Friday, June 6, 2014

Honduras an amazing country

The small country of Honduras is not all that well known. When it's in the news, it's usually because of drugs, murders or both. While Central America itself is not all that positively looked upon, Honduras is generally regarded as the worst of the lot. Even Honduras' direct neighbours regard it as a dangerous place. In the previous posts we have, hopefully, shown another side of Honduras. When I think about Honduras I see friendly people in a country that is probably the poorest in Central America but maybe also the purest. 

The idea for this post came when we were having lunch at one of the many small roadside cafe/restaurants you'll find everywhere in Honduras. We were closing in on the border with Nicaragua but a part of me wanted to turn around and explore much more of this country. As it was we were under time pressure generated by family members that have no sympathy for what we are doing and not a clue as to why it's important to us. The lovely lady of the small restaurant understood it much better. She wanted to know everything we were doing and even made a photo of us having lunch at her place.

It's difficult to describe a country so different to what we are used to in places like Australia, Europe and North America. Honduras' nature is stunning, there is no doubt about it. But at the same time there is more to it than that. Before we crossed the border into Mexico my photos of Canada, Alaska and the USA were all about stunning nature and perhaps an occasional 'different' person. Here it's all about people, despite being surrounded by beautiful nature. They are colourful, enthusiastic, outgoing and so full of life and energy that you can't help but smile. 

A dear Mexican friend of ours described it perfectly once when she explained how her American husband drives: 'he's staying in his own lane, neatly between the lines and stays between the lines'. Sitting in Honduras, only hours away from crossing into Nicaragua, I realised what she meant. She not only described the 'western' way of driving but our whole way of life. Looking around anywhere in Mexico and Central America there are no lines and no rules to follow. It may be a little unnerving to some but we think it's great! 

Maybe the absence of lines also resulted in a more exuberant way of living. They somehow manage to find joy in everything and that makes life so much more worth living. Enjoying the food served by our wonderful host along the 'main' road makes me realise we are going to miss this pace! 

There is also a pureness here which makes me realise how far removed we are from the real world. A couple of years back I was amazed that kids on my schoolbus had no idea where their food came from, they thought it was made at the supermarket… Depressingly enough they were actually kind of right too. Everything we eat comes from the supermarket and the whole food industry behind it. They control what we buy, what we eat and how much. It's scary to say the least that there are people employed by the food-giants to study our eating and buying behaviour. They study what we eat, which route we take through the shop, what we look at and what we can be lured to buy and eat… It's in sharp contrast to what we see in places like Honduras, where fish is bought from the guy that went out and caught it. He more than likely used an old wooden rowing boat for it too. Compare that to giant trawlers that scoop up everything and shrink wrap it for your nearest supermarket. That seems to be somehow what we call normal.

Of course poverty is not good, but I do wonder if we measure poverty just a little bit too much by money alone. Would the people that work with ox and horse drawn carts lead happier lives with a 500 hp truck and the mortgage that goes with it? They seem happy enough as they are. The exuberant way of life means we see the weirdest things on the road too. Moving a football team usually means a huge luxury coach where everyone locks himself into their own cocoon called an iPod, here they jump in the back of the truck and have a great time.

We will miss Honduras!