|A corner store in Tegucigalpa, where robberies are just how it is|
We've just finished four days of orientation with the Cuso International team in Honduras, and have found ourselves staggering back to our little hotel each day worn out from paying attention to all the new things we need to know. New culture, new reality, new language, new way of operating - much, much slower than we're used to, but that can be surprisingly exhausting in these early days.
I catch myself trying to will people to hurry up. I'm not particularly punctual, but I'm positively on time by the standards of our new land. Can't imagine how I will get used to Canadian culture again once I finally succumb to the laid-back pace of Latin America.
Emergency preparedness takes on much more immediacy in a country that really does have emergencies. Cuso program director Cecilia Sanchez noted that during the military coup in Honduras in 2009, people were ordered to remain in their houses for two days, and water and power were cut in some areas. When the devastating Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998, more than 10,000 people died and almost 80 per cent of Honduras' infrastructure was wiped out, setting the country back 50 years in the opinion of the leaders of the day.
So while I never quite got around to taking emergency preparedness seriously in Victoria, where the threat of the Big Earthquake always seemed theoretical, I feel quite sure I'll be stashing canned goods and water for just such emergencies once we settle into our new home in Copan Ruinas in another month or so.