My First Discoveries in Honduras
After being in Honduras for almost three weeks, I have found that the country is very different from what I had expected. I envisioned scenes of simple landscapes and run-down neighborhoods, but this is not the case at all. Below is a list of things that most surprised me since I arrived:
1. Natural Beauty
From the moment my plane landed in San Pedro Sula, I was captivated by Honduras’ beauty. While I was taking the 3.5 hour bus ride from San Pedro Sula to La Ceiba that day, I quickly learned that Google Images simply does not do Honduras justice. Although I expected to see tropical beaches during my stay here, I didn’t foresee a country filled with lush greenery, towering mountains, and stunning bodies of water. Most people picture the Bay Islands when thinking of Honduras, but it’s truly a shame that the rest of the country is overlooked.
2. Pervasive Violence & Crime
Honduras isn’t the warzone that most people expect it to be, but it also isn´t what many would consider a safe country. Even though I was well aware of the problems with crime and violence before coming to the country coined the Murder Capital of the World, I mostly expected to see major crime related to drug cartels. I didn’t anticipate hearing gunshots in the middle of the night two days into my stay here, and I certainly didn’t expect petty crime to be such an immense problem. Crime and violence are definitely issues that need to be addressed more. But I’ve found that as long as you take precautionary measures, you are less likely to be affected by these problems.
3. Visible Poverty
One reason why I wanted to work with Adelante was because I knew that poverty is a widespread issue in Honduras. I was aware of the fact that Honduras is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. However, I expected to see most of the destitution in the rural areas of the country. I regrettably came to the realization that heartbreaking poverty is visible in all parts of the country – even in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, it is something that you do not get used to seeing.
This is on the list not because I expected to encounter mean or hostile people here, but instead because of how different the people are compared to back home. I’ve found that Hondurans are incredibly welcoming to strangers, something which is not too common in the US. Our clients have welcomed me, a stranger, into their homes with much warmth and hospitality. This friendly environment is everywhere – on the streets, in shops, etc. Even though I am clearly a foreigner, I’ve mostly been treated with kindness and respect.
Life in Honduras has definitely been a change, but certainly not a negative one. Of all the unexpected discoveries, the best one has been how much I’ve enjoyed Honduras so far. I expect the rest of my stay will be as pleasant as the past three weeks have been.