Joey’s Five Favorite Firsts

September 13, 2018

PictureOn a choco banano hunt in Florida, Opatoro

Today we said goodbye to Joey Torres, a pastor, friend, and third year PhD student studying the intersection of race and Evangelical Christianity at the University of California, Davis. Joey spent two months volunteering with us– during which he slept in 10 different beds, visited towns and cities from coast to coast, took his first ferry ride, sat in on countless meetings, tried all of the food, and helped us bring children’s books to students in three different schools. Here Joey shares a list of his five favorite firsts that he experienced while here in Honduras:


1) Baleadas: You wouldn’t think baleadas would be as profound of an experience as they are. At their most basic, they are refried beans, a sprinkle of hard salty cheese, and crema (kind of like sour cream) folded into a thick flour tortilla.  But, this simple little street food is a game changer. Maybe it’s the fold instead of the wrap. Maybe it’s the lard in the beans. Maybe it’s the fresh-off-the-grill tortilla. Who can tell. I haven’t let myself overthink it too much. I just simply enjoy. The first time I heard of these, I thought, ‘hmm. That’s a bean burrito,’ but no, my friends. It’s so much more.

2) “Cheque”: “Cheque” is go-to phrase for all Hondurans. It’s means “okay” and is the word I hear most. If I am being honest, I actually like the long version, which is “cheque leque panqueque.” It’s sort of like “okie dokie, artichokie,” but catchier. When you use it, Hondurans light up because they know that, not only are you speaking Spanish, you’re speaking Honduran.

PictureLearning about coffee at Aroma Cafe in Marcala

3) Honduran coffee: It seems inevitable that I’ve had Honduran coffee before. However, coffee here is especially cultural. It’s like eating pasta in Italy, or eating green chile in New Mexico. The land, itself, offers the product in its best form. And Hondurans love their coffee. Each region believes its coffee is best, but it seems like none is better than Marcala, a city just northwest of Tegucigalpa. The coffee is well-roasted but not burned. It has a strong, fruity aftertaste, and it’s obviously very fresh. I can’t say that I’ve thought too much about the origin of my coffee, something of which I think many people from the US are guilty. Being here, though, and experiencing the love that Honduran farmers have for their coffee, has created in me a newfound appreciation for knowing the story. 

4) Geckos: Honduras has a unique relationship with their geckos. And how could you not? They are in virtually every room of every living space with a window. I’ve seen them in kitchens, bathrooms, and in bed sheets. I can’t say I’m in love with them but I can say that I appreciate them. They remind you that the sun has set, that they’re hungry, and that there could be a lot more cockroaches and mosquitoes if I’m not careful. 

5) Children’s books in Spanish: Admittedly, I hadn’t thought too much about spanish language books for kids across the world. It’s definitely something I’ve taken for granted in the educational process. However, seeing kids’ faces shine as they read you their favorite part of their favorite book is truly a gift. They’re also good for me as I have practiced my very elementary Spanish. I have loved being surrounded by their words and the great effect these books have on the kids here in Honduras.

Thank for for the laughs, the new experiences, and the memories, Joey. We miss you already!