I spent much of the Sunday in a small town south of Tegucigalpa called Ojojona.
It’s a pleasant little place, humble, hot, with a slice of Honduran history mixed in. Spanish miners populated the town during the 16th century while searching for gold and silver in the nearby mountains. Its white-washed Spanish colonial-styled architecture and road layouts are reminiscent of towns I visited in Andalusia while living in Seville, especially Carmona, which still stands out as one of my favourite corners of the globe.
There is also a chunk of Lencan history; not just the town itself but in the nearby villages throughout the municipality. Ojojona itself means “aguas verdosas”, roughly translating as “greenish waters”. I have seen signs of a swimming spot close to the town. I’ve never found it, so I can’t confirm if the waters are green. Nonetheless, the Spanish colonists throughout the ages might well have done their best to eradicate the Lencan race and culture for something more Catholic, as they did in many towns throughout the region. The Lencan culture is still prevalent today, however, especially in Western Honduras, a fascinating part of Honduran heritage. It includes the chief Lempira whose name and face appear on the Honduran currency; very much the William Wallace of Honduras who fought bravely to defend his people from foreign invaders. As cruel irony would have it, though, Lempira ended in a similar fashion to Wallace, too.
The town is also famous for being the place that Francisco Morazan was caught. Who’s Francisco Morazan? you say. If I’m not mistaken, he tried to bind the Central American countries together in the early 19th century, to form a union or state. The Costa Ricans got all Brexit on us though, not liking the idea one bit, and shot him. Apparently Morazan died in El Salvador.
There is also business about the former President Mel Zelaya and reason the town has two churches sitting very close to each other. I don’t know the full gossip. Suffice to say, it’s all very political.
That’s your Honduran history lesson over with, but you can see how Ojojona plays a role in Honduras’s rich heritage. It is also famous for being the set for the movie Amor y Frijoles, which I’ve yet to see, although I hear it’s very good. The town is quaint, picturesque, with a tranquil moat/canal circling its way through the town with a gentle stream, a lively crafts industry which produces and sells.goods in the town. It has turned Ojojona into a tourism hub, pulling punters away from Valle de Angeles which, in my opinion, has lost a bit of magic and sells a fair amount of tack; feel free to disagree.
Back to Francisco Morazan, I ended up having an espresso in the late afternoon after having a late lunch and I needed perking up. However, the perking up has resulted in me writing this blog article. I actually had the espresso in the building where Morazan was captured. The cafe is also a mini museum, plant nursery and rabbit breeder; random niches, I agree, but it is lovely to sit there with the early evening breezes to cool you while getting high on espresso. It’s not known for espressos, in particular. There are a few corn-based beverages such as pinol and atol. Appropriate and common sense really, with corn being a locally grown crop. I was hooked on coffee though. Coffee, coffee, coffee.
Talking of espressos, I wrote a poem about them. It’s keeping me up as I write. It’s free verse. I hope you enjoy.
BANG; it hits you.
That shot of anxiety.
Galloping, throttling through veins,
Racing down tracks to the mechanics of your heart,
Leaving its clogs and bolts over-heating with like an un-manned locamotive.
Your blood cells rage and the adrenaline screams,
While pulsing serotonin blows open the doors to your mind, leaving your senses shaking
While every word snaps and every limb jolts.
You’re ready for everything but prepared for nothing
Once the bean beats through you, shaking you into a euphoria.
You know you won’t sleep, with every hour feeling like a decade throughout the night.
You sipped, and slipped, a slosh of mayhem.
Those beans, once green picked by worn hands in high melancholic hills
In the pounding humidity sucking every drop of energy from blooded finger-tips and sweated brows.
A genetic thread bounced down generations, carrying thoughts of humility, fed by beans and tortilla.
Polverised and crushed and slung with a swill of hot water in a tiny cup before you, sugar spashed in with your gluttony.
That bitter toxin that exploded your senses.
You ordered it, you loved it, you suffered it.