjoyed the first time I brought them. Artistic, green, nice food and something alternative. It has featured on my blog a few times. The family really seemed to enjoy it. Right up their alley, really.



(Photos by Jordan: used without permission)

It was here though that I had to get my legal hat on though, when I received a phone call from my lawyer to get things ready for her on the ready. I then made off to get those things done, taking a whole afternoon, while the family went back to the hotel. When I got back, my uncle and aunt had arrived, but then Pamela and I had to pretty much confront Alejandro, the wedding decorator, to find out what he was up to. Cool as a breeze, he showed us that all was pretty much set.

I don’t know what time we were finished, but the gin and tonic I felt that night was richly deserved.

22nd July 2015

I will be quite honest, I can’t remember much about this day, other than going to the mall, going to confession, buying masses of wine for the civil wedding and having to do more legal stuff.

Don’t worry, the next day I would remember quite a bit better: it would be the civil wedding day.

To be continued…



Dear readers,

The World Cup is on our doorstep, the president of FIFA (Sepp Blatter) is accusing the British media of racism and discrimination (The Sun and the Daily Mail maybe, but the Guardian and Times, I think not), even though the organisation which he has lead since 1998 has become some riddled with corruption that it sets itself on-par with Honduras’s very own congress. What an eejit! I know the British media have been heavily critical of him, and rightly so, but that’s because they have had the balls to report on scams which he claims aren’t true and is just one big ploy to bring him down. Oh the audacity, to write things about a man who was the only man to stand at the last FIFA presidential elections! I also know that the English FA have also been at loggerheads with Blatter, who aren’t angels themselves, but at least they had the balls to refuse to vote in a rigged election. I hope Honduras knocks his little Toberlone scoffing, tax avoiding, cuckoo clock making little skiers out the world cup, a so-called seeded team (it makes me choke with bemusement every time I hear it).


Talking of predictions, here is my evaluation of Honduran team on the ESPN blog. http://www.espnfc.com/team/honduras/215/blog/post/1867152/predictions-for-honduras-at-world-cup-2014. See what you think.

Second of all, here is an article regarding the “racist” newspaper the Guardian about Wilson Palacios, a Honduran player who will be vitally important to the team when Sunday comes and I have a Honduran shirt signed by the man from La Ceiba, which was out last Saturday. He says “England is wonderful”. Take that Blatter. He also talks about issues in Honduras, about how important football is for the people here, the passion and escapism, something that I have written about on the ESPN blog. http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/06/wilson-palacios-want-inspire-honduras-england-wonderful.

Here is a link to BBC3 Street Child World Cup that took place a couple of months ago. I believe that is on tv today. Here is a link via the Casa Alianza UK facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/CasaAlianzaUK?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Lastly, here is a Coldplay song, Every Tear is a Waterfall, which always puts a smile on my face. Gets me buzzing. Every football fan should be. THE WORLD CUP STARTS IN TWO DAYS!!!!

Casa Domingo (INJOCA) Graduation – Part Three

Hi all,

This is more than two weeks old, but I still think it is worthwhile adding. INJOCA (Casa Domingo) were running a salon course and a couple of weeks ago they had the graduation ceremony. It was delighted to be invited, and it was lovely to see a few of the girls I knew at Casa Alianza pass the course. Please find the pictures below. I am also including the Facebook page for you to obtain more knowledge about what the NGO do. Much of it is in Spanish, but you will understand what the organisation does and how hard they work.


I would love to add photos, as I did take quite a few, but there seems to be a problem with it right now. I will upload these at a later date.

Radio Star

Dear all,

On Thursday, my tiny slice of fame in Honduras continued. I was on ‘Nergy FM, Black ‘n’ Soul, talking about ICYE, Casa Alianza and life in Honduras, along with Norma and Lourdes (staff at ICYE) and Julia (a current volunteer from Austria), with the DJ, Carlos, who went to Germany with ICYE a few years ago. There’s a lovely comradeship at ICYE, between new and old volunteers, and Carlos was keen to promote ICYE, talk about volunteering and get volunteers in Honduras on his programme. It was good fun. There were two interviewers, one of which was Carlos, although the other was in a different room. It was quite amusing, as I couldn’t understand everything the other interviewer was saying and I couldn’t lip-read him, to try and comprehend what was being asked. Also, his questions were quite long and substantial. Sometimes I had to guess the question, so I don’t know if my answer was coherent to the question. Nonetheless, it was brilliant fun.



Before that, I was at the ICYE office being videoed as promotion for ICYE. It was also fun, talking about and remembering experiences. The recording was interrupted a couple of times due to sirens and beeping horns, thanks to Tegucigalpa’s horrendous traffic at the moment. When the video has been edited accordingly and is online, I will post it on the blog. We then had a rush to get there. It shouldn’t been a rush, but Tegucigalpa’s traffic made sure that it was.

“Cipotes” & “Culos”

Dear all,

First of all, I should apologise for the title of this update, because if you’re Spanish or Honduran (and I think from many other Latin American countries) these two words are rather offensive, but not in other parts of the Spanish-speaking world.

I have often spoken of the differences between Honduran Spanish and the Spanish which I learned in the mother country all those years ago in my blog, but today I spotted a headline in a Honduran newspaper, which wouldn’t go down well in Spain, or at least, mean something hilariously different. I will go into more detail later in this update.

First of all, it is a general belief, which I partially agree with, that Spanish from Spain is more vulgar. Yes, they do have looser tongue, especially in Seville. Not every word, though many of them, are “malas palabras”bad words – which make many people in Honduras wince. “Joder”, “gillipolla” and “coño” are examples (if you really must know what these words mean, Google them!) Maybe it’s because Hondurans are more traditional or conservative, but then amongst many Hondurans, the words “mera pija”, “hijo de puta” and “verga” – which very roughly translates as “good dick”, “son of a whore” and “dick” respectively (or ill-respectively, whichever way you see) – are used with alarming frequency. So I am not always in agreement when people say that the Spanish are the most foul speakers of this, what should be, romantic language.

When I first came to Honduras, I knew of one particular verb that I definitely should not to use. It’s quite obvious and famous to most speakers, or secondary speakers, of Spanish, but it is an amusing one to be very aware of. In Castilian Spanish, this verb means “to catch”, but throughout Latin America, it means “to fuck”. The verb is “coger”. So in Honduras, “a coger un bus o taxi” would give you some very funny looks. The Spanish brought this wonderful language to this part of the continent a few hundred years ago, but it’s strange how the meaning of words has changed over time. I’m no etymologist, but it is widely considered that North Americans still speak a type of English that still has close links to the English which the British brought over hundreds of years ago. British English has changed with style, maybe through influence from the French (i.e. adding the “u” into “colour”, when we used to say it without, is an example). Some of the vocabulary has different meanings (a faggot in Birmingham is not the same as a faggot in the US, nor is a fag), but the main difference between these types of English is intonation and accent. Many Americans love to hear British English, many believe they think it sounds as if the person speaking is intelligent (or drunk), but then many haven’t heard a Black Country accent. I’d love to see their faces whenever they do.

With the Spanish though, I wonder when the Spanish colonists came to Latin America whether the verb “coger” had a foul meaning and it has just remained that way here, then evolved into “catch” back in Spain, or if it meant “catch” when they came, and it has evolved into an expletive here. The things that interest me!

The word that I wasn’t prepared for was “culo”. I have told this story before, but it’s funny because I learned in the cruelest of ways. On my second day in Honduras, the Mormon family that I was staying with in Tatumbla asked me what I thought of regaton. When I said that I wasn’t a big fan of it, and it was just about videos with girls shaking their culos, their faces were a sight of fright and mine was a sight of confusion, but they quickly forgave me as they knew that I had learned Spanish in Spain, and they knew there was a bit of a difference in the tone of the word. In Spain, “culo” means “bum”, but in Honduras it means “arse” in the most crudest and rudest way possible, horrifying people in a way that a certain “C word” English brings distaste to British faces. Strangely, this “C word” in Spanish can be used by people when they see someone they’ve taken a shine to in a kind of colloquial way, saying things like, “¡Que culo el hombre!” I don’t understand that. All this hypocrisy! It confuses me!

With myself, it takes a few times to learn not to say certain words like this, because in private, I do like saying the odd foul word (when Lampard is playing for England, it’s not always that private!). I also have a habit of rhyming words, forming new curses, insults, jokes or phrases just for the sake of doing so, like “cara culo” – arse face – or “culos como caramelos en Cartagena en Colombia”bums like caramel in Cartagena in Colombia. Pamela is now demanding that I cut this particular word out of my daily and everyday vocabulary, especially in front of people I don’t know, but it’s going to take some time getting used to. “There’s a time and a place,” she says. I try to charm her by calling her culo as a compliment. It works like trying to fix a tv by spraying water at it and then dropping it from a great height. Don’t try it.

Another word I had an issue was with pija. This word in Spain means a posh or a snobby girl. In Honduras it means dick. When I told someone that I didn’t like a certain woman very much because I thought she was a “chica pija”, I got a very odd look in return.

As stated above, while going through La Tribuna newspaper, I saw the following headline.

"The children return home triumphant" or "The dicks return home triumphant?"

“The children return home triumphant” or “The dicks return home triumphant?”

Whereas before I was talking about the Spanish being vulgar and Hondurans being conservative and traditional with the semantics of words, this is then reversed with the word cipote. In Honduras, this is a very innocent word for “child”, but in Spain, it means “dick” in a quite vulgar way. I remember working at Casa Alianza and a girl talking about her “cipote” and being a bit confused, especially in the caring and adoring manner which she talked about it. Through explanation and context, it did come to me eventually. So, when the “cipotes return triumphant”, as it says in the newspaper, it might bring a few sniggers from Spanish readers, especially as Pamela Anderson (this Pamela was also an old flame of mine, but only to get me through the tough few years of adolescence) is positioned so conveniently on the opposite page. The headline actually refers to the Honduras under-17 team who did very well in the under-17’s world cup. Well done dicks, I mean, children.

I am including a video below which looks at the differences between Latin American Spanish and it’s mother language, through the wonderful form of Disney princes. Pamela loves Disney, she also loves princes, so she can watch this and forget her prince of a boyfriend who says “culo” a lot.

A Halloween Romance

Hi all,

I don’t know much about Halloween to be honest. We learned a little bit about the history of it at primary school, I think, but then I didn’t pay much attention to classes and was usually concentrating on playing footy at playtime. There used to be apple bobbing, fancy dress and trick or treat, but I used to get bored of the latter because they would just give us sweets when I would want to play a trick. Anyway, before 2011, I’d lost a lot of interest in it and not gone to Halloween party in years. It was dead to me, excuse the very cheesy pun.

Then, in 2011, at a Halloween party/Marlon Jav’s birthday bash at LP Bar, I met a girl named Pamela Cruz Lozano. It was a funny old night, which saw her disappear for a stretch of the night to take her friend to the hospital, which we think was a case of trapped wind. Anyway, after a few shots of tequila, we were snogging like juveniles at the witches hour. Two years on, we still haven’t stopped snogging, shamelessly, in public areas, bringing lots of embarrassed and angry glares. Yes, it’s romance, but we also do it make people barf. This latter part is all a joke by the way. However, the last two years have flown by and have been great fun.

On this bewitching night, I was dressed as the joker; Pamela as Cleopatra. An unlikely couple, you might say, but then a boy from Hall Green and a girl from Miraflores is also just as unlikely. But romance blossoms from the most unexpected seeds.


A year later, we were at another fancy dress party, this time as Bond (myself) and Pamela (femme fatale Bond villain).


And this year, a very unlikely couple indeed, David Beckham and Pocahontas, although maybe a more Lenca version. Her cousin Santiago came dressed at a woman, although I’m suspecting he dresses like this every Saturday night. Pamela wanted me to go as John Smith (I asked her where I would find a John Smith beer bottle outfit in Tegucigalpa; suffice to say, she didn’t get the joke and she gave me the oddest look she’s given me in two years), and I suggested she came as Posh Spice, but she said no, which I can understand.


I am going to finish off by wishing Juan Carl a happy birthday. He lives in the Casa Alianza residence. A brilliant lad who’s an expert dancer. It’s quite fitting, with his scary (but in a nice way), that his birthday is on Halloween. I am going to add Thriller by Michael Jackson because it’s Halloween. How original I am!

Thriller by Michael Jackson

Huey/Casa Alianza blog part one

Hi all,

It’s been a funny old day. It started with aching pains in my kneecap. I injured it playing football on Saturday by just twisting too quickly that’s left my kneecap with some nasty bruising. Unfortunately I had to play due to shortage playing personnel. Pamela says that I’m too old and rubbish to play football and that I should quit. In that case, so should Frank Lampard, or as the Mexican commentator says on Fox Sport Latin America, Frankie Lempard. Today was a day of Feriado, sort of a bank holiday for God knows what, but I had a job application to get done for a teaching role at the prestigious Zamorano University so there was no day of relaxation for me. So I got up, a bit drowsy from pain-killers, looked at my emails, and saw that Julie Sheridan from Casa Alianza had finished editing an article I’d written. It’s always a nice feeling when something you’ve written is published, whether it’s for the ego kick, to inform, for entertainment, to raise awareness or for the good of someone or something else. I suppose I did it for all the above reasons, but it’s still a nice feeling. Coming from a journo. But there you go. You can read part one below.


One of the most obvious and rhetoric constraints to living so far from home, and many people who live far away will say the same, is that you miss so many special events. Obviously, we make choices in life, we move away and meet people, so there should be no complaining. I’m not a refugee, who has to up and leave in order to survive. But it still weighs heavy on occasions. It’s not homesickness, but it’s just wishing you were back for that day, that moment, to celebrate that joy with someone close to you. Weddings (I’ve missed three of my best friends’ weddings already this year), babies being born, 30th birthdays (Jordan Kenny, that means you). There are other things too, like loved ones going into hospital and you want to support them. Or friends you don’t know when you will see them next, or if not, again.

I had this feeling when I was back in the UK in September, when our lovely black and white pussy cat, Huey, jumped up on my bed while I was getting my bags ready to come back to Honduras. I think he always saw me as the soft one, because I would always let him sleep on my bed even though mum always tried to discourage him. I gave him a quick kiss on the forehead (which I thought he was going to scratch my eyes out for) and said to him, “I really hope to see you again.” He gave me a funny look, and carried on purring. Being 15 years old, which is a good age for a cat, he’s been a brilliant mate. Sometimes, I felt he heard me out when I had an issue, and his hushing purring sound and warmth filled me with ease, just knowing that he was there, made me feel better.

I remember the day we brought him back from the RSPCA rescue home. It was back in 1998, not long after England got knocked out the world cup by Argentina, and there was all the who-hah about David Beckham. I was a little hungover after a night round a mate’s house, when I got a call from mum saying that we were going to get a new cat that day, so I better get back quickly. So, on the number 6 bus I was on with a thumping headache. When we got to the home, one of the assistants showed us to a litter of kittens that had been found on wasteland in Smethwick (north Birmingham/Black Country way) just two days before and Huey was the first to launch up at us looking for attention. My sister and mother nodded at each other that this kitten was coming home with us (being the only man there that day, I didn’t have much of a say, but I agreed with them 100%, but if mum had had it her way, she would have taken a few more kittens with her too). His face, white, with unsymmetrical blotches of black, and a winking eye, which made me think he was a cunning little thing, and I was right. What was funny was seeing Dad’s face when we returned home and told him we’d brought three kittens (he looked as though he was going to have kittens himself!). He took to everyone straightaway. There was no hiding away or being frightened, he hung around us every day, soaking up the attention. He got his name, mum says, from Huey Lewis and the News. However, I can remember insisting that we call him Huey after the front-man from the Fun Lovin Criminals, whose name is also Huey, who I thought was s–t hot at the time.

I have a million different stories for you. I don’t want to go on all night, as I’m sure you have more important things to think about than a cat you have never met before. However my great friend Stuart had a funny one tell on Facebook today. Back in 1998 when I was doing a GNVQ Leisure and Tourism course, we had the chance to go to Malta. During the trip, we knew that we would have to do a group activity on stage on the final night. While the other groups chose to do whatever acts they did, Stuart Harbourne, Rob Handy, Allister Darrell and myself decided to do an act from the hit film of the year, the Full Monty. Not the most original, but for lads between 16-18, we just wanted to have a laugh. So, we decided to do a rehearsal. It was, and did, take place in my parents living room. No one else was home, apart from Huey. So, there we were, in two rows of two, shirt and trousers, and You Can Leave Your Hat On on the the stereo. And on the settee sat Huey, only three months old, staring at us, as we launched into our dance routine and clothes being chucked through the air. Most animals would have run off traumatized, but Huey sat there scrutinizing every one of us, with a look which screamed, “You’re all fat!” And I’ve had that look every since, every day, until I saw him last.

Unfortunately, my parents told me today that Huey had passed away.