When J called to tell me we were moving to Honduras, I realized we were heading to a region about which I knew almost nothing. When I saw the list of open posts, I was fairly confident we would end up on the other side of the world. After 6 years of Marine Corps life, I should’ve known better! Now, we’re facing a country, region, language, and culture that are (understandably) very foreign.
So I set the goal to read at least one article about Honduras or Central America every day. For those interested in this crazy place we’re about to call home, I will try to compile a few of the most interesting or insightful articles I read each month.
Of particular interest to me this time around was this piece in Politifact that disputes a meme comparing gun control and homicide rates in Honduras and Switzerland.
I’d seen it a few times in my incessant Google searching about Tegucigalpa and wondered whether it had merit. I was hoping, based on the title, that maybe the author would convince me Honduras wasn’t that scary. No such luck. Turns out Honduras does indeed boast the highest homicide rate in the world. The point of the article is really about context, or lack thereof. The only constant between the two countries is the population size, and no, Switzerland doesn’t require gun ownership.
“There’s really no point in comparing the challenges of Honduras, a lower middle-income country in Central America beleaguered by corruption and violence from the drug trade and gangs, to Switzerland, an affluent country nestled in western Europe.”
Another piece that caught my eye was this article from the Miami Herald about the Central American immigrant crisis.
I’ve fervently followed the refugee crisis in Europe for several weeks now, but was completely blind to the fact that the same problem was happening in our own backyard. The article focuses on the experience of Hondurans trying to sneak through Mexico and across the U.S. border. Those who get caught along the way are bussed back to Honduras. Many of them end up in Tegucigalpa at El Edén, where they are processed and sheltered for a few days until they’re sent off to their own devices. Unsurprisingly, many of them head north again as soon as they’re able:
“But just about every frustrated Honduran migrant who ends up there says the same thing:
‘Voy a hacer otro intento.’
Meaning, “As soon as possible, I’m going to make another attempt to get into the United States.”
That’s definitely the plan for a 17-year-old arrival at El Edén named Keler. He was headed to Miami when authorities in southern Mexico booted him back. But almost his entire family lives in the U.S. — and he says if he returns to his town north of Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital, the violent gang that rules his neighborhood will either forcibly recruit him or kill him.”
No warm and fuzzy pieces this month. I’m hoping once we get to know Honduras, our outlook will change. Until then, here’s an older bit of good news about Honduras (or at least something familiar). Just when I thought we were getting away from Walmart culture…