Honduras is a small country in Central America that is best known for its Bay Islands where foreign tourists scuba dive along the second longest coral reef in the world. I had the opportunity to go further down the coast to the tiny Garifuna village of Ciriboya.
Ciriboya is on the Caribbean Coast, an 8-hour bus trip over largely unpaved roads further south from where you would catch the ferry to the Bay Islands. Cirboya’s setting is exotic with palm trees and white sand beaches that go on forever.
The Garifuna people are descended from African slaves who intermarried with native Carib and Arawak Indians. Although the Garifuna people have their own language, most of those I met also spoke Spanish.
It is a laid back place and everyone was very friendly and welcoming. The women were a hoot, and not at all shy like the Mayan women I had been working with in Guatemala. They loved to tell racy jokes which would be followed by hysterical laughing by everyone around them. There were many women and children about but few men because they were usually looking for work elsewhere, often on cruise ships.
Ciriboya is reachable by road, unlike two neighbouring villages that I visited that could only be reached on a small boat. The village itself is isolated and without electricity. Even their small hospital run by Cuban doctors must rely on solar power. Most homes are small huts with a tin roof.
Food preparation requires considerable effort! Cassava bread takes hours to make. It is made of yucca, which must first be grated, then forced into long tubes so the juices can be strained, dried overnight, sieved into flour, rolled into pancakes and finally cooked on a griddle. We sampled other traditional dishes such as machuca, which is made of mashed plantain in fish soup with coconut milk. They were all delicious.
Children are everywhere and even at an early age seem to love the music and dance that the Garifuna people are so famous for.
By Jessica Sunter
Photo credits Jessica Sunter
© Riding the buses 2012