One of the reasons LAM sent us to Costa Rica to study Spanish is because it's such a good in between for missionaries heading to the field. There is a whole lot of new and different here, but there is a lot that is the same or at least very similar to the states.
Costa Rica is the exception to Central America. There is a 95% literacy rate here. And there is a larger middle class. That's not to say everything is coming up roses in Costa Rica. They have problems, poverty and issues. But they have a stable goverment, money goes to schools, and things are more or less stable here.
Honduras is a different story. Remember when I said 90% of kids grow up in a one parent home? Yeah, and the average yearly income is somewhere around $1,000 USD. No one drinks the water from the tap, it's assumed that when you ask for water at a restaurant, you are ordering a bottle of water. There is a wide, wide gap between the wealthy and the poor, there is really no middle class.
This is even more true in the country. Two of the biggest differences we encountered were lack of clean water and spotty electricity.
Manantial de Vida is close to a little town, Pinalejo. For example, Pinalejo's water source is a mountain river up the mountain a ways. There is an attempt at filtering the water on it's way down the mountain, but really that's to filter out leaves and sticks. There is no attempt at cleaning up the water to make it safe to drink. If people can afford it, they buy those 5 gallon water jugs for clean drinking water. If they can't, well, they can't.
And to add to all this, a water study was done on the town's water supply and it was determined that 60% of the water was being lost through faulty pipes. And then another 20% gets lost because of poor water management, like not turning off faucets. While we were out at camp, Pinalejo was going on 5 days of the city water being shut off.
Camp uses the same source of water as town, but we have a pipe that branches off to camp before the filter systems, so we don't experience the same loss as town does. But it's still full of bacteria and other not so nice stuff.
We have been prepping the boys on keeping their mouths shut in the shower, to not drink water from the tap (even here in Costa Rica we don't drink straight from the tap). But there is something so strange about the very thing you need to live, water, is deadly. What does that do to a mental state of a nation?
I also discovered how much slower I moved in the kitchen because of it. There was one time in particular, I found grapes for the boys, such a treat here in Central America. I brought them home, bleached them, and then, I turned the faucet on and started rinsing them. I looked at Cindy and just groaned! I had to start the process all over again! Someone said to me "it just takes longer to sustain life here." Yep.
We were also warned about frequent power outages. And by frequent I mean like once a day. This is part of the reason we bought a gas stove! We'll be able to cook at least.
But I do think the power outages will take some getting used to. We are going to need to reordering our life to be less reliant on electricity. Things like using a French press instead of an electric coffee maker. We have heard of several ideas on how to provide alternative power sources that we need to investigate to power things like the refrigerator and fans. You know, just the basics. I wish I could explain it all out to you. I can't. I know it has something to do with some car batteries and some wires. Yeah. Sorry about that one.
Anyway, all of this to say, there are some very real daily challenges that we will be dealing with. We are blessed enough to be able to have ways around these things, unlike so many Hondurans. And we are praying that we can be a blessing to those we come in contact with because we have been blessed.