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Utila East Wind - October 2005 Edition

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Stories picked from the Headlines

EarthQuake !!

Utila Geographical Map - Click to enlarge
Map showing epicenter of earthquake

Girls screamed, builders clung to their scaffolding and worried residents ran out of their houses when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook Utila at 7.48am on the morning of Friday 24th September.

The initial bang even the woke the most hung-over of sleepers and took everyone by surprise, “I nearly jumped out of my window… naked!” said a confused Mr.G.

Although the quake, centered under the ocean 90km WNW of La Ceiba, was strong enough to knock items off shelves it caused little damage on the island apart from a few cracks in the walls.

Despite rumors of chunks falling off the public school building it remained intact however the hoards of frightened kids (and teachers) were sent home immediately.

“Everyone overreacted because they don’t know about earthquakes, we're going to teach the children and the teachers what to do next time,” said Mery Duenas who, along with the Director, was absent on the day of the incident.

Although Utila does lie on a fault line, earthquakes are pretty rare. The quake was felt on the mainland in San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, but no damage was reported.

In the event of an earthquake try to avoid fleeing your house in panic, you’re more likely to get hit by flying debris. Instead duck under a doorway as these are unlikely to collapse, failing that protect your head under a table. The worst of the quake hits in the first 30 seconds, if it hasn’t got stronger by then you can usually relax.

Las niñas gritaron, los carpinteros se abrazaron a sus techos y los residentes abandonaron corriendo sus casas cuando un terremoto de magnitud 5.8 sacudió Utila a las 7.48 am en la mañana del viernes 24 de septiembre.

El sacudón inicial despertó hasta el más “engomado” de los dormilones y tomó a todos por sorpresa, “Casi salto por mi ventana… desnudo!” dijo un confundido Sr. G.

Aunque el temblor, centrado bajo el océano a 90 km ONO de La Ceiba, fue lo suficientemente fuerte para arrojar objetos fuera de sus estantes, causó poco daño en la isla aparte de unas pocas rajaduras en la paredes.

A pesar de los rumores sobre grandes bloques cayendo del edificio de la escuela pública, el mismo permaneció intacto, sin embargo las hordas de niños (y maestros) aterrorizados fueron enviados a casa inmediatamente.

“Todos reaccionaron de más porque no conocen de terremotos, vamos a enseñar a los niños y maestros qué hacer para la próxima vez”, dijo Mery Duenas, quien junto con la Directora Maria Hortensia Bueso estuvo ausente el día del incidente.

Aunque Utila yace en una línea de falla, los terremotos son muy raros. El temblor se sintió en la costa en La Ceiba y San Pedro Sula pero no se reportaron daños.

En caso de un terremoto trate de evitar huir de su casa en pánico, es más probable que sea alcanzado por objetos volando alrededor. Por el contrario, protéjase debajo del arco de alguna puerta ya que es improbable que éstos colapsen, si no puede, hágalo debajo de alguna mesa. Lo peor del terremoto ocurre en los primeros 30 segundos, si no se ha puesto más fuerte hasta entonces normalmente usted se puede relajar.

Victorious Cancer Battle

Lejourn Hill - Click to enlarge
Map showing epicenter of earthquake

Young Lejourn Hill, 9, bravely spent the last three years battling leukaemia. He is now in remission and told us about his experiences.

How did you find out you had leukemia?

I was getting fever and headaches, mum kept carrying me to Ceiba but they said it was normal. Eventually we went San Pedro Sula, the doctor took one look at my hands and said I had leukemia.

Tell us about the treatment.

I had chemotherapy for three years, every week I had a shot, it makes you sick for a few days, my bones and head hurt, I lost my hair. Twice a month I gave a blood test but the worst was the back test. They put a rod into my back to take bone marrow to see for cancer cells every three months. I didn’t like that.

What about school?

I couldn’t go school, I would get sick off the other kids too often. But I’m back now.

How did you find hospital?

I made a lot of friends in hospital but it was sad because we would go back and they were gone, they died. One day I met the presidents wife, she came and took her picture with me. The great news is you’re now in remission, tell us what that means. I don’t have to take chemo anymore but I still have to be checked every month for the next five years.

Is there anybody you want to thank?

Thanks to God and my grandma and grandpa, and the Hospital Escuela for helping me.

Thank you to Lejourn and his mum for speaking to us, we wish him all the luck in the future.

El joven Lejourn Hill de 9 años de edad pasó los últimos 3 años luchando valientemente contra la leucemia y recientemente la hizo retroceder. El nos contó acerca de sus experiencias.

¿Cómo descubriste que tenías leucemia?

Estaba teniendo fiebre y dolores de cabeza, mamá lo pasaba llevándome a Ceiba pero ellos decían que era normal. Eventualmente fuimos hasta San Pedro Sula, el doctor echó una Mirada a mis manos y dijo que yo tenía leucemia.

Háblanos del tratamiento.

Hice quimoterapia por tres años, cada semana me daban una inyección, te pone enfermo por unos días, me dolían los huesos y la cabeza, perdí el pelo. Dos veces por mes me hacían un test de sangre pero lo peor fue el test de la espalda. Pusieron una varilla en mi espalda para tomar médula ósea para buscar células cancerosas cada tres meses. Eso no me gustó.

¿Qué pasó con la escuela?

No podía ir a la escuela, me enfermaba de los otros chicos muy seguido. Pero ahora estoy de vuelta.

¿Que te pareció el hospital?

En el hospital hice un montón de amigos pero fue triste porque volvíamos y ya no estaban, habían muerto. Un día conocí a la esposa del presidente, ella vino y se tomó una foto conmigo. Dinos sobre tu recuperación Ya no tengo que hacer más quimoterapia pero todavía me tengo que hacer revisar cada mes por los próximos cinco años.

¿Hay alguien a quien quieras agradecer?

Gracias a Dios y a mis abuelos, y al Hospital Escuela por ayudarme.

Gracias a Lejourn y su madre para hablar con nosotros y mucho suerte para el futuro.

News in Brief

Desalination Plants
The much awaited desalination plants donated by the Spanish government finally arrived safely on the island. Drilling has begun to reach uncontaminated salt water 200m underground in order to supply the plants. The stone laying ceremony for the new building is due to be held on 12th October. “Everyone is welcome to attend, please come and show your appreciation,” said Mayor Alton Cooper. It is hoped the plants will be producing water by march next year.

Katrina and Rita raise prices
Fuel and electricity prices on the Island increased at the beginning of September in reaction to the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Both storms caused havoc for oil platforms in the Gulf disrupting production and causing crude oil prices across the world to spiral. At the end of the month UPCO announced a further raise in tarifs to Lps. 5.15 / kW, due to take effect on the 5th of October.

Jet Ski

Love sick lad in daring jet ski crossing
One devoted boyfriend was so exited about the return of his girl that he got the dates of her arrival mixed up. Upon discovering late that she would be in Tegucigalpa that evening he jumped aboard a jet-ski and speeded off to the mainland as fast as he could. “I made it! but boy did my a**e hurt after the ride” he said. And all because the lady loves...

New mission for HQ TV
Johnny Hinds has begun round the clock religious broadcasting from the comfort of his own front room. Mr. Hinds, owner of Utila's only cable channel, will be responsible for changing videotapes throughout the night. He has invited all churches to come to his house and have their own broadcast time. “I’m on a mission from God, all churches are welcome,” said Mr. Hinds. Shelby McNab's popular evening news show will continue with the recent addition of caller screening and id to help filter prank callers.

Tourists Sing for Scuba Lessons
Tourists singing for Scuba Lesson Money

Methodist VIP's grace Utila
Methodist dignitaries Rev. Dr. George Mulrain, Connexional President in the Caribbean and Americas and Rev. C. David Goff, District President, visited the Island on September 10th. It was their first visit to the island where they were well looked after by Rev. Janet Corlett.


Island recycling
A new recycling initiative for the island is being coordinated by Victor Lobo, owner of Victors Store opposite the Bundu Cafe. Bottles with a recycled ‘dot’ on the bottom and paper (not cardboard) can be delivered directly to Mr. Lobo`s store, or ask your nearest dive shop if they collect.

Innovative new courses at BICD
Bartending (where you actually get to work in a bar) and DJ-ing courses are now available at the Bay Islands College of Diving alongside the traditional dive courses. D’Arcy Kelly has big plans for the new Whale Shark Research Center at the College. “Eventually we want to establish a dive university, providing courses in any skill that’s useful in or alongside the diving industry.” said Mr. Kelly. As well as housing the ‘dive university’ the building will also provide facilities for marine science students and researchers.

Municipality News

Alton Cooper - Utila Mayor - Click to enlarge
Alton Cooper
Utila Mayor

Congratulations to the kids for a fantastic show on September 15th, it was good to see the whole town out enjoying themselves.

I would also like to give a big thanks to Randy Cordone, a great guy who’s given up much of his time helping the kids improve their baseball skills, a real asset to the community.

And now with September over lets all hope that October brings us a break from the pestering flies!


We've had an exciting breakthrough with the major Island-wide sanitation project. Soon all homes and businesses will be provided with proper sanitation systems. Before finalizing plans technicians will visit each and every household to talk to residents and discuss different possibilities. I ask everyone to please co-operate with them as they are working to try and help you.


I would like to invite everyone to the stone laying ceremony for the desalination plants on the 12th of October. As an expensive project it would be nice for the community to show their appreciation by attending. Drilling for uncontaminated salt water to supply the plants has begun and the project should be fully operational by March. None of this would have been possible without the generous property donation of Leiscter Jones (Mr. Slunken).


The Cayes received new benches and chairs for the school, with thanks to the ongoing support of Licenciada Olivera, Director of Education for the Bay Islands. Work also continued on the water pipelines, which should be up and running at last.


New bug spraying equipment is on its way, we will continue to use toxins especially designed for delicate natural environments like Utila.


The Methodist school has been blessed with twenty more computers thanks again to Dr. Hal and Donna Beuyer.


Roadworks will ease off as we start getting more rain and after a quiet September lets hope October brings a few more customers to the Islands businesses.


Felicitaciones a los niños y jóvenes por la fantástica presentación del 15 de Septiembre. También quisiera agradecer grandemente a Randy Cordone, una gran persona que ha dado mucho de su tiempo ayudando a los muchachos a mejorar sus técnicas de Béisbol, de gran valor para la comunidad. Ahora con el mes de Septiembre finalizado esperemos que Octubre nos de un descanso de las plagas!


Hemos tenido un emocionante avance que el proyecto de saneamiento para la isla. Pronto todas las casas y negocios serán provistos de sistemas de saneamiento adecuado. Antes de finalizar la planificación los técnicos visitarán cada una de las casas para platicar con los residentes y discutir diferentes posibilidades. Solicito la cooperación de todos con ellos mientras ellos trabajan y tratan de ayudarles.


Me gustaría invitar a todos a la ceremonia de la puesta de la primera piedra para la Planta Desalinizadora el 12 de Octubre. Es un proyecto muy caro y será muy gratificante que la comunidad de a conocer su apreciación al participar de la ceremonia. El proyecto sería completamente funcional para Marzo. Nada de esto podría haber sido posible sin la generosa donación de la propiedad por el señor Leiscter Jones (Mr. Slunken).


Los Cayos recibieron nuevas mesas y sillas para la escuela, agradeciendo al constante apoyo de la Licenciada Olivera, Directora de Educación para las Islas de la Bahía. También continúa el trabajo con la tubería de agua potable, la cual estará finalmente funcionando.


La Escuela Metodista ha sido bendecida con 20 computadoras mas gracias a otra vez al Dr. Hal y Donna Beuyer.


El trabajo de las calles se parará un poco a medida que tengamos mas lluvias y después de un silencioso Septiembre esperemos que Octubre traiga mas clientes a los negocios de Utila.


Independence Day

Independence Day Flag - Click to enlarge
Fernando Bodden carries the national flag as part of this years Independence Day march
Independence Day Drummers - Click to enlarge
Independence Day Drummer - Click to enlarge
Looking good - A young drummer in the parade
Independence Day Boxing - Click to enlarge
Head to head in the boxing ring

An army of residents thronged the crossroads on September 15th to celebrate Honduran Independence day.

The kids put on an impressive display marching through town in an explosion of color, singing and dancing, flaunting their spectacular costumes.

Teams of girls with pink pompoms, little boys in suits and shades and dizzying hula hula girls paraded down the main street stopping every fifty meters to perform for enthusiastic onlookers, showing that all those months of constant practicing were worth it!

“The rascals woke me up every morning with their banging, but this is fantastic - what an atmosphere!” said Ben Smith, tourist.

After a break for lunch festivities continued with more traditional fun and games organized by Johnny Hinds with the assistance of Tony Zelaya and funded by the municipality.

The ever popular boxing ring provided a stage for young bravados to release tensions and the seemingly impossible greasy pole had crowds holding their breath in suspense.

“It’s twenty meters tall and lathered in grease, the kids that get to the top and grab the money have got no fear.” said Charles Connor. The prize was eventually won by twelve year old Efrain Jeronimó Poblonc, who claimed the Lps. 4000 to share with his team.

Throughout the festivities money was fired out from above thrilling the crowds and garifuna dancers had people grooving in the streets.

“It looked like it was going to rain so we finished the games early, unfortunately we had no time for the traditional soda drinking and spaghetti eating contests.” said Mr Hinds.

A marathon was also organized for the first time this year raising Lps. 1250 for the Centro de Salud. Thirty eight fit athletes ran from Bar in the Bush to the airport and back all competing for trophies donated by Richard Del Ormo, mayoral candidate.

“The marathon is a good idea but it’s a shame it was at the same time as the traditional games, we didn’t have as many adults competing this year as we usually do.” said Mr Hinds.

As the day drew to a close families put tired children to bed and those who hadn’t had enough beer already headed for the bars.

Un ejército de marchantes colmó los caminos el 15 de septiembre, para celebrar el Día de la Independencia de Honduras.

Los chicos hicieron una presentación impresionante marchando por el pueblo en una explosión de color, cantando y danzando, luciendo trajes espectaculares.

Equipos de chicas con pom pones rosados, niños de traje y anteojos negros y chicas hula hula que mareaban desfilaron por la calle principal parando cada cincuenta metros para hacer su show ante el público entusiasmado, demostrando que valieron la pana todos esos meses de intensa práctica !

Los niños me despertaron cada mañana con sus tambores, pero esto es fantástico, qué atmósfera!” dijo Ben Smith, turista.

Después de un intervalo para almorzar las festividades continuaron con diversión más tradicional y juegos, organizados por Johnny Hinds con la asistencia de Tony Zelaya y con fondos de la municipalidad.

El ring de boxeo siempre popular proveyó el escenario para que los pequeños valientes iberaran sus tensiones y el aparentemente imposible palo encebado mantuvo a las multitudes sin aliento.

“Tiene veinte metros de alto y está bien cubierto de grasa, los chicos que llegan hasta arriba y toman el dinero no conocen el miedo.” Dijo Charles Connor. El premio fué Ganado eventualmente por Efrain Jerónimo Poblonc de doce años, que conquistó las 4000 lempiras para compartir con su equipo.

A lo largo de las festividades se arrojó dinero desde el cielo excitando a las multitudes y los danzantes garífunas tuvieron a la gente moviendo las caderas en las calles.

“Parecía que iba a llover, por eso terminamos los juegos temprano, desafortunadamente no tuvimos tiempo para los concursos tradicionales de tomar refrescos y comer spaguetti.” Dijo el Sr. Hinds.

También se organizó una Maratón porprimera vez este año recaudando 1250 lempiras para el Centro de Salud. Treinta y ocho fornidos atletas corrieron desde Bar in the Bush al aeropuerto y vuelta compitiendo por trofeos donados por Richard Del Olmo, candidato a Alcalde.

“La maratón es una buena idea paero es una pena que fué al mismo tiempo que los juegos tradicionales, no hemos tenido tantos adultos compitiendo este año como normalmente tenemos.” Dijo el Sr. Hinds.

Al acercarse el día a su cierre las familias pusieron los niños en la cama y aquéllos que no habían tenido suficiente cerveza todavía se dirigieron a los bares


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