Hanging from Vines, Diving from Rocks and Playing with Kids!

Good times at the Jungle River Lodge and the little village of Naranjo, Honduras!

Click below for the photo album

PHOTOS

After Tela we headed back to La Ceiba, but got on a local bus (uh, the famed Chicken buses) and asked to get off earlier than La Ceiba for the Jungle River Lodge. But, low and behold, we were not anywhere near the Jungle River Lodge! Matter of fact, we were in bum poop nowhere! Fortunately, another bus came along and we hoped back on to get to La Ceiba. Where we went and met up with others that were going to the Jungle River Lodge too..so we all got a ride in some funkily rehabed toyota jeep thingy! The ride was mostly on a rock/gravel/dirt road, so driving was slow, but conversation and the scenery was great! We drove on a narrow road along a fast paced rushing river, so the adventure began! Arriving at the rustic, what is called, Eco-Lodge, Jungle River Lodge, we found a basic room and did not have time to relax until we started on our first hike. First, let me explain what they mean by eco here…eco does not mean it is eco-friendly…it just means it is out in nature. And the Jungle River Lodge definitely out in nature! We met up with Jessa and Oscar, two people organizing to build a free leadership and environmental school for the kids in the village. We went up to the spot where Oscar has donated land for the school…and it was a bit of a hike. We hiked further to check out more of his land…we stopped when we realized he owns most of the mountain! Jim is going to do the basic design work of the school so they can cost it out, so they can start fund-raising for it! Actually, this is a bit ago now, and Jim is done and I am very proud of his design. If we are ever able to do it…we will scan it and put it on the blog!

After that hike and quick tour of the tiny Naranjo village, we did get to relax. We talked to guides that work there and that were all born and live in the village, and with the other travelers. Then dinner was served…family style. I think we had chicken that night. There is no electricity in the main area of the lodge, which is just a palapa styled open walled hut above and right on the river. So, we ate by candle light, but the thing is when it hits like 7pm, it feels like 11pm and you just start to get tired! I think we held out to 9pm and then tried to read in our rooms by head lamp! The next day, after breakfast, we did a 40 minute walk down the road to the Jungle School, run by the Helping Honduras Kids organization. We stayed there until well after lunch and learned a lot about their needs. Oh, by the way, the kids made us lunch…spaghetti and…rice! It is not a meal without either rice or beans here! It it totally ran by volunteers and services the kids that live up the mountain, one kid walks 2 hours to and from school every day. Imagine an American kid doing that…these day! After we got back from our very hot walk back, we hit the river…there is this nice part natural-part cement swimming hole right under the lodge, so we first cooled off their and then we went down to the river for more swimming. So wonderfully crisp and clean…but not freezing like the rivers and lakes in Northern California! By then, it was relaxing time and we hit the hammocks with books and swayed under the trees! Later before dinner we sat around chatting with others for awhile as the sun was setting behind Pico Bonito! Pico Bonito is the national park right next to the Jungle River Lodge and it is also the name of the Mountain in the park. Then we had a great dinner cooked by Nanu the awesome cook/do everything guy at the Lodge!

The next day, we went for a hike in Pico Bonito to the waterfalls with Laura from Wales and Israeli Lee! It was a nice 2 hour hike basically up, and although there is a trail, there is a lot of going over boulders and the such as well. And let me not forget the huge trails of ants we had to hike around as well! The waterfall was wonderful, but to our hot sweaty disappointed there was no where to swim! We did cool ourselves off at several smaller pools on the way down the mountain. We all hit the swimming hole with Salva Vidas afterwards to cool down and relax. Another great dinner and convo by candle light that evening.

Our last day was very special for two reasons! One, because we finally jumped of the 20 foot rocks into the river!! Wooo Hooo! And then also, we got to participate in a clean up day program in the town. Well, we did not have to do the cleaning up part, as the kids got the bags for the garbage a few days before and were slowly filling them up. We walked the 1/2 hour walk up to the fiesta spot passing many kids with bags of garbage…some bags bigger than the kids even. Jim and I helped as many of the kids as we could. After that, there was some waiting around time while the food was being cooked up, so what does one do to entertain kids…start swinging them in circles. I had a line way too long for my 44 year old back…so after around 18 bouts of dizziness I had to put an end to it and Jim helped me out! He threw me 3 oranges and I started to juggle. Now, I am not good at it and am lucky if I ever get a single juggle going..but the kids gathered around and when I did a round of about 5 tosses…the kids all cheered. It was funny! Then Jim pulled out the digital camera and all the kids wanted to be in photos and then see them. They were so cute! Then we were saved by the food! When the food was ready the kids lined up for hotdogs. And the adults paid 1.75 for a meal of bbq´d beef or chicken, beans, salad and tortillas. After dinner, I got Jim to do some swinging of kids, but the dizzy did not sit too well with him right after lunch! It was a great time, but we had to rush off to catch out ride back to town…which is a story in itself.

Right after we got back to the Lodge it started to downpour. Not some whimpy rain…I mean hard hitting barely can see through it rain. As we were all paying up our bill, which was a chore because no one keeps track of the beer you have drinking, the activities you have participated in or the even the nights you have stayed, we hoped for the rain to quiet down. But no, we made a mad dash up the stone stairs throwing our packs into the back of the car. And better yet, now wet, we had to fit 4 people in the back of a car that was barely made for 3. I sat on Jim´s lap all the way home…a didn´t I tell you the road makes for a very bumpy ride?

It was a great time and can not wait until we go up again in a couple of weeks with our SacTown friends, Justin and Jason, and this time we will participate in the white water rafting or the tree top zip line tour!!!!

A bit more update, we finished 4 weeks of language school and although we do not sound that great…we are coming along and can even have conversations in Spanish. Of course, we have to ask them to speak really slowly first! We are starting to volunteer more now…Jim doing engineering projects and me working with a boys orphanage in town and a preschool. And we just signed a lease for an apartment for 6 months! Oddly enough furniture is not cheap here…some things costing even more than in the States…and these people do not make much. And of course, although my husband is putting out a plea to craigslist to start one down here, it will be too late for us to use!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE…AND WILL BE SURE TO WRITE AGAIN BEFORE La Navidad!

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~ by HenderBalz on December 2, 2008.

One Response to “Hanging from Vines, Diving from Rocks and Playing with Kids!”

  1. Love the photos. I can’t wait to be there.

    I got my bug spray, malaria pills, and tetanus shot. I’m ready to go.

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