Felíz Día de Independencia!

Thursday finally brought the day that all the preparations, all the marching, all the drumming, had been leading up to. The 15th of September brings celebrations to countries all across Central America as Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica celebrated 195 years of independence from Spain. We were honoured to be able to be a part of the celebrations and even to represent our own countries in the parade.

Leaders of the escuela parade

We arrived at the bridge that was to be the starting point for the parade at 8 en punto but in true Honduran style nobody moved until at least half 8. We were in the second group at the front of the escuela‘s part of the parade, with me proudly holding the Scottish flag high and Amy holding the Union Jack with a little less fervour (she had been promised that they had an English flag for her but it seems Britain and England are interchangeable here…). We paraded along the main street that runs through town before circling the main square, where we even got a shout out over the microphone!

After our official duties were over we were able to enjoy the performances from the kids that continued through the morning, that included traditional Honduran dancing, an almost operatic version of the anthem and some drumming from the escuela‘s banda de guerra! Because of the heat here most events are done in the morning so everything wrapped up around 12pm and they even had the big stage down by 2!

Traditional Honduran dancing
Our students looking very cool in their uniforms and shades

On Friday we headed out to meet up with Jesse and Lucy, the Tomala volunteers, in Gracias while pretty much the rest of our group was in Tela. We went via La Esperanza, where our host family was going to spend the weekend, and spent a couple of hours wandering around there before catching the nicest bus I’ve been on in Honduras so far! We arrived in Gracias with just enough time to go for (more!) pizza and cocktails at our favourite restaurant, Kandil.

La Esperanza just gets me
They can’t seem to get rid of us!

The original plan had been to spend our days off in Santa Rosa de Copan but a lack of affordable accomodation led to us just going there for the day on Saturday. Our bible (Lonely Planet’s Guide to Central America on a Shoestring) had Cafe Ten Nepal in Santa Rosa down as a must see, and so it follows that we spent an hour basically going round in circles as one person after another told us ‘two blocks down and then take a left’ or ‘down the street and around the corner’ before some kind stranger took mercy on us and told us it had closed down.

Exploring/getting lost in Santa Rosa

We didn’t mind that much because it meant that we had lunch in Santa Rosa’s hidden gem, Cafe de las Verlas. Frozen lemonade and a mozzarella, ham and pesto sandwich have never tasted as good as after a fruitless treasure hunt. Once we had eaten absolutely everything we could (and even bought cakes to take on the road with us) we had to hot foot it back to the bus station so we didn’t miss the last bus back to Gracias.

I’ve never had better lemonade
Jesse and Lucy giving a pretty good summary of their partnership

The evening was spent waiting out a power cut before we could go to dinner at Hotel Guancascos, which is where we usually stay but they didn’t have room for us this weekend because it was Independence Day and we were very last minute! In keeping with a wild weekend away from teaching and our communities we were all asleep by half 10.

And now we’re back in Candelaria and had our first full day teaching today after 3 and a half weeks of sporadic classes! We are very pleased to be back doing what we are here to do and are excited about our first session tomorrow with the choir we’ve decided to set up at the escuela – expect lots of Disney! We are also going to try and set something up at the colegio, whether that’s another choir, proper English classes or just an English club. We’ll wait and see!

Last thing for now, we’ve discovered our new favourite thing to do here. Last week we were taken down to the river by some friends and shown this pool where you can swim and all these rocks you can jump off from. It is the most refreshing thing you can imagine and has satisfied my craving for a swim… for now at least!

Jumping off was the only way down after this photo…

Some picture from Día del Niño that somehow managed to escape their own blog post…

Carlos Salinas, Victor, Juan Carlos and Walter from my Fifth Grade.
Daniel, from First Grade being adorable as usual
Taken by one of our very talented kids!

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