Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Downtown Tegucigalpa

Day two of Cuso in-country training, and I recognized part of what I'm liking about the moving to Honduras experience.
I'm way out of the zone where I know what to do and can handle things easily, and back learning and figuring new things out.
We spent the morning with a journalist and a translator learning about the history, politics, culture and economy of Honduras. I'd read lots, but it was much different having a discussion and trying to get my head around what was going on, what's ahead and how people here can hope to sort things out.
The experience was intensified because the discussion between the journalist, translator and Cuso rep was often in Spanish as they discussed what was going on. Jody could do better, but our former dog Jack used to stare at me with cocked head when I spoke to him, as if he was trying desperately to make sense of the words. I now know how he felt.
I'm trying not to leap to any conclusions based on little information, but the country is in a fascinating mess, with very little that actually works and no clear route out. The coup in 2009 was a big problem, there are few functioning political or legal institutions, drug traffickers are powerful, people are poor and the economy is hurting.
Oh, and they're early victims of climate change weather extremes.
It's not just a matter of avoiding poorly informed conclusions. Some 17 journalists have been killed since 2009.
We went to the centro with the journalist in the afternoon, and walked around a bit and saw the Museum of National Identity, which had some interesting stories, and a 19th century opera house. It's a scruffy core, with a lot of unemployed people and few prosperous ones, and a mix of century-old buildings and 1960s ones in disrepair. Jody said it reminded her of Havana.
But the journalist knew everybody, from street people to the museum director, and had a good open vibe that drew the same in return, and it didn't feel dangerous. (Though I would not go for an after-dinner stroll there.)
I'm liking it all, I think largely because I'm in a new situation and I'm learning and processing new stuff constantly. You forget how much you can slip into not-learning mode.

1 comment:

Denise said...

I understand the excitement of challenging yourself with new information, roles, outlook - it's what will keep us young.
Be careful, and keeping on holding up a window to the rest of us back here.