Welcome to the CED 499B Spring Break trip to Honduras

This 1 week field trip to Honduras is intended to provide a broad overview of the many issues facing local development initiatives in rural communities. The trip will expose us to local projects and initiatives developed during the last few years in the Yeguare valley to improve the local economy and reduce extreme poverty. These changes are slow and difficult and not always with positive results. Our hope is that this trip will help provide insight into difficulties of rural development.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

So far we have been visiting communities around Zamorano University. This is in the highlands, up in the mountains. We have discussed social and environmental problems with local government, community members, and NGOs.  It has been enlightening to see how the problems are linked and how there are not often easy solutions.  

We headed to the coast today, down south to the Gulf of Fonseca.  The people here live in a much more dry and hot environment.  We went with a marine biologist who works with local fishing communities, dealing with shrimp farming, tilapia production, and ecosystem degradation.  The people in the south do not have many opportunities for employment.  We wanted to see how they survive and make a living. 

We visited a shrimp processing plant where over 6,000 people benefit from the production of prawns. This private enterprise tries to make a profit and help the communities at the same time.  It’s a struggle, but without the employment they provide there would not be much for people to do here.  The infrastructure is lacking, and the climate can be harsh. 

We visited fishing communities that rely on the daily catch to make a living. When the weather doesn’t cooperate they don’t make a living. It’s a hard life, but the difficulties are masked by the vision of paradise that we see in the soft sand and palm trees lining the beaches.  Many of us asked what needs to change here. Problems are not always visible.  Even though they live in tropical paradise, the opportunities presented to these communities are not the same that we enjoy.  It is hard to imagine what it must be like to live in their situation, but being here and talking to them helps bring us closer to that understanding.

That is the goal of this trip, to see and understand how life is for others, and what they want to change and how that change can be brought about.  It is not always easy but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find solutions.  

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures once again - truly worthy of National Geographic! It's great you had the opportunity to take a look at the culture of a fishing community. Somehow you never take your food for granted after seeing how many people it takes to get it to your table. Thanks for your posts during the trip.