Our penultimate HOORAH.

La Esperanza Travel Blog

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Monday came, and it was the last time on the bus of funk! Elia (the head teacher), bought her son and daughter, and we were having cart wheel races in the morning before school started. The 4ths were the first class, and it went fine. Lots of photos were taken, and the children were so fun, i will really miss them, especially my favourite, Joselyn!

Then it was off to the 5th´s and 6th´s. The lesson went very well, but the kids seemed quite sad. The rowdy ones in the class even came and hugged me, which was good to see. After classes, a presentation was made in front of the school, with the head teacher and a couple of the other teachers talking about me. It was really moving, and I have to admit, I had a tear in my eye, especially when I saw some of the children crying.

Seb and I saw heart attack hill, and in a moment of madness we decided to run up it, the slope was burning my insides, but in the excitement we kept running, and then collapsed on the top. I went to get a drink at the Pulperia at the top, where I saw footballs in the background, selling for 5Lmps each (17p each!) I bought all of them, went back down heart attack hill and gave them to the head teacher as a present for all the kids. Back up heart attack hill we walked back to La Esperanza...was still quite sad leaving the school, but I hope to be back soon!

It started pouring down...as usual...so we met the girls at 4pm...talked to them a bit. Then went and chilled out with the family.
..only to have the most interesting meal in Honduras. We were served cup a noodle soup...but it was cup a noodle soup with a twist, a very interesting interesting twist. Our family had bought a chicken, killed it and cooked it...the whole of it. the stuck bits of in the cup a noodle...I got part of the brain...nicely lobey and jellyish..I asked what it was and Conchita (mother of the family) pointed to the head...and said muy intelligente...Seb heard this and went and threw up in the bathroom.

We slowly got up...still trying to comprehend the actions that had taken place 10 minutes before. We thought the best recovery was sleep...however both of us had our face in the sink or toilet seat for a lot of the night...not the best sleep I´ve ever had.

I spent a lot of Tuesday in bed, getting up for a visit to Save The Children, a few more interviews, and teaching some adults english later on in the day.
I also forced Seb, the man who hates sports, to come out and play football! We played with the locals to start off with...having a game of score and your in goal...and then we went to play in the big tournament, on the smaller caged pitch. A tournament of 5-a-side, first goal wins, only goals 2 metres from the goal allowed, winner stays on. It was rapid, and so hard, the kids (I say kids...their mostly 20 something year olds), but they're good..and it was tiring, very tiring...after the first 3 games my chest was burning. Unfortunately Seb wasn´t really getting into the swing of things...and so us 4 were finding it quite hard, we finished 5 matches with 2 wins and 3 losses. Retiring back home...I was happy to have a quick drink of coffee and then fall right to bed.
..finishing week 7 with a gorgeous sleep.

I met a director of one of the schools in La Esperanza the last week. He was an African guy from Jerusalem, a devout Jew, who had married and made a family with a woman from La Esperanza. He owned one of the best schools in La Esperanza...the Royal Bilingue Instituto. After discussions with him, he invited me to teach there for a day, and if I wanted to, I could teach there more often. The school is a 4 year course, after completing high school at 16 or 18, and before university at 20 or 22. It is like a normal school, but with more focus on english, and becoming completely bilingual. I already knew a lot of the students there, so it was fine going there to teach.

I sat through an english lesson, mainly focusing on speaking, where the students would be drilled phrases for them to remember.
200 phrases repeated 5 or 6 times, with grammar being taught with it. This was for the 1st years...I taught the older classes, giving them lessons on grammar, and focusing on common irregulars...it was good to see a lot of them were very good at english...but after discussions it was sad to hear that a lot of them would go to university in Tegucigalpa or in san pedro Sula, and probably not come back to La Esperanza.

Interesting to know, and see first hand, that a brain drain does not just have to be on a global basis, but can also occur nationally. La Esperanza will obviously develop, with excess supply of intelligent minds in Tegucigalpa and san pedro Sula.
..and slowly but surely, the reverse brain drain will start to occur, with the intelligent creating their own niches, and going for higher paid jobs in La Esperanza itself..promoting development etc, but still for this moment in time...its interesting to see.

The classes lasted 3-4 hours, so I was out of the school and back home by 11am, in time for a nice little siesta. I created a little sheet of what I had seen for our teacher to be, which still had not been decided yet. Seb returned, and we went for our wander around the city, laundry, internet etc. Al had also returned from his adventures in Utila (he had gone on an underwater photography course), and had returned to La Esperanza for a few days.
Wednesday night was his final night with us, so we did the usual...off to Opallaca´s, meal at Opallaca´s, however, before we knew it, it was 10pm. We had planned to go to Fogon, and get involved in the karaoke, but it had unfortunately shut...so we firstly headed to have some ice cream, strawberry cheesecake is definitely my new favourite!

We headed to papapuyas for a few more drinks and to boogey down a bit...but it was nearly closing time, so we could only get a few beers in...however Meredith was loving the deep south music that was being pumped out...Me, Al and Seb had no idea what was going on! Anyway...the forced us out of the bar at 11pm...and we had no idea where to go next...I had a thought, the one place that was guaranteed to be open at this time.
..the one and only, Chinese! We had a great time there at the chinese...drinks and chatter was flowing, some very funny pics..especially of Meredith. Seb´s girlfriend (who is not Meredith- but Elisa, one of the girls that works at the chinese) was wearing lime green trousers- very very lime green!) Anyway we had a fantastic time there, finishing off the night with a round of Tequila shots..big big mistake, but was fine! We headed off back home, Al in his drunken state kissed us goodbye, unfortunately I think Seb and I were still a bit sober!

Thursday was more of a calm day...I actually decided to sleep in today, waking up at 10am, as I had no plans for the day. I spent 4 hours writing week 5´s email...and then went to one of the interviewed teachers´ houses to play a bit of chess and eat plantains (not fried)! I met up with Seb and we went to play a bit of football.
Today was an easier day of football as we were playing with 13 year olds! Seb is getting into football, which is something I never thought would happen, but yeh him in goal, he was a natural, more massimo taibi than peter schmeichel...but its all about the taking part that counts! We played well and made our presence known...those 13 year olds had no chance, although one of them had a mean mean right foot...unfortunately hitting Seb in the one place he didn´t want to be hit...Seb was forced off for 10 minutes...but we left shortly after anyways, returning back home for dinner and then a nice sleep.

Friday was Seb´s last day at school. From Monday, the school´s go on a week holiday...like a half term I´m guessing, ¨coincidentally¨ falling on the first week of World Cup.
..coincidence...who knows!? Anyway, he went off usually, and I returned to Bilingue Instituto, did a bit more teaching, but the main task of the day was to sort out the teacher and get them in contact with Elia. I went to Save The Children, and tried to sort out the bank account problem...but obviously, things take 10 times longer in La Esperanza than they do anywhere else in the world...so it couldn´t be sorted out.

But firstly, and most importantly, it was start of the world Cup, and I had promised myself that whilst I was in La Esperanza, I would watch every single world cup match, a promise that I hope to fulfil. Furthermore, the teacher I had chosen wasn´t at his house, so I had to leave a note for him instead...unprofessional I know, but it´s the only thing that could work.
Also, it was the final day in the country for Meredith. Meredith was the last person here who we actually didn´t want to go. We had bumped into 3 of the new volunteers that came out, some of the rudest rudest rudest people, if not THE rudest people I had ever met. They didn´t want to talk to us because we were British, and would refuse to meet up with anyone if we were there...I think they were scared because i ahdn´t shaved for a while and looked very Arabesque...and deep south Texans...well I need not say anymore!

Seb and I played 3 hours of basketball as well...I was shattered, playing with the locals was tough, but good laugh.
I have been chosen to play for the local team here...which is cool. We went out with Meredith for a night at La Haccienda.
..the usual gringo hang out, where we enjoyed some steaks. But we had ordered the most disgusting wine ever! It was raspberry wine, and tasted like, well cough medicine with a hint of vodka...it was a nice meal...unlike the usuals at Opallaca´s...more chilled, more relaxed, but still good drinks. We then moved on to Fogon, Friday night was karaoke night, but with just the 3 of us and some annoying drunk men, it was quite a downer. However, we met some Peace Core guys, Sean and Paul. For those of you in the UK and elsewhere, who may not know, this means you go to a country for 2 and a half years. Here you work with local organizations in order to help out the local communities...you get given $200 a week spending money, and once you complete the 2 and a half years, you get given $6000.
It is very hardcore, but these guys were really cool, great laugh, and a breath of fresh air. We all went to Papapuyas, where we chilled out and talked, being joined by 2 more PeaceCore girls, and one guy. We spent the night singing along to old school songs...and just chatting. By the way, everyone on the PeaceCore is on drugs and a lot of them...it is crazy crazy crazy how much they do...especially for me who has never done any. We walked off home, and Me and Seb walked Meredith back, down streets that seemed to be made of diarrhea in smell and make up. We wished her goodbyes...and to be fair I really didnt want her to leave....great great girl, and the last one of the crew. Once she had gone, it was Me and Seb.... Meredith if your reading, hope you got to Virginia alright, and enjoying the new job.
..remember when you come down to London give us a shout!

The weekend was spent in La Esperanza, and I kept to my promise...I didn´t plan to do anything that weekend apart from one thing...be a couch potato!!!!! From 8am to 4pm I would watch the football, with the only breaks allowed being the ones in between matches. On this note I have to say that England in their opening game against Paraguay played the most pathetic football I had seen in a very long time!! Was not impressed at all...especially with Owen! Watch out for Rooney when he returns, he will light a fire under all of them. I have also decided to support Togo, I don´t know why, it was a spur of the moment thing. So for both days I watched the football till 4pm, and then played basketball for 3 hours each day.
..before retiring to my room and falling asleep. The weekends did go very quickly. Oh and also...Brazil! How how pathetic...Ronaldo...that was the worst I´ve seen him...unless he gets fitter they need to drop him!

Monday was the first day that both me and Seb had no work, and it marked the first day of our last week in Honduras. After 2 months of living out here, you become attached to the place, especially the people. We returned to our favourite place to watch the football, CAFE CLUB INTERNET, and watched till 4pm again. Played a bit more basketball, and that was another day in La Esperanza. I love playing basketball out here, the guys are big and strong, so it´s always a challenge, some of them don´t have as much skill as the guys at home, but they can run all day long, so its a good challenge, testing myself against them.
I´ve made good friends out here, and it seems to be good friends, who are in quite high places, or quite strong so noone will mess around with them. I really want to stay here for longer now...it seems as if its taken a good 7 weeks to make yourself seem like a local out here, you´re doing everything they do, live the way they do, and enjoy your lives the way they do. It shall be very very hard to leave this place.

Tuesday brought with it the England match, and I know we only scored in the last 10 minutes, but felt we were threatening the whole game. Crouch missed sitters, and as for Owen, well, he better up his game for Sweden, or else we shall be royally screwed!

We also decided that on Wednesday we would go out for a picnic, in Pueblo Viejo and the adjacent town of Rodeo, so we bought our supplies for that.
..it took a while to run around the town in order to find ham, mayonnaise, non-goat cheese, crisps and bread. We made 14 sandwiches, had a pack of crisps, 3 mangoes, bag of strawberries and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. That night for dinner we got served fish, more specifically for me, a fish head...for those that don´t know, I cannot eat fish, which I thought the family knew, but obviously they didn´t...so I enjoyed a dinner of cucumbers...which is probably good for me.

We then went to Gladice´s and Leticia´s house in the evening to just sit and watch a few movies and talk. Like I said before, its sooo cool to make friends out here, and the girls that Chantelle and Melanie lived with are really fantastic girls. So we chilled at their place for many an hour and enjoyed a good banter...arriving back home at 11pm-ish.

Wednesday was picnic day...we made our way by taxi to Pueblo Viejo. We saw some chicks for sale in La Esperanza before, 5 for 30Lpms, which is a quid, so we thought we´d buy some chicks and take them with us! So Seb, the chicks, and I headed for Pueblo viejo...now we weren´t expecting much, but we got so much less. Puebo Viejo is soooo sparsed out that saying Puebo Viejo is very vague. We got dropped off at the sign that said Puebo Viejo...and all it was was a pulperia. But it was gorgeous...as far as the eye can see were small farmhouses and large patches of land that the people there were tending to. So we decided this could have been a mistake, and decided to have our lunch at the school, on the way we kept bumping into the children...who all live in and around that area.
Sally- you shall be happy to know that we gave one of the chicks to Denilson...but the way he held the chick caused one of its legs to break...not that he realized, he´s only 6.

We then kept walking down, it took us an hour to reach the school...but we thought we´d invite the children that live close to the school for lunch. One of them was my favourite, Joselyn, her little brother, and Seb´s favourite, Biron...with his 2 sisters. Their houses were guarded by the most vicious dogs I´d seen in my life, we had to kick and throw rocks at them, to stop them from biting us. Biron was collecting maize for his family at the time...and there was also a girl working on the fields who we thought it would be nice to invite. So all of us headed to the school, where we enjoyed a nice lunch, played lots of games, the children loved the one where me and Seb would put them on our shoulders and run around with them. We agreed that out of everything, that one moment was our favourite time in La Esperanza.

We danced and sang our way back to their houses, and the chicks were annoying me now, so i thought I´d give them to Joselyn´s family. We walked back, and were greeted by a small rain storm, but it didn´t stop us from having a game of basketball. Unfortunately during the second game this really big guy stepped on my ankle, my right ankle, and I turned it quite badly...which is not good, just before Peru, but hopefully it will recover in time. We returned back to the girls house tonight to chill out some more, watch more tv, meet some of their friends and chat...Seb´s spanish is getting a lot better, especially because him and Gladice are getting along like salt and pepper.
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1,355 km (842 miles) traveled
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La Esperanza
photo by: brett4321