Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 2

[Sunday June 14, 2009] I surprisingly slept well last night! I slept on top of the covers in shorts and a tee-shirt because it was so hot and I only got two bug bites. Mildred and I slept in the same room at her sister’s house and we kept the door shut to keep the mosquitoes out and thankfully it was cooler in the room. Mildred gets up at 6am every morning and she had to come wake me up at 9am so that we could get back to Copan. We had to first go to the mall to try and get Mildred’s glasses fixed and then buy flowers for Mildred’s mom and friend before leaving San Pedro Sula. The main mall there looks almost identical to the malls at home; they have stores from Radio Shack to Cinnabon, only with added natives singing and selling things in the middle of the mall but besides that it felt like I was back in the states (although I was not surrounded by Americans)! There was only one other big difference I noticed while walking around, there was a security guard carrying a gun that he was holding by his side, letting it dangle down where it just barely missed touching the ground! That thing was huge!!
After the mall we went to a market where Mildred bought flowers and we walked around. It reminded me a lot of the market that we would go to with the Gonzalez family in L.A. but slightly different; as in, you can tell I am now in a different country kind of different. In the middle of the market there were two long rows of just women in front of stoves, all lined up next to each other wearing aprons and making tortillas. There were two women per each tortilla “station” and they would be working together to roll the dough, spread it out and knead it and then put the dough over the fire. It was quite the site to see and smelled amazing. I had to hold myself back because I was leaning in and almost snatched one! However, I figured that would not be a good first impression and I probably would have embarrassed Mildred.
Anyways we ended up not leaving San Pedro Sula until about 12:30pm and we did not get to Santa Rita until 3:30 or 4pm. It was a long drive and I was tired but I had to stay awake because I wanted to see everything. As we traveled closer to Copan things were a whole lot greener and you could definitely tell we had left a big city and were now in more rural areas. It was a bittersweet, beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time because as we drove on the two lane road with trees and greenery all around, there were so many houses all along the side of the road. Of course, once again, you had so many men ridding their bikes with maybe another friend riding along with him or with sticks tied on to the back, as well as women walking and carrying their babies and people leisurely crossing the road as the Honduran drives barely let them get to the other side. There were so many cows and horses and dogs but pretty much all of them were really skinny with their bones showing on either side. We passed by a few police officers and Mildred was telling me about how their government is so corrupt. She told me that it has gotten to be so bad in Honduras because drugs are everywhere. She was telling me about how life is so hard and people are so poor and they see that in order to make good money and have a big house and a “good” life, all they need to do is sell drugs. When the police catch you they will put you in jail but it does not even matter because the drug dealers have so much money and all they need to do is pay the government and they are put back out on the streets. She said a lot of the Policia work with the drug lords and everything here just boils down to money. All the government cares about is the money they receive for themselves. Mildred said they used to have a middle class here in Honduras but now it is just the rich and the poor and it seems hopeless. The government is power hungry and only getting worse and yet their hearts do not go out to the people on the sides of the road living in little pueblos with open windows and doors with only sheets covering the openings for protection. Some of the houses were made out of what looked like pieces of tin all slapped together to make a wall, something that did not look sturdy or long-lasting. It rains like crazy here for about five months and I have no idea how those houses withstand flooding. Es muy triste. It is very sad to see. There were a lot of fires along the way as well. One was really big and was about 150 feet from us, from the road, and once again I have no idea what all of the people living on the side of the street will do. I was asking Mildred where the firefighters were and she was saying they have firefighters but they might not come and if they do they will most likely be too late. That is another thing, these houses were on the side of the road in areas that were no where near a town or even a store sometimes. Buses travel the road but it was Sunday so Mildred said there were not as many people driving through, including buses. People still need to get places on Sunday! I can imagine that most people walk or ride their bikes anyways though.
We finally reached Santa Rita where the roads are not paved and everything is so close together. The road cuts Santa Rita in half and the town is very small. I have not had time to look around because Mildred was showing me “what is what” at the house and I have just unpacked and began to settle in. Tomorrow however, she wants to show me the school and a quite place for me to read and to go buy fruit from one of her friends. The bank is also finally open tomorrow so I will go there and exchange money as well. These two days I have been without lempieras (the currency in Honduras) but thankfully Mildred never hesitates to keep me fed and she even got me a special treat, a twix bar, at the gas station today. She is very hospitable and patient with me and at times I feel like she is a friend my age. I do not know what I would do without her.
I think speaking Spanish became more frustrating today. It is so hard because there are so many different words just for one thing! Mildred was also telling me today that the people who settled in this region of Honduras (Copan), after the Mayans, used a lot of words starting with “ch.” So for example perro (dog), is called something else here. I already forget the word but it starts with a “ch.” Mildred said, “of course perro is correct but here we say ch…. ” Confusing! I agree with Anthony Winkler as he says, “the despair of it all was that you could never see the movie from the start and so were forever doomed only to dimly understand it.” This is how I feel being in Honduras sometimes. Trying to understand Honduran history, and especially their way of life and language, is so hard when I am only an outsider looking in.

1 comment:

  1. This place sounds exactly like el Salvador. The corruption, the lack of a middle class, it is very similar. Tenga cuidado nina!!