So how’s life different on the north coast?

We will post pictures as soon as we can. We don’t want to go walking through the streets with a camera screaming “Look at me! I’m a tourist!” So for now we have only taken pictures at home, a sampling of which were in our recent email. Pictures around town will come!  For now… it’s a new life!

– We live on the corner of a paved street instead of a camp. Buses go by honking at 5:30 am and continue until after dark. We don’t know why they feel the need to honk outside our house… maybe they think we won’t notice the big yellow hulks passing by? On camp busses mostly came on Fridays and Sundays, as people were coming and going.  They honked at the gate for a staff member to open for them, and they didn’t not usually come and go all day – just the arrival and the departure of the group!

– As I sit in our livingroom listening to the noises of the town, I hear constant shouts of greeting.  The Garifunas are a very friendly people, and they call greetings at almost every house as they walk past.  If we are outside, we are generally greeted in Spanish, but English is not uncommon either. Often people yell, “Good-bye!” as they are passing. Those who know a little English – or a lot – want to use it! “Adios” is the most common greeting as people pass each other, unless you are planning to stop and chat, in which case you may say good morning or afternoon.  In Pinalejo, you really only greet those you know.  The greetings are the same, though not in English.

– There is a constant mix of Garifuna and Spanish going around. It makes me smile! Even in church, the pastor will be speaking in Spanish and will suddenly change to Garifuna. He often then repeats what he said in Spanish… at least we THINK that’s what he’s doing! In a few years we’ll let you know for sure!  In Pinalejo, the only language used is Spanish.

– We haven’t asked the census bureau, but our best guess is that the population is somewhere above 90% of African descent.  In Pinalejo and the neighboring towns, we saw two black men… in 10 years!  When people here call someone “white” they mean coffee with a little milk, not Joel-colored!

– One quiet night, when the wind was blowing hard, we could sit on our bed and hear the ocean! It is about 3 blocks away.  On camp, we would hear the sound of the wind in the bamboo, but it was only a cheap imitation of the sea!!

– Palm trees abound here in the north. A few years back, most of the coconut trees died in a “plague,” but new ones are being planted. We saw one pine tree on the way to the beach.  On camp, we lived in a pine forest. In fact, that’s what Pinalejo means – “distant pine forrest.” We brought a bag of pine cones along for decorating at Christmas!

– People wander the streets selling Garifuna treats like coconut bread, coconut bars, coconut oil… (Do you see a pattern here?) On camp no one came by selling anything, though in town all sorts of things are sold door to door.  Just not Garifuna treats!

– A group of little boys just passed singing a song from Sunday school at the top of their lungs! That reminds me that it is very common for someone to be walking by a house, hear their music playing and join in singing loudly.  It gets interesting when you can hear the music from 3-4 houses, but some people just go along singing and changing as they go! It’s a joyful sound!


One response to this post.

  1. Sounds strangely wonderful! God bless you all as you start a new life!

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