The United Nations has recently tagged Honduras as the world’s most violent country. Then, just yesterday news broke on a devastating fire in a crowded national prison, killing over 350 inmates, half of whom weren’t even convicted. These stories led me to reflect on the disheartening condition of this small Central American country which drew me in just six short months ago.
My visit to Honduras this past August lasted only a week – barely long enough to get one’s bearings when traveling to someplace exotic. My time in the capital Tegucigalpa was taken up with photography projects with Water With Blessings and the Fransiscans friars who hosted me. But in that short time I was lucky enough to experience a rich taste of the culture (traditional and modern) and to meet many generous, kind-hearted people. Within that time I also heard several wrenching stories of families tormented not only by poverty and lack of clean water, but also by ruthless gangs and horrific murders happening weekly in their neighborhoods.
The reasons for Honduras’ present violent and poverty-stricken situation are many and complex, more than a few of which are related to other countries in this volatile region as well as the USA. Still learning and researching, I do not know what the future holds for the country. I was only in Honduras for a week, but the people captured my heart. And at this time, as the news reminds me of them and things only seem to be getting worse, my heart goes out to them. I pray that those good, hard-working people I met may become the most powerful, peace-making force in their nation.