Losing My Blog Virginity

Hi Readers,

It’s a…coffee sipping, internally romantic, I-love-myself moment and have woken to the sweet sounds of my sister-love, Lady Day. We inhale our ordinary surroundings and the quietness, the stillness of this particular moment seems to serve as a reassurance that every wrong decision served it’s humble purpose and every right decision did just the same.

This morning….this type of morning comes only once a month or year or lifetime. It is the universe’s gift of self assurance, independence, and strength…but my mind is so clear and quiet that I am reminded of how easily this gift can slip away from me, through my lips, in the form of a debilitating, yet insignificant insecurity.

So I cradle my oversized coffee cup and smile as it scalds my fingertip. I kiss that same finger and use it to cover my lips. I let Billie Holiday do the talking and hope that this moment lasts long enough for me to remember it.

Here’s to my first post on the Singlestream and to everyone having a happy morning.


…y La Mañana de Dolorfín!

Never enough cafe negro!

Monkey woke me with her startled cry when her mummy disappeared AGAIN – this time to the bathroom.  There were smiles and hugs when she reemerged.  This little girl is amazing – she wakes up laughing!

Nena asked me before I rolled over “tienes goma?”  At first I didn’t feel the hangover but in the shaking of my head the Flor de Caña woke up and my brain screamed in answer to its call.

Breakfast has never been more welcome.  Cafe negro with pan de la muerte.  Black coffee and the ‘bread of the dead’.  Halloween is near and here and there Catholic traditions shine through in this latin land.  The orange and lemon zest in this cake-like bread is a perfect match to my coffee.  Today I need two cups and a painkiller.  And Bo, fast becoming a new brother to me, presented me with a little foil package.  Myce has taken a panadol that isn’t even touching her goma.  But Bo swears by Dolorfín.  “Dolorfín, el fin del dolor” laughs Myce by way of explanation.

I remember as a child the stories from Honduras of the “Mejoral”.  It was the magic drug for some time and had something like panadol and codeine in it.  People were taking it for everything that ailed them – headache, cancer, gunshot wounds, indigestion.  Mejor – better, Mejoral – to get you better.  But today it is Dolorfín.  And Dolorfín is WORKING.

This morning I’ll take anything to get rid of my gummy goma and enjoy my last full day and full night in La Ceiba.

Compras en la lluvia… Shopping in the rain.

The rain hasn’t stopped but it hasn’t stopped us either.  We stepped over the gutter and into the taxi early in the day and went shopping.

La Ceiba is a city of great contradictions.  The city streets vary from well maintained two-lane highways to torn up roads that enter the suburbs.  There is green, there is wealth, there are modern signs, there is squalor, and there is always danger.

A month ago today gunmen entered Nena’s home.  They held her up with Fiore.  Bo was at home and heard her pleading outside and came at them gun blazing, shooting her attacker.

There has been an effort to secure the compound ever since.  Gates are reinforced and serpentina being put around the top of the walls.  The weapon that came to her aid is now at her side at all times and in the trips to town for her compras she is always looking over her shoulder.

Today as we walked between street stalls and shop entrances in narrow corridors rain water sloshed up from the flooded street.  Nena was very nervous.  Always in the back of her mind she remembers her fear of that day.  There is someone out there who once tried to kill her and there are bullet holes in the walls of her home.

But life must go on.  And Nena refuses to leave her home.  I love my home she repeats to me over and over.  Amo a mi tierra, a La Ceiba.  And so we found ourselves in the cafe of Lena, a family friend.

The pastelitos de pollo and cafe de oro (negro, fuerte y sin azucar) were excellent!  The soup on the stove promised to be just as good.  Lena kissed Monkey and caught up with Myce as she arranged food on plates for us and black coffee.  Monkey ate the “chick-chix” out of the pastelito and threw the flour shell back into her mummy’s hand.  Thanking Lena we set off to look at clothing in the second-hand stores and get our nails done before coming back for soup.

The shopping surprised me.  There is a thriving industry for second-hand clothing in La Ceiba!  We walked through, looking through shelf after shelf and I couldn’t help but wonder how many of my own donations ended up on these shelves and how many were actually given free to the poor.  Leafing through clothing discarded by people as fortunate as we are I remember my mother packing up and bundling clothing my brother and I had outgrown as children and giving them to our Tía to take to Honduras for the less fortunate.  I always felt honoured as a little girl to help a little girl who needed my favourite jeans but couldn’t afford them for herself from the stores.  It was only in my adulthood with veils of worshipful blinders stripped away that a little voice in my head suggested that they were probably sold in the end for handsome profit.  I put the thought from me, disappointed at the mercenary image it presented.

But today the image came alive.  I saw it for myself.

The rain fell, the road flooded and we came back damp and ready for soup.  Monkey fought sleep enough to eat and we made it to the supermarket.  Tortilla vendors, tamale vendors, lychee vendors, banana vendors, and plaintain vendors all clamoured around the front of the modern supermarket with rows of metal carts.  Inside, neatly stacked shelves boasted pastas of various shapes and Boyardee sauces, Ruffles potato chips and french onion dip, queso in full display of local varieties and anything you would expect from a modern supermarket.  I picked up snacks for the children, a razor for my neglected skin, and coffee to take home to Cayman.  Nena did her compras for the house.  It was an altogether successful trip.

The difference in what life would have been had our forefathers made different choices struck me, as it always does on trips to Jamaica.  But it hit me in a different place this time.  There is a different kind of danger to La Ceiba, a more raw and direct threat to life with each passing moment.  The land is more hostile, the parasites more violent, and the people more… more something I cannot put my finger on.  Jamaica has a vibrancy, a determined fighting spirit.  It is violently passionate but almost forcibly so.  Honduras does not have to force anything at all.  Siestas are sweet, music is romantic, and love is real but the violence that is so raw and brutal and so very near the surface makes it all so much… more.  Moments spent alive and together with loved ones and with sweet breath are savoured like pastelitos.

We came across many friends of the family who greeted Nena and welcomed back Myce, joyful at how well she looks.  Monkey was showered with kisses and fussed over and remarks made on her white skin.  I was welcomed to Honduras for my first time and wished a pleasant trip.  We filled a taxi boot with bags and groceries and souvenirs and drove home with nails done and an accomplished tiredness from compras en la lluvia.

Cafe negro... fuerte y rico...