Never judge a book by its cover. We all know that right? But judging is so fun and easy to do. It’s easy to allow you preconceived notions of people to cloud who they actually are. Or to think one aspect of someone defines who they are in totality. Everything happens for a reason, nothing is by chance. Originally Tela was not on my list of places to go in Honduras. I was going to La Ceiba and then head to the Bay Islands. The person I wanted to stay with in La Ceiba was leaving for the states for a week. I decided to look up couchsurfers in Tela, it had a beach and Garifuna community close by. I saw Gaby’s profile, which said she “maybe” had a couch. I hit her up and she told me to come through. I ended up leaving Tegus a day early because it was too big and busy for me. I must have been reading her profile too quickly because I was not really prepare for what her living situation was. She told me she lived next to the “Pulperia al Centro” But all that was next to it was what looked like a closed store. The big metal type closing, kind of like a storage unit. I got out the cab and asked the man working in the Pulperia did he know Gaby. Which he did, he said she was home… next door. I knocked on the metal door thing and she let it up. Her home was a former store that consisted of a room with a mattress on the floor, the kitchen and the bathroom. He Romanian boyfriend Codrut was sitting on the mattress using the computer.
I had trouble understanding his Spanish because he was a bit intoxicated. I would later find out that he was the first person she ever hosted through couchsurfing. They have been together for a year. So I guess CS is a good way to find love. It was late but she took me to get some baleadas- traditional Honduran food. When we got back I wondered where I would be sleeping. She made me a pallet on the floor. Ok. I can do this. To the left of me was a big outdoor grill and to the right of me was Cudot and Gaby’s bed.
The next day consisted of me helping them with the golf park and signing up for a snorkeling tour for the following day. The golf park actually looked pretty nice. They plan to open it in a couple of weeks. Sorry, Atira they are pretty much done so I can’t design a hole.
The first place I went to didn’t have enough people for a tour the next day, so I signed up with Garifuna Tours which had 2 other people on their list. Gaby had mention in her correspondence that her friend was coming, Delny arrived that afternoon. The second night I slept on the floor with Delny. Ok. Different. I can still do this. 4 people in one room is not excessive. I slept in the bed with 5 people in college (David K., Dorian, Ke’herra and Kristin). On Valentine’s night I slept in the bed with my L.P. her son and 5 dogs.
The next morning when we woke up Gaby made us all breakfast and I headed out for my tour. When I arrived at the spot there was a large group of college aged U.S. Americans paying to go on the tour. I quickly learned that they were returning from a month of missionary work in rural Honduras. I am not the biggest fan of missionaries, even though my parents have done missionary work as recently as last month. I’m actually quite opinionated on this subject. I think as a whole historically missionaries have done more harm than good, especially on the continent of Africa. I could go further in how civilizing and “saving” Africans were ways that enslavement of African people was justified. I really never got the whole “saving” aspect of being a believer in Christ. I never really spend time with missionaries. Of course, my parents and other friends of mine have been to various countries performing religious missionary work. But I know them as people first and not “missionaries”. Plus Rev. Dr. Daddy has become quite accustomed to my rants about Europeanized Christianity. I honestly think the most effective way to get someone attention is not by telling them why they are wrong, thumping the bible at them or arguing your case- just be about it, live what you are saying. I can honestly say this is what this group did at least the short time I was around them. Amazingly beautiful and open people, they were the epitome of letting your light shine. I feel blessed to have met them and I glad I was open instead of immediately shutting down because I have some ethical issues with “missionaries”.
The beaches in Tela could use a serious cleaning. When we arrived we were immediately greeted by jellyfish. We saw about 3 when we got close to shore, as we past the place where we would be snorkeling later that day. We saw a school of them- 15-25.
We were told the likely hood of us snorkeling was very low that because the jellyfish were hogging the reef. When we finally docked we took a hour hike into the jungle to be feasted on by mosquitoes. We saw nice big poisonous spiders random and random hybrid fruit (avocados that smell like licorice). The highlight were the monkeys, the guide had us all clap our hands together. Which made the monkeys roar and swing from the tree.
We got back on the boat, to investigate the snorkeling area once again. We saw one. However a brave soul name Adrain decided he would snorkel any way and jumped off the boat.
The rest of us went to the shore and got did a lil swimming away from the reef. While I love the beach I rarely get in the water. I can count maybe one other time I was in the ocean in the last 7 years. Adrain came back and claimed he didn’t see any jellyfish but he saw all these amazing fishes and corals. So we all decided to go. It was nice. But after about 10-15 min I remembered I was black, I can’t really swim, there were jellyfishes in the water and I didn’t have my glasses on so I was kinda blind. The shore seem far off and they were swimming farther away.
I returned. Eventually we all left for another part of the island to have lunch-plantains, fish, rice and beans. I gave my fish away. All was well as we prepared to leave. No one wanted their life vest on because they were wet and sandy, thankfully the people insisted. We ran into some kind of ridiculous storm on the way back. Rain and wind. The top of the boat kept trying to come of it. The missionaries were loving it but me and the other passengers-not so much. I was wet and cold. Once we got close to Tela we had to jump off the boat and push it, not fun.
While I do not generally like people, people generally like me- especially when the first meet me. Of course the missionaries would be captivated by my charm and invite me to have dinner with them. It was their last night in Honduras before going back home. The dinner was fun. The girls were so nice and cute and just excited about life. The missionaries insisted on taking me home after dinner. They all piled in the van to take me to Gaby’s house. I was thinking these people are going to think I am crazy…sleeping in a place with a metal door! When we approach the place Gaby was throwing a bottle out the door which was only partially closed and a little boy kept throwing it back in. The missionaries were all like…so this is where you are staying?!?! When the door was fully open I noticed two more people. These skinny white girls with dreadlocks. I said goodbye to the missionaries and went inside. I quickly learned that these girls had stayed with Gaby previously and just came back from the Bay Islands. One was from Spain and the other from Argentina due to the cuddling I noticed later that night I think they might have been a couple. Anyways there were now six of us sleeping in that one room. An mattress suddenly appeared for me to sleep on. Delny left at 4am to catch her bus to San Pedro Sula for work. I left at 5:30 am to go to La Ceiba, the air mattress lost most of its air during the night.
La Ceiba is about 2 hours away. Once there I took another bus to the Omega Jungle Lodge. A eco-friendly lodge ran by some Germans. They had an outdoor solar power shower, a fresh-water chemical free pool and toilets where you could actually flush the paper.
It was 30 min outside of town so if you were going to eat- you had to eat there. The reason I was there was to go white-water rafting. For a person who does not do water- this was a big deal. We went the following morning, my group of 5 were divided into 2 boats with a guide on each. They taught us how to paddle, terms and made us jump off to practiced saving/getting saved. Then we were off. It rained the night before which allowed us to raft about 4KM more than the previous’s day group. We all had on life vest and helmets. It was so much fun “riding the rapids”, eventually we got to this rock. They told us to get off and jump. I was told them I was sorry I am Black, I don’t do things like that. After much peer pressure I climbed up and jumped with my glasses tied to head with string. My first time jumping off of anything. I did not die. Later towards the end of the river there was another rock. This one was 6m the first was 2m. The South African lady and I were the only ones who decided to try. I was nervous as hell and she was so calm- until it was time for her to jump. It took her about 5 min before she jumped. I was quoting bible verses for her to give her courage. She did it! Then it was my turn. I was up there for about 10 min talking to the guy about what to do and what not to do. He kept telling me I had to stay straight when I jumped or else I would hit another rock. I was repeating EVERY bible verse I knew. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear…” I really really wanted to do but my shaking legs would not jump. I am sure I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me bout he was not giving me much strength. Eventually I jumped off a lower part of the rock about 3m. I came up coughing/ choking because I swallowed water. But hey I jumped- my 2nd jump ever! You don’t have to be proud of me but I am proud of me. We came back and I took a shower in the outside shower- perfect. I will have an outside shower in my home. We ate lunch together and I left for La Ceiba.
I spent the night there before my 7.5 hour ride to Tegus, the capital. I ended up sending a last minute message to some people on couchsurfers as I used Pizza hut’s wifi to have dinner and drinks. The girl responded and agree to meet me. She, her friend and I all went for dinner and drinks. It was fun. I got back at 1 am and was locked out my dingy hotel. I had to bang to get in. The next morning I left for Nicuragua. Here I am staying with Emilio. Who is Emilio? Well he owns a Mexican restaurant and lives in a REAL house!
All in all Honduras was cool, besides their Taxi drivers who all try to rip me off.
Randomness: On the bus to Tela we stopped for dinner. I walked into the bathroom and this woman comes up behind me and says. “Esta bano es por mujers, el otro bano es por hombres.” I pointed to my “breast” which are pretty non-existent with my sports bra (I am actually wear bra’s here) and smiled. When I wasn’t being mistaken for a man I was being told how beautiful I was…