Friday, February 15, 2013

Update from Anna in Honduras

Buenos Dias from Honduras!

It has been a busy few months since we last spoke and we are just finishing up, continuing to manage and beginning new projects! Rainy season is coming to an end and the sun has been out full force, unfortunately a source of envy for our fellow Canadians still in hibernation back home. That being said, we have a full month ahead of us with visitors coming from all over the Americas to lend a hand and experience the beauty that is Salado Barra.

So far the garden has come in wonderfully  - well except for the iguanas who have a particular fondness for carrots - there are trees, herbs, fruits and veggies a plenty! With the onset of the hot weather, I am hoping to test out our new solar dryer so as to make teas and seasoning for the community to sell at their new - drumroll and pause for emphasis - cafe! That is right ladies and gentlemen, a new cafe! Currently Mira and I have been drafting up a revised ecotourism management plan alongside Fallsbrook Center and our partner organization La Fundacion Cuero y Salado. While a management plan for the refuge already exists in theory, it's implementation in practice has faced considerable challenges.  A lack of resources, transparency, supervision, cooperation and communication has led to the deterioration of management at various levels. As a result, we are hoping to start off fresh from the bottom up, working with different price points and micro enterprises in the community, including the jewelry group, the solar panel group, the tour guides and hospitality centres and the up and coming cafe. 

Given our isolation, it has been quite a task getting everything ready for this month's grand opening. Sanding and varnishing tables and chairs, refitting the kitchen, securing windows, designing menu plans that are not dependent on electricity, hooking up new plumbing, sourcing food and material suppliers, organizing staffing... We certainty have had our work set out for us but it is exactly these hands on projects that provide the practical experience you can't get in school. After spending some time chatting with fellow intern Jessie Lyon who is visiting from Nicaragua, it has been really cool to see how much freedom we have had in designing our own projects. One of the many lessons learned during this start-up as well as during our whole time down South, has been how to take initiative and to self-direct. To recognize opportunities and to act on them rather than to wait for instruction. It has been an interesting experience training myself to think simultaneously at both the macro and micro scale, to push myself creatively and to plan both short and long term. 

Kites flying from boats on the water!
Skilled kite handing...

On a different note, last weekend we celebrated 'Wetland Day' which consisted of different environmental education activities, canoe races and two very full piƱatas! While Mira and Jessie maintained composure amidst a shower of chiclets, bonbons, dulces and gorditas, the 12 year old in me was set loose. Confetti in our hair, dirt under our nails, sandals thrown aside, candies stuffed in every which pocket, we came together as adults and children, men and women, Canadian and Honduran in a throng of screaming laughs, celebrating the many people, places and passions of our beautiful world. 

Hasta la proxima vez,


Anna, Mira and Noelle enjoy fresh coconut milk.

No comments: