Hi everyone! I am writing to you from the comfort of the cutest air conditioned coffee shop in all of Cofradía. That grand title is, of course, only based on my limited time here, which outside of two years ago, has amounted to almost exactly 3 full days (with Monday having been a full day of travel). I currently have a delicious frozen chai on my left and my trusty purple (if you can see that through all of the stickers) water bottle on my right. It’s a beautiful scene.
Anyway, I’m already much more connected to home than I have been on any other trip to Honduras, thanks to my Google Fi phone plan and free international SMS text messaging (thank you Andrew Tz and Adam H. for introducing me to that!). For a short-term trip, I don’t think that sort of ever-available direct link is as necessary, but since I’ll be here for quite awhile, I’m grateful. That said, I’m hoping entries like this will help ease my family’s nerves, present an opportunity for my scattered thoughts to become more organized, and share a piece of Honduras with some of you in a way that everyday messages cannot.
So to recap the past few days:
On Monday, my mom and I lugged my two 68-pound suitcases down the condo stairs, and we were on the road before 7:30 A.M. At my special request, we grabbed some Chik-Fil-A chicken biscuits before continuing on to BWI. My flight was not set to leave until just before noon, but between my mom’s worries about possible post-July 4th-week beach traffic and my anxiety about potential airport lines, we got to our destination 4.5 hours before takeoff. Of course, because we were so prepared, neither traffic nor lines were an issue. I’m sure if we had left later, the universe would have made sure to gift us with both delays, so I was honestly thankful for one less worry (no one likes to be rushed at the airport). The travel here was more emotional than I expected; my mom hugged me goodbye with glistening eyes. Of course those are two of the key ingredients to unlocking my own tears: hugs and seeing other people cry. Thankfully, we both held ourselves together enough to part ways, so I could make it through security.
Fast forward two flights, a slice of pizza, and a little lo mein later, I arrived in the San Pedro Sula airport around 7:40 PM (9:40 PM Maryland-time). By this point I had met up with the two other BECA volunteers on my flight. We waited for a fourth volunteer, and eventually made the 30ish-minute drive to Cofradía stuffed into the backseat of a truck.
The next morning (Tuesday), I woke up in the home of Ceidy and her three children (two current SJBS students, one SJBS graduate). Their home has been opened to me and one other BECA volunteer for this week and next. After that, we’ll move into our more permanent residence in “the apartments,” “the house,” or “the orange house.” Obviously, creative living space names are a thing here.
Stepping out onto the streets of Cofradía the next morning, I was greeted with some of my, now everyday, surroundings: hordes of mototaxis, business owners tossing water and mopping their store fronts, street dogs paddling along the sidewalk looking for scraps or sappy gringas, and eventually the beautiful green and flowered spaces of El Central (the central park of the town). I’ll try to remember to provide greater visual context down the road, but for now, hopefully that helps paint the scene for you.
That walk to the park has been part of our daily routine since arriving here. We meet there and then commence to wherever our main destination for the day will be. So far this has included a local church, SJBS (my school!), “the house,” and SMBS (one of the other local schools that BECA partners with). During our sessions together, we have spent a significant amount of time focusing on our missions and vision as BECA volunteers, some of the potential challenges we might face and how best to respond, and some general protocols for living responsibly within our comminities. I’ll definitely touch on some of this in later blog entries.
For now, I want to wrap this entry up, as it is growing dark outside and I want to return to my home-stay family ASAP. Here are some other notes:
- Eggs will be the bane of my existence (since the smell alone makes me nauseous, but they are one of the main sources for protein here). They are a key ingredient in the infamous Honduran cuisine: baleadas. On Tuesday night, my host-mom took me to a baleada stand that offered chicken and allowed me to order “sin huevos,” and it was DELICIOUS–the best baleada I’ve had to date. I also had some jamaica (ha-my-kah) juice, which I believe is hibiscus juice. AMAZING.
- The sound resembling a double gun-shot is, in fact, just fireworks. These are common and used in response to all sorts of celebratory news–from a cat having kittens to pay day, I’m sure.
- A local family offered us free topogigo, which is something I haven’t had in two years, but boy have I had some cravings on hot days. The flavor I had is kind of like a fugdesicle frozen into a mini bag. Pictures will come one day.
- I am SO GRATEFUL that my homestay does not have a mirror in our bathroom. It would only lead to poor self-esteem, as I am almost always covered in sweat and a thin layer of dirt.
- The water is as unreliable as ever. Running water is always fickle in Honduras, so I am happy to say I am a fan of bucket showers and totally fine with using water from the pila.
- The view of the mountains is even more impressive and awe-inspiring than ever. As I walk away from the paced central parts of the town towards “the house” and beyond, the surrounding buildings grow shorter and the surrounding sights grander. From the porch (equipped with three hammocks) of “the house,” I can see Hill on hill on hill. Sometimes the clouds shroud the greenery, creating a more ominous mood, but even then, it is obvious that I am so fortunate to be able to glipse such natural glory.
Anyway, I really do need to go now. So just know that I miss everyone at home, but I am so glad to have all of your support in this journey! I can’t wait to learn more and share much of it with you. Here are a few more pictures:
Some of these photos include the grilled cheese sandwiches we made today, delicious watermelon (one of the many plentiful fruits at the stands all around town), the bucket I’ve been using for showering when the water is not working, the sunset from the plane ride here, and more of the food I’ve had so far (though don’t let the avocado fool you; that photo is of another teacher’s plate).
Love you all! ❤