Next stop Honduras
Hola, my name’s Issy, I’m 20 years old and a 2nd year student at Exeter Uni studying Conservation and Ecology. I’m also the Inga Foundation’s website manager, and now that Uni is done for the summer I’m trading in student life for 2 months to join the Inga Foundation team in Honduras.
While I’m away you will be able to follow what I’m up to through the Inga Foundation Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, plus I’ll be telling the story of my own experiences through this blog. Hopefully I’ll also be able to bring you the stories of some of the local farmers we are working with, including updates on how life has changed for some of the stars of Up In Smoke.
So here we go, Blog No. 1:
I’ve got 2 days to go before my plane leaves. Very exciting but also fairly terrifying – particularly the prospect of putting my limited Spanish to the test. Plus a bit stressful, what with everything I need to get sorted before I leave but it does seem like its all starting to come together. For one, the pile of kit I have to take is slowly shrinking as I work out how to fit it all into my bag. I’ve got all my clothes, replacement parts for the project Landrover, a GPS, a water filter and some pretty hefty tropical ecology text books packed already and there is still an encouraging amount of space.
I’ve had a whole range of different reactions to the fact I’m spending the summer in Honduras. My landlady assured me I’d be fine, then proceeded to tell me all the embarrassing mis-translations she’s made when trying to communicate in Spanish. The lady on the Post Office Travel Desk looked pretty nonplussed; “You’re going where, sorry? Can you repeat that?” An Assessment Officer at Uni cheerfully informed me that Honduras is the murder capital of the world. My younger brother made sure I understood that if I get kidnapped, he’s only paying the ransom if it’s under £300 – he doesn’t want it eating into his gap year funds too much.
The few people I’ve met who’ve been to Honduras themselves have waxed lyrical about how beautiful it is. Someone I met who’d worked there told me the country had stolen her heart and that she still wrote to the local women she’d worked with 20 years before.
Yet despite all that, I really don’t know what to expect.
But then maybe that’s no bad thing. I spent 7 months travelling and working in East Africa in 2010 and one of the main things I learnt was that nothing will ever be what you expect. Sometimes having too many preformed ideas and expectations can get in the way. You can end up only seeing how something isn’t what you thought it would be – unable to see the reality past the expectation. On top of that, if there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s that the parts you’ll really remember will be the ones hadn’t planned on and weren’t expecting.
So perhaps that’s the best way to begin this, no expectation, no assumptions, just the reality – whatever that turns out to be.