Living Conditions In Tegucigalpa Inspire Awe-Struck High School Students

By: Tom Malone

Our 12-person van nearly crashed as we sped around the corner of a major street in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Cars flew by us at alarming speed and we reciprocated. After a few NASCAR-like maneuvers, we arrived at our downtown destination for the first time as the sun set.

My group, composed of high school students and adult supervisors, walked cautiously through avenues and alleyways in the dark, humid atmosphere of June 2005. After wandering for thirty minutes, we strolled through a small, dimly lit alley and entered the door of a seemingly hidden church where we gave a presentation.

After the presentation, we left with the Honduran crowd of about 50 people. While walking to our van, we observed various churchgoers enter their homes in the same alleyways that we passed on our way to the downtown chapel. We received an eye-opening glimpse into the living conditions of Hondurans residing in the downtown section of the country’s capital.

Their homes appeared more urbanized than the tiny two-room wooden shacks that we saw regularly in our rural community, but the effects of poverty were evident. The roofs of many one- or two-story condos sunk into the homes. Artistic gang-related or politically-charged graffiti plagued every exterior wall and even the front doors of these residences.

Main thoroughfares had new shopping centers that rivaled those in the United States and other freshly constructed buildings. Sure, some of the city showed evidence of modernity, but it was the raw urban beauty of the capital city that captured me.

A few days later, we cruised through the street markets that salespeople set up in similarly urban buildings. The authentic atmosphere remained constant with our night’s alley walk.

As we drove away from downtown to our rustic jungle environment residence, we passed suburban ghettos on the outskirts of the city in which citizens lived in wooden shacks with tin roofs. Lavish mansions and average American-style suburban homes exist in the capital city, but Tegucigalpa spoke through its poverty-stricken residences.

*Photo By: Tom Malone
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