This is my fourth week in Honduras and my placement here in La Ceiba is taking me a while to adjust. I have a small room, which is fine because I survived the woods in New Brunswick! I think I would sleep fine if it weren't for all the noise all. the. time: the crying baby and barking chow-chows next door, along with the loud traffic. I would close my windows but it gets so hot and stuffy in my room. Lately it's been cooler because it's the rainy season which is nice, except the streets are flooded. Someone on their bike the other day was riding in water halfway up to their tire! I am so glad I brought my boots with me (best $30 I ever spent at Canadian Tire).
One thing I might complain about is that my work could be a bit more laid back...I live with my supervisor Juan Diego who's from Spain and away from his wife and son so works all the time to keep himself distracted I think. I wish I could be as excited as he is for me to go through 3 of the Honduras education curriculums of 400 pages each to see how we can incorporate more environmental themes. We get to work around 8am and don't leave til 5 or 6pm. At least we get 1.5-2hours off at lunch. The office is only a 5 minute walk away which would be so convenient if it was safe enough for me to go walking daily on my own!
I'm finding it pretty hard to work in an office all day. The projects I've been working on so far have been pretty good, a mix of everything between writing a proposal for funding from Putin (yes, you read that right, some real estate guy from Germany came in saying he was going to Russia to see his bestie the president who apparently has money to spend on organizations such as CREDIA, el Centro Regional de Documentacion e Interpretacion Ambiental) and other research/writing projects. It all sounded a bit fishy to me but who am I to judge? CREDIA has been funded by a European Union PROCORREDOR project which ends in Dec so after that they don't have much money to keep more than five staff , at which point I don't know what my role as an intern would be, other than writing more funding proposals to a questionable audience!
More recently I've been working on a Turismo Educativo Cientifico project to promote Cuero y Salado, a wildlife refuge nearby, as an ideal place for professors and students to do research as well as for ecotourists to appreciate the biodiversity. Tomorrow Ian, Aisha and I are going to Boca del Toro in Cuero y Salado to do an environmental education workshop, where we will be performing the Wetland Worries puppet show in Spanish. I will also be facilitating a drawing class for kids to create their own mural of a mangrove ecosystem! I'll be spending the weekend in Salado Barra, where Anna and Mira are living, and will get to see what it's like living without electricity or a fridge!
Two weekends ago I was with 2 other interns Ian and Aisha who live in the same house. After having fresh coconut water from the street vendor, we walked by the beach and ended up in a really rough neighbourhood by accident. I've never seen so many death stares in my life. One crazy guy saw us and, in a fit of rage, picked up a plastic bottle from the ground, flung it at us, then took out his knife saying he'd kill us! He missed and kept walking without looking back...I was very rattled by the experience!
One thing I am SUPER happy about is that I joined the gym that's only 2 blocks away. I've been to 3 dance classes already and it is the most fun EVER. Think pelvis thrusting, bumping and grinding, ass-shaking...basically a really good time. The other day we did the horse-riding dance to the Gangnam Style song. TODAY was the BEST part. I you haven't already had the privilege of seeing it, I have this "signature" move where I am leaning with one arm back, knees bent, feet on the ground and pelvic thrusting upward. It may sound vulgar and it probably looks it to, but it is hilarious to do and watch other people's reactions. My teacher did that move. Straight up, it's a thing over here! You would have been so proud! But actually the best part is that she made us use a plastic rod and use it as if it were a strip pole, to the following song by Mariah Carey and Busta Rymes:
I don't think I've ever humped an inanimate object/the floor so much in my life. Since joining the gym, I've set a goal to talk to a new person every day. It's taken a little while to get started, but so far so good. It's amazing how much I appreciate even a bit of small talk. The other day, 2 girls told me they liked my rainboots. It literally made my day. I felt like I was the new kid in elementary school just dying for someone to start a conversation with me. Today a local Honduran girl even told me that I dance well! I am way beyond flattered! I may be the only tourist in the class and stick out like a sore thumb, but at least I can dance!
In terms of traveling, I've only had 1 free weekend in 3 weeks (last weekend there was a recycling day where we did a puppet show on worms/compost), so I haven't really been going to the national parks nearby to hike or go rafting like I've wanted. I also want to go to the nearby bay islands like Utila to snorkel and get my diving certificate.
Last weekend, we went to a "private" beach and to get there we rented a taxi. The driver Alberto was great! He was a perfect tour guide, pointing things out to us, stopping along the way to take pics of hidden waterfalls and a local fisherman with the big catch of the day (yellow-tailed tuna)! We also got to try almonds straight from the fruit! It was awesome.
I also went up into the rainforest to the Cangrejal river to go swimming. You could see the waterfalls and the cloudforest in the distance. It was a gorgeous secluded place with lots of plants, flowers and birds.
I'm looking forward to more weekends off so I can see all the beautiful things this country has to offer!