Listening to, Observing and Appreciating Honduras

To hear is not the same as to listen. To see is not the same as to observe and to have is not the same as to value. These concepts have made a difference during my morning walks through San Pedro Sula, the most berated city by international opinion in terms of crime rate, and yet the highest ranking city in Honduras as far as GDP goes.

When I feel overwhelmed by the news, or I begin to tire in my passion for my country, I take some time early in the morning and walk through the streets of this, my city. On these streets good news abounds because they are filled with hard-working people, who every day make an effort to do things the right way, to forge forward with their families, to educate their children, and to pave their way as small business owners.

I observe the faces of people who want to and who make an effort to give their best on a daily basis, to begin anew each and every day. All this with little thought to the sacrifices these beginnings have meant in the past and that perhaps there will be many more tomorrow, but this will not stop them.

Both young and old have the energy to raise the curtain, open up shop, and with a smile and a «buen día» they set up a pleasant journey for passersby.

As I travel along these quiet streets, I hear those who voice needs and those who share spontaneous joys. I hear the cries of children who have yet to receive their breakfast and parents who scold. I hear offers to strike a business deal, or the chatter of older people who long for the past.

Clothes vendors, food vendors, mousetrap vendors, herbs that can cure every ailment, handicrafts made with privileged hands: all is fair when earning one’s keep in a dignified manner because Hondurans are good, enterprising people, with honorable yet determined souls.

There is no age limit in order to work in the second most important city in Honduras. Both young and old have the energy to raise the curtain, open up shop, and with a smile and a «buen día» they set up a pleasant journey for passersby.

Are Hondurans lazy? No, perhaps there are few opportunities or they do not always know where to find them, but the desire to work is ever present.

I have always believed that a sampedrano’s mentality will only be understood by another sampedrano. From the moment we first awaken in the morning we have work on our minds, to set forth and move forward. The best example of this is the people you find in the commercial sector, where every day more than open up their businesses, they open up their souls with the hope that this day will be better than yesterday.

As I finish my stroll, I breathe in and remember that I have no reason to stop believing in Honduras and its people, because every day there is something or someone that inspires me more and more. I also think that if I stop believing, it would be equivalent to not believing in my own ability to do something to make a change in my country.

Next time you would like to really feel your homeland, leave your comfort zone and your fears behind and go out for a stroll in your city. Have a chat with the people you come across; in their voice and gaze you will find many reasons to build a Honduras full of opportunities, which is a responsibility that is solely yours and mine.

Elena Toledo
Elena is an educator by training and a social media specialist by conviction. Her passions are social development and human rights. She believes that citizen journalism is the best way to give a voice to the voiceless and hopes to show the best of the country through Buen Día Honduras.

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