Tag Archives: US Peace Corps

More hard core than the Peace Corps?

21 Sep

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”

~ Clifton Fadiman

As you may have noticed, when researching Honduras one of the ‘fun facts’ I discovered was that in January of this year the US Peace Corps pulled out all of its volunteers from Honduras due to safety and security concerns.

My main worry about this is that the withdrawal of 158 volunteers has seriously depleted the ‘potential husbands’ pool in Honduras. My grand plan of meeting and falling wildly in love with a dashing fellow volunteer may now have much lower odds!

On a more serious note, before you all start panicking, you can trust in the fact that AFS would not send me anywhere that was too dangerous. The organisation has an excellent safety and risk management system. Worry warts can read more about it here.

The Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website currently recommends that travellers exercise a high degree of caution, which is the second lowest out of four levels.

Not that I’m downplaying the risks here. Honduras can be considered a dangerous country and I will need to be extra vigilant about my personal safety while I’m over there. Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are known as the Northern Triangle, which is recognized as one of the most violent regions in the world.

Honduras is currently facing many socio-political issues such as extreme poverty, gang violence, high crime levels, the illicit drugs trade, corruption, limited health resources and high rates of disease. Just to name a few.

When reading about the Peace Corps’ decision to withdraw from Honduras I did find it a bit comforting to note that there wasn’t a particular incident that had caused the review. I did a bit more digging and read on a couple of PCV blogs that the majority of the volunteers were considered safe in their assigned locations, but it was travelling to other areas within the country that was causing the most concern.

All that being said though, I’ve decided to find and enroll in a self defence course before I leave. I’ve done one before, but I think it will be good to get a refresh before I head over there.

And speaking of refreshes, it’s probably time to update my first-aid qualifications too. Watch this space.

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Fun facts about Honduras

18 Sep

“Gracias a Dios que al fin salimos de esas honduras.”

~ Christopher Columbus

Here are some ‘fun facts’ about Honduras that I’ve found in my recent googlings:

  • Honduras has a population of roughly 8,250,000. Tegucigalpa is the capital city.
  • Around 59% of Hondurans live below the poverty line, and 36% in extreme poverty.
  • Honduran cuisine’s most notable feature is that is uses more coconut than any other Central American cuisine in both sweet and savoury dishes.
  • According to the United Nations, Honduras has the highest per capita homicide rate in the world, with 91.6 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants. (By way of comparison the US rate is 4.2 per 100,000 and Australia’s rate is 1.0 per 100,000)
  • Honduras has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
  • In January 2012 the US Peace Corps pulled out all its volunteers from Honduras due to safety and security concerns.
  • The orchid is the national flora of Honduras, and the white-tailed deer is its national fauna.
  • Honduran roads are poorly lit and poorly marked. Major cities are connected by an inconsistently maintained system of paved roads.
  • ‘Honduras’ literally means ‘depths’ in Spanish. Columbus is traditionally quoted as having said “Gracias a Dios que al fin salimos de esas honduras” (Thank god we have finally come out of those depths) while sailing through storms along the Northern coast.