This past weekend all of the teachers took a trip to a small beach town on the Carribean coast called Triunfo. It felt amazing to lay out on the sand outside our beach-frontcondos (which only cost us $3 a night) and relax from the stresses of these past five weeks.
During one of my many sun-induced meditations it occurred to me that I have been here in Honduras for over a month now. A whole month. Like many other times in my life I cursed the fact that time passes us so quickly and began to think of all the things I wanted, or in my mind, NEEDED to accomplish during my time here.
I then took a deep breath, relished in the fact that my skin was finally tan again and chose instead to reflect on my time here thus far. I realized that my biggest accomplishment, and I dare say our group as a whole’s biggest accomplishment, has been how accustomed we have come to the Honduran lifestyle in this short amount of time…
When it comes to our purchases we have now trained ourselves to think in Lempiras rather than American dollars. Upon arriving at our condos we learned the average meal at the accompanying restaurant cost anywhere from 100-190 lemps (an unheard of $7-10). Despite the fact that we were starving, our entire food budget for the weekend was 304 lemps so paying that much for one meal was out of the question. Instead, we walked the desolate roads in search of an alternate solution. We ended up coming across a group of locals sitting outside a pulperia (the only places open during lunchtime) who said that they could help us. A really nice guy named Jose took us to his uncle’s who then fixed us a huge meal of fish and plaintains for a mere 35lemps each. Thats more like it.
Rules have become a very fluid concept for us here in Honduras. For example, traffic laws and driving rules are non-existant. The limit on passengers in a taxi-cab is based solely on the amount of people willing to cram in one car and the speed limit depends on whether or not you are trying to pass a car or a truck hauling a herd of cows.. or both. If you do happen to get stopped by the police for having too many people in a cab at 11pm they will let you go once they realize you have no intention of paying them off. All you have to do is ask.
It is no longer a surprise to hear spontaneous cries of ‘gringo!’ in the street and often we shout the same thing if we see ‘white people’ ourselves. However, the whistling and hollering is still very annoying. I dont think us gals will ever grow accustomed to that.
The line between public and private will always be blurred. It is apparently ok to: a) bathe your kid in the middle of town square during sunday market b) breast-feed your kid on the back of a motorcycle and c) hang underwear right next to the seating area of your restaurant.
I ended my reflection with a simple “Vaya Pues”, a carefree term used here as a statement of acception. While life here in the Hondo may be at times surprising and even a little difficult, there is no denying these experiences will change us. I realize that, while only a month into this experience, we have already begun to change and we still have a long way to go.