The most common reaction I’ve received when describing our second week in Honduras is “you did that on purpose?”.
Yes, we did.
And we were excited about it!!
We travel for new experiences, different food and culture, and for personal growth. A week of rural travel in Honduras ticked all these boxes and will encourage us to push further out of our comfort zone in the future.
We were incredibly lucky to have a connection in Honduras that allowed us to visit a village outside of San Pedro Sula for 5 nights. We had a Canadian host, as well as a local family that fed us, entertained us and drove us around for our visit. Their two little girls, Asiria 4yo and Hannah 19months, made fast friends with Calais and Kacela. They were happy to have other little kids to play with after having only each other for a week. By the end of our visit it truly felt like a home away from home.
We were picked up from the airport in a small Nissan truck. It would’ve been a tight squeeze if it was the 4 of us plus our driver. As it turns out the whole family (4) and our Canadian host came along for the ride, so we fit 5 adults and 4 kids into the small Nissan truck. In Honduras it’s legal to sit in the box of the truck. Randy and the 3 bigger girls piled into the back with our host. Myself, Hannah, Paty and Mario sat in the front. It was initially assumed that myself and the girls would sit in the front, but when in Honduras you may as well do like the Hondurans. This would be the first of many trips in the box of the truck!
We stayed next door to our Canadian host in a small one-room house and experienced typical Honduran village life.
The roosters started crowing at 3:30am every morning. It only woke me up the first night, and Calais complained that “the chickens kept her up all night”. Luckily we got used to it after the first night.
The grass was cut by the sheep or cows, or whatever ended up grazing that day.
We flushed the toilet with a bucket of water & showered using cold water from the same bucket,
and washed our clothes and dishes outside in the Pila.
The Pila is a central fixture in rural Honduras. There’s running water (to the Pila), however it only comes on for a couple hours, at some point during the day. No one knows when this is going to happen so the tap is left slightly open so you’ll know when the water comes on. The Pila is then filled and used until the water comes on the next day! The water isn’t drinkable, so most people have a jug of drinking water inside. The Pila is used for everything else. It’s the washing machine, dish washer, bathroom sink for washing hands, bath tub for the kids, etc. The water needs to stay clean, so a small bowl is used to scoop the water out of the Pila. You don’t put your hands in it. The girls had a difficult time getting used to this rule, but they figured it out eventually.
Surprisingly, nothing seemed to phase the girls. They just carried on with life, following our instructions (somewhat) and didn’t worry about minor inconveniences like flushing the toilet with a bucket. Calais asked once why the floor was just concrete and everyone wore their shoes inside, but other than that one question the girls didn’t seem to have any thoughts about how things were different. They just rolled along with whatever was going on.
We were lucky to experience real, Honduran cuisine. Paty did most of our cooking and the food was always excellent. We enjoyed pork chops, Tilapia, chicken, baleadas, home made tortillas and lots of rice and refried beans. Paty also made delicious Passion fruit juice, although the Baleadas were my favourite.
Baleadas are a staple in Honduras, often eaten for breakfast. It’s a flour tortilla (rolled with a beer-bottle rolling pin!!), filled with eggs, refried beans, avocado, cheese and sour yogurt. They’re quite delicious, although I’m sure any version I might attempt at home wouldn’t be nearly as good!
Sometimes travelling isn’t about ‘doing’ or ‘seeing’, it’s about just being present in the place you’re in. Our rural village was perfect for this. We did a couple day trips to Tela and into San Pedro Sula, but a lot of our time was spent lazing about, drinking coffee, enjoying village life and watching the animals. The girl’s favourite were definitely the pigs!
The girls also enjoyed spending their time playing with all the kids.
Calais made friends with a little girl that lived across the lane from our house, and they spent a lot of time playing. Calais gave her some of her Play Doh as well as a few of her other little toys from Santa. The Play Doh was a bad idea in the heat and humidity…it got everywhere!! I’m sure all the moms were cursing me after we left.
It was relatively hot, but we did take some time to hike up a nearby mountain to get a view over the village. It looks quite small from the pictures but there’s actually about 3000 people living here.
Since it’s hot, and humid…and did I mention HOT, the preferred method of transportation around town is a mototaxi. Imported from India, these seem to be everywhere in rural Honduras. They bump around the road and easily swerve around potholes, or pigs, or kids, whatever happens to be in the way! Kacela was pretty disappointed when I told her we couldn’t ride a mototaxi at home. (I’m sure we’re being judged for our parenting right now…I promise we didn’t let them ride in the mototaxi by themselves, we did get in and hold onto them!)
On our last day we went for a small tour around the village.
We visited the roosters that woke us up in the morning, and imagined cooking on an outdoor stove.
I cringed at the thought that our “bucket flush” was running down some small culverts on the side of the road…where the chickens were playing and drinking! (*clarification…OUR bucket flushes weren’t running down the culverts!!).
We got to see the oven that cooks bread for the town (top left) and the girls cooed over some baby chicks.
Calais was hot walking around (she was already dressed in her long sleeves and pants for the plane) but she managed to put on a happy face for the camera!
One of the last things I wanted to do was take a picture of the sugar cane. The road into the village is lined with sugar cane and we drove past these fields every time we came or went from the village. At night there was hundreds of fireflies dancing in and around the fields. During the day it was equally as pretty, with the tall white flowers blowing in the breeze. The plants were just starting to flower while we were there, and they’ll begin the cutting process next month. Once it starts hundreds of people will take to the fields to cut the canes by hand. A machine then picks them up and brings them to the plant to be processed. It’s arduous work in a very hot climate. I found it interesting that most of the sugar cane labourers are not Honduran! They typically come from Nicaragua or El Salvador. Even in Central America, there’s a pecking order to the country’s wealth.
Our time in rural Honduras wasn’t what most people would consider a “vacation” but we loved every minute of it.
What do you think, would you get right off the beaten path and experience rural life in the developing world?