The group started the day by taking a tour through the city to see all the different murals OYE had painted. Each mural had a different theme. The first mural had people picketing, asking for peace and rights. Another mural touched on the importance of recycling and taking care of the environment. There was a mural that focused on the importance of healthcare. Each mural was beautiful while still sending out a strong message. They were located near schools, the library, and the medical center. The most special part of the trip was being able to see the mural that the ASB students made last year.
Also on our trip we visited the municipal center of El Progreso. In the center people are able to pay taxes and fees. Also there is space for events and expositions. It was located in a nice park that had a famous clock tower. We also visited the school that one of the scholars attends. It is called Perla and surrounding the school grounds are big, green mountains.
Next we returned to OYE where a panel talked about the national reality of Honduras. The members of the panel were some of the OYE scholars and some important community members like a man from Radio Progreso, the local board of directors of OYE, and someone from Visión Mundial (World vision). The panelists talked about three themes: security, education, and health.
The first topic of security started by touching on how Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world. There are roughly 3,547 deaths every six months or an average of 20 deaths a day. The government is trying to focus on cracking down on delinquents; but this tends to be an excuse to ignore the bigger problems. Their main priority is repression when it should be prevention and rehabilitation. This is especially important in young people because the majority of deaths are in youth. Very few students continue education past primary schools. They may turn to gang activity or drug trafficking in order to make enough money to take care of their families. The reality is that 20% of the population has 80% of the resources. Many families in Honduras live off of 2 dollars a day.
The biggest way to solve security issues is education. The law on paper is great. It says that education should be free for all. In theory it’s great, free education for all. The issue with it is the lack of resources. A school may have walls but no roof, it may have roofs and walls but no desks, or it may have roofs, walls, desks, but no teacher. Kids come to school because they truly want to learn but they find a lack of resources to supplement their education. The country invests a very high GEP in education but 99% of it goes to administration costs.
The last issue touched on was health. There are private hospitals, semi private hospitals, and public hospitals. Very few people have insurance that pays for them to go to nice hospitals. At the public hospitals they are able to evaluate patients but may not have the medicine to give to patients. One hospital was only supplied medicine once a year and the medicine was gone in three weeks. In one instance a doctor wouldn’t show up for weeks on end. There isn’t a culture of preventable medicine here. There is a huge problem with birth control and teen pregnancy.
Although these issues sound bleak, there is still some light in the situation. In a study done Honduran citizens were asked if they had hope or fear for the future. 70% of the people asked said they have hope for the future. Honduras has enough resources to be a strong, country; they just need a way to organize and get rid of the corruption.
Next we worked on our two projects. Half of us went and worked on the mural we are painting. The mural’s theme is taking care of the environment, specifically: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The other half of us continued working on the educational campaign. We cut out stencils to decorate recycling barrels and did some painting. It was really fun to work together and keep getting to know the scholars.
For dinner we went to the hotel and had chicken and potato salad. Then we danced! We showed off some American songs like the Cupid Shuffle and Wobble. Next the OYE scholar Oscar showed us salsa, bachata, and meringue. We are finally starting to get a hang of moving our hips. We worked up a sweat though so all of us jumped in the pool fully clothed! It was such a fun way to end the night!