Claire Woods is a friend of mine from Goldsmiths college back in 1976-79 and we have been friends ever since She was an art student and had her babies very early in her life she had twins amongst other children and married Kevin who lived on a boat and is very practical Its nice to hear what’s she up to so here is her account of life in the Honduras
Hi everyone – am making the most of intermittent internet connection!
We have arrived safely in Honduras, but it is a bit strange as the bed and breakfasts we have stayed in are all surrounded by razor wire and high fences! However I dont think it is any different from being in Peckham, Deptford or Brixton on the streeets – violence is drug and gang related, and as long as you dont flash the cash/camera/iphone or dress in expensive clothes we have been told we will be fine. Busy preparing resources for a literacy programme stating on the 2nd Feb, and Keven is busy helping volunteers to build basic toilet and shower blocks. It is very very wet and muddy, and there is a lot of flooding – I hope mozzies dont start breeding in all the puddles/temporary ponds and lakes when it stops raining!
The local community is very friendly, and the children are spotless – how they manage it with all the mud around I dont know! Local houses range from substantial breezeblock 2 storey houses, to tiny 1 or 2 room shacks with a covered outdoor cooking/eating area and socialising area, and a tiny privy – a hole in the ground with a concrete platform around/over it with a shed on top a little way from the house, so most people arent exactly living in comfy surroundings – so very very different to London!
The classroom which is rented from a local woman is very very basic – concrete floor, a few old tables, and the ceiling and indoor partition walls are made from cardboard stapled to a timber framework – could do with a decent slosh of paint to brighten it up! paper and books go curly and soggy with the damp, and posters fall off the walls as the sellotape doesnt stick in the dampness – so it will need a lot of creativity to brighten things up – but hopefully I will get there!
Where I am staying is full of hibiscus,pineapple, orange, ginger, mango, avocado, papaya, banana and coconut palms – but there isnt much veg cultivation – maybe it is too soggy for salad and veggies, but it must be possible to use a raised bed system with plenty of rocks at the bottom and sand from the beach mixed into the compost for drainage so that people in the local community can grow their own food – they already have fruit, chickens and cows, and I know in Cuba there is a veg growing project, and we are at the same latitude as Cuba.
Rubbish collection cant be particularly good – there is rubbish everywhere! Apparently it is traditional to wrap everything in banana leaves, which break down into compost very quickly, and so traditionally people throw wrapping materials on the side of the street, but with plastic bottles and bags it is another story, so what could be a lush tropical environment is a bit of a rubbish dump – there’s definitely a need for environmental education! The sea is quite rough, so no swimming yet!
will keep you all posted!
Here is an example of her artwork from the website