Honduras. The country of good intentions and genuine smiles. However marred by a bad reputation of drug wars, crime, and corrupt politicians, my one on one experiences with the people here is what I base my opinion on. And it looks good, because the people here are some of the nicest I have ever met. Everyone says hello when passing, and a warm smile is usually always exchanged.
I smile because it is the universal language of love.
My Spanish is not the best, however it is not the worst, and I am practicing everyday. And, whenever I find myself at a loss for words I simply smile. Because everyone understands a smile. No matter what language you speak, a smile is a sign of good intention and kindness. With one motion, it melts barriers and taps into the innate bond that we as humans share. Because we are all here together, and are all striving and looking for the same things. Whether it be love, happiness, stability, or simply a hot meal. So next time your verbal communication skills fail you, simply tap into your nonverbal reserve. Smile.
A Little Bit About Gracias, Honduras...
Nestled in the mountains, shadowed by Mt. Celeque, surrounded by coffee plantations, and laced with streams that lead to the river...Gracias is truly a hidden gem. And a great off the beaten path destination. This town is one where the markets don’t sell fruits or veggies that are out of season, no ATM exists, and the futbol posts are fashioned from wooden branches. And even though Lonely Planet says it is a place that you can skip, I don’t think that one can get the full experience of Honduras without visiting this rustic, colonial town which resides in the poorest region of the country.
However, if all you want is a week beach vacation in a resort on Roatan, to be able to “tell” your neighbors that you experienced and roughed it in Honduras (I’m sure there was no television in your hotel room), then no, this place is not for you. But if your intention is to immerse yourself in the culture, and you have the genuine desire to get to know the people, then Gracias is indeed the perfect place for you.
I feel safe, at home, and at ease here. The air is fresh, the fruit plentiful, and the mountains are a perfect background for this new chapter. This time around, I will be teaching kindergarten at the Minerva Bilingual School for the next ten months, and in turn I am also looking forward to what this country and my students have in store to teach me.
Featured photo via flickr // nanpalmero