Friday, May 2, 2008
I am now in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. For those of you who don´t know our background, Steve and I studied international Development in Teguc for a semester last spring. That is where the idea for this project began. Steve is not down here yet since he still has to graduate from Westmont. I will be meeting up with him next week in Guatemala City. Despite our skeleton crew of 1, I will do my best to give you some background from the starting point of our journey. Tegucigalpa has seen a lot of growth in the last few decades. Similar to most other third world countries, as work becomes more industrialized and farming more mechanized, many people have moved to the city to find work. As a result, informal neighborhoods have sprung up around major cities. I am staying in one of these neighborhoods called Nueva Suyapa. Although Nueva Suyapa´s population is generally poor, there are many organizations, churches, and businesses working here. Several years ago the main road into Nueva Suyapa was paved and many of the residents are receiving legal titles to their land. Development is happening here quite rapidly but the evidence of poverty is still prevalent. Opportunities for work are scarce, especially for the majority of people who have not received a high school education. Wherever you go you can see people selling mangoes, brooms, water, candy, and any number of other things on buses and street corners. In Nueva Suyapa there are some nice houses but many are no more than wood and tin shacks clinging to the hillside along dirt alleys. For those who have plumbing, water comes every 15 days (each house has a tank that gets filled so the water lasts more than a day). Despite the poverty I can´t help but say Nueva Suyapa is also beautiful. Don´t ask me to explain how. I have tried and I can´t. you will just have to take my word for it or come see for yourself.
Deciding to leave a place like this in order to support your family by working in another country can´t be easy. If this is all you know, the U.S. must seem like a very foreign place.
Over the next few days I will be talking to several residents of Nueva Suyapa who have family who left to find work either in the States or in Europe. I hope to discover how the decision to leave happens and what life is like for the families still here in Honduras. If you have questions you want me to ask families here, please send a comment to this post and I will be sure to bring them up.
Until then, Que Dios Les Bendiga,
at 8:57 AM