Honduras offers natural scenic beauty and variety as well as a favorable climate in a semitropical setting. The Peace Corps has enjoyed a long and proud history in Honduras. More than 5,000 Volunteers have served as since the inception of the program in 1963.
Peace Corps/Honduras works in the areas of HIV/AIDS prevention and child survival, business, protected area management, water and sanitation, municipal development, and youth development. Volunteers in these six projects work in an integrated community development framework, meeting the expressed needs of the communities where they serve.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Honduras
Times have changed since the first lady of Honduras, Doña Alejandra Bermudez de Villeda Morales, accompanied the first training class of Peace Corps Volunteers to Honduras in 1962. Over the past 43 years, more than 5,000 Volunteers have served in Honduras in a wide range of project areas, including health, fisheries, beekeeping, animal husbandry, special education, vocational education, small business, and agriculture. Project areas and numbers of Volunteers have changed in response to the changing needs of the country. Projects such as fisheries, beekeeping, and education were phased out as Honduran people and institutions developed the capacity to continue the work on their own. Other projects, such as municipal development, HIV/AIDS prevention, and business development, have been initiated or have evolved with technological advances, increased globalization of world markets, and other developments.
In response to the crisis caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the number of Volunteers in Honduras increased dramatically. Today an average of 200 Volunteers work in the western, eastern, and southern regions of Honduras. In 2003 Peace Corps/Honduras expanded its program to the north coast of Honduras.
There are two published Peace Corps Experience books in print. "Triumph and Hope; Golden Years With the Peace Corps Honduras," by Barbara E. Joe describes service between 2000 and 2002 (Barbara Joe, 2008). "South of the Frontera; A Peace Corps Memoir" by Lawrence F. Lihosit describes service between 1975 and 1977 (iUniverse, NY, 2010).
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Honduras
Volunteer housing varies according to the area of the country and its climate. In much of the southern region, houses are open and airy to provide ventilation. Houses tend to be more closed in mountainous areas. Some Volunteers live in houses made of adobe, while others live in houses made of wood or cinder blocks or in apartments. Roofing generally consists of clay tiles or corrugated metal. Most Volunteer houses have electricity and running water, though the source of water is often outside the house and water may flow only sporadically. Housing in rural sites may have outdoor latrines instead of indoor plumbing.
Peace Corps/Honduras will provide Volunteers with one secure housing option upon site assignment where Volunteers must live for at least the first two months. Peace Corps/Honduras may also suggest other housing options that can be explored by Volunteers after the initial two-month period. Volunteers will not be assigned to communities where adequate housing is not available.
The Peace Corps expects Volunteers to use good judgment in deciding where and with whom to live after the initial time period. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to live with a family and to take the necessary time to choose a living situation that considers community norms, language acquisition, and personal safety.
During the site-selection process, project teams will determine the availability of adequate housing. If no options are available, the site will not host a Volunteer. Safe and secure housing is a priority, and Peace Corps/Honduras will help you work with the landlord to make any necessary modifications to improve the safety and security of your home, such as adding deadbolt locks and bars on windows. Additionally, the Peace Corps makes an effort to select sites that offer reasonable and safe transportation. Keep in mind that rural areas of Honduras are more rustic than rural areas of the United States.
Peace Corps Volunteer sites are located throughout Honduras with the exception of the departments of Gracias a Dios and the Bay Islands. The site in which you eventually serve will be selected based upon the local needs of the community, your skills and interests, and the overall goals and objectives of the Peace Corps/Honduras project in which you will work.
Main article: Training in Honduras
Prior to becoming a Volunteer, you will participate in an 11week training program in Honduras. Pre-service training (PST) incorporates experiential learning and adult learning methodology that is meant to challenge you while preparing you to begin your work as a Volunteer. Though pre-service training can be taxing at times, Peace Corps/Honduras works to ensure that it is challenging and fun.
Upon arrival in Honduras, trainees move in with host families after a brief introductory session. The first four weeks of training take place in a large group and include trainees from various projects. In the fifth week, most trainees will move to other communities for field-based training, which focuses on the practical application of project technical skills.
Although you were recruited for a particular project and your training will be tailored to the requirements of that project, all Volunteers are considered to be community development facilitators. You will receive theoretical and hands-on training in community analysis, participatory analysis, gender analysis, community development, and integrated community development and become familiar with current development efforts in Honduras. As the weeks pass, you may find that you need to adapt both existing skills and new skills to the work environment in Honduras.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Honduras
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. Peace Corps/Honduras maintains a clinic with four full-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary health-care needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and treatment, are also available at regional medical facilities. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported to a major hospital in the capital and then, if necessary, medically evacuated to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Honduras
In Honduras, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Honduras.
Outside of Honduras’ capital and other large cities, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is viewed as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Honduras are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Honduras, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
- Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Honduras
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Honduras?
- What is the electric current in Honduras?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Honduran friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Honduras?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
Main article: Packing list for Honduras
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Honduras and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Honduras.
Your clothes should be sturdy enough to hold up under rough wear and laundry techniques and free of the need for ironing. The amount of professional versus casual clothing you bring should be based on personal preference and on the type of work you will be doing. For example, a water and sanitation Volunteer probably needs more casual clothes for work than does a small business Volunteer. Shorts are acceptable in limited circumstances, but especially in larger towns and for athletic activities. Women, however, should also bring sweatpants that are comfortable to work out in. Note that big and tall sizes are often difficult to find in Honduras, as are women’s shoes larger than size 8 and men’s shoes larger than size 10-1/2. Because there are many good tailors and seamstresses in Honduras who can make many styles at a reasonable price, you may want to bring patterns or pictures of clothing that they can copy or adapt for you.
- General Clothing
- For Men
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
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Contributions to the Honduras Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Honduras. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Honduras
- Amigos de Honduras
- List of resources for Honduras
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports