Elsy and Elena (far right) who inspired me to sell the bracelets

I have been huddling under a tin shelter for the last half an hour waiting for some bus.  The rain is pelting down so hard that water is up to my ankles and it is dark.  I have no idea where I am in Honduras.  A quick ask around tells me I am about an hour from the Nicaragua border, which is about where I want to be.

I am super scared, but trying to look normal. No one else here is white, rich, alone and lugging around all their possessions on their back. A couple of guys next to me start whispering and pointing at me. They try to hustle me into a taxi with them, but the surfboard is a good excuse to wait for the next bus.  Nearly in panic, I hail down my own taxi and get taken to the nearest hotel. I hold my surfboard out the window with one arm and ask the driver not to drive too quick.

At the hotel I have some 2miniute noodles and barricade myself in.  How did it all go so wrong?  I look down at the anklet I have been working on all day and am more disappointed.  It resembles little more than a long piece of colourful string. How will I ever sell this crap?? It doesn’t look anything like what I leanrt to do in Guatemala.  I pray to the universe for a better day tomorrow, watch a Mexican soap opera and go to sleep.

Kids at el paredon selling their bracelets

In the morning I sit at the bus station braiding anklets again.  Two ladies come over and tell me I am doing it all wrong.  I need to double the string they say.  Doubtful, but feeling pressured under their eyes, I double the string and start again. By the time we reach the border I have finished one bracelet.  It looks good.  I gift it to the lady who helped me, and she tells me she will treasure it forever. She also gives me her phone number in case I ever return.

On the other side of the border I have a three hour bus wait.  With new enthusiasm, I braid bracelets.  They look good. In no time, I have a crowd of locals gathered around me staring with questions. They all want a bracelet.  One guy takes off his shirt to protect my legs from the hot sweltering sun.  He gets one.  I am selling the bracelets faster than I can make them! By the end of the three hours, I have sold enough bracelets for a decent lunch and some.

I spent some time volunteering at a kids club in a small fishing village in Northern Nicaragua.  The surf was only good in the morning, so I had lots of spare time. I bought more string in Leon, but also started to make bracelets out of shells and more importantly plastic bags; two free resources that are abundant all over the beach.  I tried to inspire the kids there to do the same.  They love making bracelets, but picking up their own trash is a little bit harder for them.

Next stop, mural art in San Juan Del Sur!