How Many Does it Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?

Trip Start Sep 01, 1999
Trip End Dec 01, 2000

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Tuesday, October 19, 1999

I have now been in Nacaome for a week, and I guess that is what it feels like it has been too.  We are two days into the workweek and I feel like we have probably accomplished a day's worth of work.  It is not that there aren't hardworking people in the group, it is just that there are some that don't work at all.  They seem to be expert boondogglers for part of the time and flat out not doing anything the rest of the time.  Even when we go to do something, we take four people to do what two could do.  Today I went out to a community that was an hour and a half from the office, Las Delicias, with three others in order to fill out some paperwork and discuss a silo project that might happen in the coming months.  In fact there was a fourth whose role was nothing more than driver.  I know that one of the others could not drive but it is not all that difficult to learn, nor would it be that unreasonable for the one who drove to pass out the paperwork so that the other could stay in the office or head somewhere else to work on another project.  Oftentimes tourists come and the things they notice in a third world country are simple cultural differences that reflect an ignorance about the country which they are visiting.  These observations can be subtle stereotypes or they can be simple statements about what they are noticing.  One of the more frequent observations that I have received here and remember hearing in Ecuador is that people are not doing much.  Everywhere in Latin America, from big cities to the most rural of villages, you see people lounging around.  There doesn't seem to be a purpose to their behavior other than simply to pass the time, and you will see them doing it from 6:00 in the morning to late into the evening.  After a week in Nacaome I am beginning to see why there is so much lounging.  Although it is a chicken or egg problem, the two different sides of the problem are such:  either (1) the people do not have any sort of work and so they resort to lounging around, or (2) because there is so much lounging around, no one is out there creating work for others.  Fundamentally this is one of the deepest causes of poverty and a poor economy in Honduras.  How does one go about changing it? That is exactly the question every NGO is trying to solve. 
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