Life in Honduras: Overall Impression and Day One (7/1/12)
It’s the murder capital of the world, they say. Random robberies. Killings. Frequent attacks. “It doesn’t happen everyday,” as one of my friends put it, “but it happens to everyone.” This is Honduras, a part of it at least. As the days neared for my departure, I was beyond paranoid. “How fast will I need to walk to avoid being approached?” I wondered. Will I be able to ask anyone for help if I get lost? And what’ll happen if I actually do get lost?
Ironically, though, by the time I landed, I felt ready. Sure, there was the safety concern, but aside from that, I didn’t feel as if anything would be a surprise when I got there. I went over the pre-departure packet, talked to people who’d been to Honduras, and constantly reread my boss’ e-mails about what to expect: I should be prepared for water to stop a few times every couple of weeks; I might have to wash up using a bucket; there’ll be a ton of insects and mosquitos, so bug spray is a must; I’ll need comfortable clothes because it’s extremely hot; I might not have internet access 24/7; and the list goes on. Got it. Comprendo. I’m ready.
But after just a thirty-minute drive from the airport, I was exposed to the “Honduran reality”: stray dogs, dirt roads, mud in front of houses where I’d expect grass. Poverty was beyond evident. And slowly, the Honduran reality began to settle in. By the time I arrived at my host family’s home in El Progreso, Yoro, I realized that I wasn’t actually as “ready” as I thought I was – at all.
Life in Honduras, after just two weeks, has been much more complex and eye-opening than I initially imagined. Everything is just different: the people, the food, the work environment, the social life. Not in a good or bad way, though…just different. Yet I appreciate these differences. In fact, it’s the striking differences between my culture and Honduran culture that make this eight-week journey: worthwhile.
And it all began on day one.