The Final Full Month
Month 10 meant the last month living here, in Yamaranguila. For this reason it was super jam packed as we fit in lots of things we either hadn’t done yet or wanted to enjoy a few more times before we leave.
^saying goodbye to David, a very sweet boy who always refers to me as ”mami”
The start of this month meant a return to rainy season. If it wasn’t evident from the occasional showers it was definitely obvious from the increased number of mosquitos in the bathrooms. However, now we’re back to dealing with flies everywhere (woo) as well as storms most days. Although there were some things I missed about rainy season (the lightning shows every night for example) I really didn’t miss not being able to dry clothes, getting soaked in the evenings + being stuck in the house a lot more. Especially since we seem to lose power about 5 times a day! One Friday night I played basketball outside in the rain with the neighbours which resulted in us being soaked to the skin + receiving some weird looks in the pulpería but was super fun!! Then Giselle + I got caught in it on Saturday whilst grocery shopping and the rain was so hard on that Sunday it entered the church (semi-flooding it) and didn’t stop for the remainder of the day! We’re back to having warm mornings with strong sun and afternoon downpours where everything becomes drenched.
^favourite thing to do after school is a mango in the rain
Fireflies. They are everywhere. Evening walks through Yam mean being surrounded by bright lights + as if I couldn’t love Yam anymore, I think I may do now! Whilst fireflies are the fun bug we dealt with this month, a less welcomed guest in the house was the annoying “run run”. These less than intelligent bugs flap their tiny wings + buzz around lights, until they bump into an object + fall down to the ground or onto your clothes, which their tiny feet stick to. I would find a collection in the kitchen every morning + madly sweep them out as they become immobile during the day. Whereas, taking a walk at night meant not being able to avoid being hit or accidentally standing on them as they lined the streets.
^ me with all of my thrift purchases (including what I’m wearing)
Life here feels so incredibly normal, that I only remember we’re on a Gap Year when we start making plans for travel. It feels like we’re always going to be here. I can’t describe it well but I’d say the way I thought volunteers felt (when looking at pictures last year of those on their year away) is not how I feel now. It was at the beginning maybe, but now Honduras is the norm. I adore this life + count my blessings everyday but I don’t wake up anymore thinking “what, I’m in Honduras?” – only when looking at a map do I realise the vast distance between myself and my once home, England. We have really got to start getting our stuff together for travel, which means deciding which clothes come and which stay, which toiletries to stock up on and sorting out our little blue house. Jake and Rachel very kindly gave us a big suitcase (we have so much stuff we need an extra) and the house is feeling rather bare with this all packed up!
^sadness at packing
A huge sickness swept through the school this month, which saw almost all the teachers feeling sick – even Giselle! We both headed into school on Thursday, me feeling very perky, however within the first 20 minutes of the day I was suddenly struck! I puked a few times in my mouth but headed down to class anyways, telling myself I could last the day. I was writing Isaac’s devotional with him when I started burning up + feeling super sick so Mrs Looney kindly took me home, getting me paracetamol + Gatorade. After a goodbye hug with Isaac who told me to get better I was snug in my own bed, chatting with my mum + being cared for by the neighbours. It’s hard to feel sick when there are so many wonderful people here looking after you!
^all is better when you have Danny’s pasta
There has been the outbreak of H1N1 in Honduras which caused quite the panic in our school with parents spreading rumours about kids dying on the floor, etc. We were even visited by the health board for inspections. Thankfully, no one had the sickness and although a bunch of us were sick, it was with other illnesses. This has been causing deaths in Honduras but the sickness itself is a very bad flu so in most cases shouldn’t be fatal. The worst thing that happened was I missed Eurovision!
Well, I guess I had to go out with a bang on our final month! After the small sicknesses that spread through school I spent a week feeling dealing with one of the worst illnesses of my life, fully deserving of it’s own tale: https://helpcharlottehelphonduras.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/worst-wednesday-ever/
So, in other news our shower broke again… by that I mean it broke for about the 7th time, 3 days after Melvin (the dad of the fam) spent over an hour fixing it. This led us to embrace our volunteer lives + live with cold showers for the final month. The first one was a big shock + resulted in lots of strange sounds protruding from my mouth as I attempted to muffle my screams. However, slowly but surely, we became accustomed to the stream of chilly water + now it doesn’t seem so bad. In some ways it’s better (especially for the environment) as my showers are much shorter, only having the water on for the least necessary amount of time, instead of standing under the stream contemplating life. Whilst I try contain my complains, I repeat in my head that “this is healthy, this is healthy”…
The shower isn’t the only thing that broke, we now also only have one hob on our skillet that functions. This can make for difficult cooking as only one pot can be on but it’s an experience!
I had another new Honduran experience this month, courtesy of our friend Robbie who took me along with a large bowl of corn to a little house which some of his family own. There I was shown how to grind corn. By that, I mean a guy fed the corn through the grinder + my job was to collect the corn shavings + make sure they all fell into the bowl. Although by the end I was covered in yellow dust, it was super fun! Next step: learn how to be good at shaping tortillas. (A lot harder than it may look)
We also headed into Esperanza one Thursday to see his cousin’s new baby, who was just over 20 days old + so cute. We chatted for ages with Meli, her mum, who made me laugh by reminding me about how bad my Spanish was at the beginning of the year + chatting about the royal wedding (of which she had more knowledge about than me). She very sweetly gave us some delicious orange juice (can you go anywhere in Hondy without being given something?) + we stayed whilst watching little Camilia sleeping. Welcome to the world, little one!
The following Sunday we decided to take a trip with the boys. This saw us walking down the main street, trying to hitch a ride to where the Americans live as we’d heard of a good hike there. We set of, the 4 of us, in the burning Honduran sun + managed to get in the back of a truck before beginning our adventure. Lily, Jake + Rachel’s dog, accompanied us for much of the way + she is so adorable. The hike was absolutely beautiful (if a little painful) + after a lunch break of Daniel’s delicious pasta, my banana pancakes + M&Ms we struggled back home where we had to hitchhike twice but eventually were back in Yam, munching on paletas. Thanks to the boys for another amazing adventure featuring Robbie being hangry, Daniel taking us right down into the valley to find a non-existent waterfall + LOTS of pictures.
These past few weeks I’ve been trying to soak up as much as Yam as possible which means I go with the boys on little errands. For example, one of their adorable family friends lives on the top of a hill. Not only are the views from her house absolutely beautiful but she has this incredibly vegetable patch + garden that she takes such good care of. Whenever we go, we are always instructed to pick some fresh peaches off the tree + sometimes told the ones we’ve got aren’t good enough so to get more. I’m going to miss the kindness of people here so much. Giselle + I also go on lots of little walks around Yam (if its only to grab a coconut paleta) + many pictures are taken as we’re coming to the end of this adventure.
Very momentously, we made our final trip to Esperanzano to get our last big grocery hall. We only then realised how adult we actually were to head to a supermarket + pick out grocery’s. It’s going to be weird going shopping in the UK without a separate veggie market, and with all the prices so much higher.
We’ve also done some final thrifting this month, to take advantage of the bargains whilst we can. Cheap jeans, tops and jumpers have been purchased but by far the best deal was our pairs of New Balance trainers. We both happened to like a pair and though mine were originally 350L we got both for 500L! This means each it cost a measly £7.80 each and as we’re really good with our group money it came out of this as a trip so, effectively, they were free!!
In these past few weeks we’ve been walking to school most days, soaking up the views + beauty of Yam whilst we have time. It’s around 20 minutes long + a wonderful way to start the day! Here’s a video I made before Christmas documenting our route: https://youtu.be/vCsJKkxxkXs (apologies for how young we look!)
I did some covering for 2nd Grade this month as the Looneys sadly dealt with some sickness and this was time I really treasured with my kiddos. I was treated to love notes as well as the best presents: a tamale from little Diego, a bag of plums from Yanitza, peaches.. my kids rock! It warms my heart how willing to share they are, and it’s always lovely to feel appreciated.
The most exciting thing school wise this month was Founders Day – the birthday of the Vida Abudante schools. This was ace firstly because it was a half day but also because we got cupcakes!! Founders Day coincided with Katerin’s birthday so I sat with her, Allan + Diego in the assembly which featured some worship songs, praying for our schools + a really interesting video about the history of the schools. When Yam popped up in the videocall the kids screamed their heads off – we’re very proud of this school On my other side were the nivelación kids who never fail to make me laugh so all in all, it was a really enjoyable hour.
After Founders Day I walked home + we enjoyed a delicious meal by the new woman who works for the family as we sadly bid farewell to Marta this month. Then we got ready + piled in the back of a truck to head to Esperanza with the girls. We had a really fun, food filled afternoon with ice cream, paletas + chilling together. There was one point where I was so tired I took a nap on the cafe’s sofa but otherwise a super fun night!
Food wise (it was bound to pop up) I’ve been consuming lots of Honduran brekkies because they are so incredibly delicious and time is limited. Beans, tortillas (por supuesto), cheese, egg, plantain… aaaah… here’s a little blog about how to make it:
As well as this I attempted to make Spanish tortilla and though it wasn’t as good as my mum’s it did have the comforting effect I had desired so I was happy!
^can you even call that tortilla?
One Saturday morning we walked into Cafe Aroma to be greeted by a sea of white faces. The La Union people were in town for the weekend! We had a lot of fun showing them around: taking them up to the view point, to Blueberry (of course!) + showing them our gigantic market then nearly watching them faint at the amount of veggies available afterwards Meggie the Veggie headed back to Yam with us with our Americans taking care of the other Americans. We bought a LOT of snacks and settled down for a evening of chatting.
I was randomly invited to the birthday party of a Aunt of the family’s this Saturday night. Along with my hermanitos, Robbie + Danny, and their older sister, Denia, we made our way there side stepping puddles in the rain that was hammering down to be welcomed into a very full house. Almost immediately we were sat down for food (of course) + were served an incredibly yummy meal of: rice; nachos, beans + cheese; 3 types of meat (chicken, beef + rib), salad + of course tortillas. After just consuming a coconut paleta – I was stuffed! Then came the best part: cutting the cake! We prayed, sang many birthday songs + took some family pictures. I was even invited in for some which was super sweet as even a gringa can become part of the family!
One day, as the rain was pattering down outside, Dulce came to the door armed with a baby.
Scarier than a baby, one night Giselle had cleaned the bathroom so taken the plug out the shower. In the middle of the night I innocently headed to the bathroom but heard scuttling so flicked on the light. Suddenly, a large mouse ran across the room and back down the drain. Urgh! It was all I could do to suppress my screams and luckily not wake Giselle, especially when I thought a semita was another mouse and jumped 20 feet in the air. Though, this has definitely taught us to always have the plug in the shower.
After my sickness that saw me miss 4 1/2 days of school (what a useful volunteer ) we had the K5 graduation on Saturday night. After a day in town we headed to Abi’s church and quickly changed into dresses (cue toilet selfies) before welcoming parents into the venue. It turned out to be an adorable night with the cuties from K5 dressed to impress in their gowns + doing some very complex dances that we were instructed to snap pictures of. It felt really weird to watch awards being handed out to our students and knowing the year is swiftly coming to a close. We got pretty upset thinking about how quickly time passes out here! However, the night ended on a high as we had the opportunity to have some really cute staff photos taken. I feel super fortunate to be surrounded by such inspiring teachers who clearly love what they do – thanks for this year guys!!
Afterwards we headed with the boys to a little restaurant as it was their final night with us before they headed back to university. It felt really weird to be all dressed up, going for a nice meal, but we had such a laugh together before a late hitchhike home. Then; the hardest part: saying goodbye. My hermanitos are family to me now and I cannot imagine a life without their laughter and Daniel’s food just joking, but in seriousness, saying goodbye hurt more than I thought and I think it’s safe to safe there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Big love to the boys for making our time in Yam so memorable and being such ace brothers – we love you!! it’s definitely not the same without them to sit around the ornia and chat with after school.
That Sunday we waved them off to Teguc and spent the afternoon in Aroma Cafe as the rain poured down outside.
As it has been the last week of full proper classes, it has been very bittersweet. It meant we had final tests (cue me being very proud at Isaac doing a substantial amount of his math alone) and a big staff appreciation meal which was so much fun!
On Thursday we headed out to the top of the road + met Ana/Bertha who laughed a little at the fact we were matching in our Lenca tips (as did the Americans). We decided to hitchhike but they refused so when a truck came along + stopped we hopped in the back + headed into Esperanza, before walking to La Hacienda for the meal, and realising we were ridiculously early (of course) even though in British time we were slightly late.
The Hondurans naturally turned up 30 minutes late then spent ages taking pictures which of course we decided to hop in on before an amazing anafre. Each person was handed a little card with a name on and for each letter we had to come up with a trait. I was given Mrs Arriaga, our social studies teacher, who I described as lovely, amazing, small + with paletas que son ricas we each had to guess who the others had + I was very lucky that Swanly had me (our sort of secretary) who was adorable! We also were each given a treasure chest and had to say our best treasure from the year. Mine is simply everything, every moment, every child I’ve had the honour of working with, the whole thing. I’ve been so fortunate this year!! Then there were little presents for all the staff who were leaving even sweetly including Giselle and I as we were gifted a beautiful photo frame with the staff picture inside. Thank you for everything ALCS! I know nothing in this world is perfect but for me our school is pretty close. There were many speeches but my favourite by far was Shawna’s as she had bought stationary for each staff with a reason why – us assistants received markers. We love you, Shawna!! It was very hard for me to keep my eyes dry during this night, and it wasn’t because we were surrounded by incredible food (chicken, beef, chorizo, beans, chismol, chips, cheese, etc) – I’m seriously going to miss our incredibly Yamily
I cannot believe in a roughly 2 months time I will be in my bedroom in the UK with a double bed, more clothes than I need + missing Honduras. This year has flown by but truly I’ve loved every second.
Right now we’re having our final weekend in La Esperanza which means thrifting, our favourite soup + a trip to Blueberry
Thanks to everyone who has made this month so amazing, I’m am going to miss life here with all of my heart. I will be writing my final school blogs this week (sob) so keep an eye out for them! It’s hard to believe this is our last week in our little house but regardless:
Sending good vibes from a little blue house in Yamaranguila,