Sunday, October 11, 2009

Santa Rosa de Copán - first impressions

We are starting to settle into our new lifestyle here in Santa Rosa. This is a very comfortable, vibrant community that is much more urban than Bisbee. Much of the town, including the parts that we live and work in, is located on a hilltop. The streets are narrow, cobblestoned, and frequently steep. The houses and buildings are generally close to the edge of the street or sidewalk, and mostly of an indeterminate age, within the past hundred years or so. Santa Rosa does not have especially grand colonial architecture, but it is all interesting and there is some form of historic district regulation which keeps a similar tone to things in the business district. We are still enjoying just walking around and discovering new and unexpected things - little grocery stores or pulperias on every block, several larger grocery stores, stores selling plasma tvs and motorcyles, small resturants tucked away here and there, montones of places with internet access and more. But when they are closed up, there are very few signs on the building fronts and the streets, so it can be very difficult to find a location that you thought that you remembered after hours, as all the building fronts still seem very similar to us.

This is a much more tranquil and safer community than the larger cities in Honduras. There are generally a lot of people out walking on the narrow sidewalks, with a density of pedestrians that you would have to go to a large eastern city to find in the states. There are also a ton of NGO´s from all over the world here. A couple have pulled out due to the political situation and posturing back at home, but there are people working here from Japan, Germany, Ireland, Colombia and the U.S. Because it a nice, comfortable town, it has been an attractive site in which to locate NGO´s and service workers, including Peace Corps. This is not the image of Peace Corps life that we expected, but on the other hand, it seems like a comfortable place to live and work and nothing about Peace Corps so far has really been what we expected.

We are still just settling in with work. We spent our first week mostly in offices here, getting acquainted with the programs. We did make one trip to a small town about three hours away - much of the distance and about half of the time was on paved roads, and the rest on a pretty tough dirt track. This gave us a little more appreciation for where we are not living right now, but we expect to be doing more in similar areas. The country is beautiful and very rugged. We also participated with a Habitat building project yesterday and got a good start on digging a foundation for a new home.

Lack of Spanish continues to be our largest frustration, but we are making slow progress. It was a tough night here last night when the U.S. beat Honduras in a World Cup qualifying match, although it was a very good game. The importance of soccer here cannot be exaggerated. Honduras must win on Wednesday to qualify for South Africa. (The U.S. qualified last night.) There are some signs that the political discussions fostered by the OAS are making some progress and they are continuing. It would be a good thing if there is at least enough progress so that the elections at the end of November can be recognized and they can try for a new start from that point. But everything is peaceful here and we are in good health.

We have rented a post office box here and would love to receive a postcard or two! Apdo. Postal 1779, Santa Rosa de Copán, C.P. 040101, Honduras, Central America.


  1. I was very impressed with the main mercado in Sta. Rosa where I was able to buy a much-needed fleece hoodie. Temperatures were much colder there in January than I expected. When you get the chance, head up to Gracias. There are some interesting Spanish colonial buildings, and the hikes in the Celaque park are great. Congrats again on finishing training and for getting assigned to Sta. Rosa!

    Maggie McQ.

  2. I worked for Soluz Dominicana and visited Honduras twice to support Soluz Honduras in the late 90's. RPCV from Dominican Republic. Visited Copan on one of the visits and loved it. Seems like a great site and close to the border with Guatemala and El Salvador.