Friday, January 11, 2019

Picture It . . . . Honduras 2001 (Part 2)

As you know, Kim and Jonathan Hall recently moved to Honduras. The Sowers family knows what a huge transition that is. In a show of solidarity, Trish is sharing some of her memories of her family’s early days in Honduras. This is part two of two-parter, in which Trish is reminiscing about learning how to live in the small island town of Savanna Bight. So, picture it… It’s still Honduras, 2001!

Meatless Monday Sounds Pretty Good!

Each of the two grocery stores in Savanna Bight did have frozen food sections--if you count a solitary chest freezer as a frozen food section. The food was tossed in willy-nilly and the shopper got to dig through to see the available frozen meat options. Generally speaking, the options were: whole chickens (possibly including gizzards and feet) or ground beef. The meat was a little expensive, due to transport costs.

For the Sowers family, in 2001, the cheap meat option was fresh fish. People would go out fishing each day, gut it, scale it, and sell it for $1 a pound. The fish came in a wide variety and Trish became well versed in preparing them. She found that bonito fish are best used by boiling them, picking the meat from the bones, and using it like tuna. When it comes to snapper, Trish advocates frying it. And then there’s barracuda…

Trish assured me that barracuda is delicious. There’s just one little problem! Barracuda eat smaller fish. Sometimes smaller fish nibble on coral. Some kinds of coral are poisonous to people. Do you see where this is going? Yes, it is possible to get “barracuda poisoning,” which is painful and potentially dangerous. For that reason, the Sowers family was not inclined to partake of barracuda. The islanders had their own method of dealing with the risks. They put some of the raw barracuda meat on the ground to see if ants ate it. Supposedly, ants won’t eat the poisonous stuff. There was an island joke that you could also give it to someone you don’t like. If that person doesn’t get sick, the barracuda is safe.

Fresh Meat! Get It Before It’s Hot!

There was a thriving door-to-door business. When someone butchered a cow or hog, the owner would load up a wheelbarrow with fresh meat! As Trish said, “It didn’t look like much! It wasn’t exactly on those little styrofoam trays, but you grabbed it!”

Several of the ladies in town operated home baking businesses. The women baked and their children went door-to-door selling. One of the delivery girls was a friend of the Sowers kids. She sold cinnamon buns and a sort of key lime pie. When the girl arrived at the Sowers’ house, she knocked on the front door. If no one answered, she went around to the back and yelled until someone heard. Now, that’s service!

You never knew when salesman might show up, so Trish wasn’t always home when one arrived. She told her kids that if someone came around selling fish, they should always buy some. Sometimes the fish was fresh. Other times, it was frozen. One day, when Trish arrived home from an errand, the kids told her they had purchased five pounds of frozen fish. They had put it in the sink to thaw, so they could eat it for dinner. Trish was thrilled and went to check on the thawing fish. What the kids didn’t know was that they had purchased five pounds of half a giant fish head! It’s not that someone was trying to take advantage of the gringos. Fish head was considered a delicacy by the islanders. It was not considered a delicacy by the Sowerses, so Trish shared their good fortune with a neighbor!

Eat Your Bruised Vegetables!

Once a week, a boat arrived in the main town of Low Cay with a selection of fruits and vegetables. There were no roads in the area, so, on produce day, Trish took a ferry to Low Cay to purchase the week’s fruits and veggies. While there, she could also stop off at one of the better grocery stores. One of the stores even had a real live refrigerator section! It was there that the Sowers family discovered the “worst cheddar cheese that has ever been created”. It looked delicious, but even the cheese-loving Sowers children couldn’t eat the tasteless, rubbery cheese. Once in a while, when they visited the mainland, they would bring back mozzarella to make homemade pizza or lasagna.

The produce from the boat had lived a rough life and the voyage took a toll! When you purchased fresh produce, you would plan on having a salad the first day. You might possibly be able to have a salad on day two. After that, it was cooked veggies. When the produce ran out (or went bad after a few days), it was back to the canned stuff until the next boat got there. Frozen veggies weren’t an option. To this day, a limited variety of frozen fruits and veggies can only be bought in a big city. They aren’t available in Gracias.

A Word to the Hall Family

Hall family, we look forward to hearing about your adventures as you adjust to full-time life in Honduras! May you make so many many wonderful memories that you one day find yourself saying, “Picture it… Honduras 2019!”

 - posted by Christi

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