Photo Diary: Humans of Central America

This trip hasn’t gone entirely as planned.

Looking back on my travel itinerary elicits a bit of a chuckle. As of today I was supposed to be in Costa Rica, having already made my way through Nicaragua. I naively assumed I would move through Central America as I did Europe, spending 3 or 4 days in a given place and then moving on. At the time I didn’t realize how little sense that made.

As I type this I am on day 46 in Honduras – far longer than I expected to be here. This is not to say I regret anything. Far from it. My time here has had no shortage on  life-changing experiences or encounters with amazing people. In fact, the latter has much to do with staying much longer than anticipated in this wonderful country.

With that said I now present to you a photo diary featuring some of the humans I have encountered over my two month journey through Central America. Many of them I never spoke with, others I only got to know during a fleeting moment, and some I spent days or even weeks with. No matter the duration of our time together, I have found the people of Guatemala and Honduras to be friendly, curious, and endlessly passionate.

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A man participating in a government protest outside City Hall in Guatemala City. His sign translates to “Investigate the previous government thieves”
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A communal dance in the main plaza of Guate.
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A woman carrying her produce through the markets of Antigua, Guatemala.
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Volcan de Agua (Water Volcano) overlooking a children’s football match in Antigua.
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Soldiers standing by in Antigua’s central park. Crime is a concern all over Guatemala, though it has been trending downward in recent years.
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A couple sitting hand-in-hand in La Recollecion ruins in Antigua.
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With Nelson, my first Guatemalan friend. The native Mayan dialect is his first language, currently he is working on his third language, English. He practices with me frequently during my time in Semuc Champey, and I practice my Spanish with him. Read more about Nelson in my post about Semuc Champey.
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A woman relaxing in the natural pools of Semuc Champey.
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This young man tried to sell me beer as we floated down the Cahabon river on tubes.
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A monk in Antigua having a snooze in the shade.
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A woman cleaning her product in the markets of Antigua.
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Young women participating in the Independence Day celebrations in Xela, Guatemala.
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The students in the processions used innovative ways to craft their instruments.

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And some used more conventional instruments. Regardless it all sounded great, their music filled the streets of Xela all week. Clearly they worked very hard!
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Independence day celebrations also featured a variety of cultural dances in the streets.

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Some students getting ready to join the processions.
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The only picture I got of Henry (right), whom I spent a morning discussing the US’s impact on the Guatemalan Civil War. Here he is leading me through Calle Buenos Aires outside of Xela’s city center. Read more on Henry and I’s  harrowing conversation in my post.
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A boy chopping up coconut in Zunil, Guatemala.
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Plenty of smiles were to be found at the Xela Independence Day fair.
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A woman who sold me delicious peanuts dusted with chili pepper.
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There was also no shortage of eye appealing food items at the fair.

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And no lack of interesting scenes. Here a couple share a kiss and a man tries to balance while standing up on the tilt-a-whirl.
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This little girl was practicing her reading while her mother ran one of the games at the fair.
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Don Sergio, second from right, sitting with his son, Javier, at his left, along with other Guatemalan students he hosts. Sergio has been through a lot in his life, a few years ago he lost his son to a horrific car accident. Despite his loss, he is brimming with life and hosts students from all over the world in his house. Sergio provided me with wonderful accommodation for my time in Xela, read more about his story and my experience with him in my post.
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Bienvenida, one of my wonderful hosts for my time in the Honduran mountains. You can read more about her story in my post.
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With Angela and Danilo, two of Bienvenida’s awesome children.
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Children are often counted on to pitch in with the dirty work in the mountain communities. 
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Despite their youth I found them to be mentally tough and appreciative of their gifts.
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…while still retaining the inherent silliness typical of children across the world.
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A father and son in the community of Tule.
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Candida, my host in La Majada, carrying coffee plants. Read more about my time with this wonderful and brave woman in my post.
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A farmer on his way to the fields in La Majada.
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Had a nice conversation with my tuk-tuk driver as we tumbled down the mountains and over rickety bridges. He said he likes his job because he enjoys driving, and he often spots large birds of prey flying around.
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The beautiful island of Roatan features amazing, pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. It is also home to this guy, who sells banana donuts and sings a catchy tune about his product. Read more about my time on the island in my post.
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Tegucigalpa was bustling with activity during Halloween season. I was lucky enough to enjoy a show put on my students and their teachers at a shopping mall. Here is a rendition of “Up”.
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Jigsaw and a rocker.
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A young Maleficent being haunted.
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Why so serious??
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This young Jedi was one of many students from the Academia Europea to participate. This school helps young people learn English, German, French, and a variety of other languages.

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But I couldn’t make this post only about humans, right? Later on  I was treated to a dog show featuring a bevy of adorable costumed critters.
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Pugs always look so concerned, even when they’re dressed like vampires.
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Superfam
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“There’s a snake in my boot!”
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I followed Janary, an old friend of over 10 years, through many wonderful places in Honduras that I had yet to see. This was taken in Valle de Angeles, a beautiful town outside Tegucigalpa filled with some amazing street art.
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A woman throwing away trash in Valle de Angeles. The mural translates to “Recycle, no more trash”. I got lucky with the juxtaposition!
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Janary and I outside a grand church in Santa Lucia, another lovely town near the capital that has a distinctly European charm.
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Together we attended Oktoberfest Tegucigalpa, hosted by the German Embassy. I entered in a drinking contest and won by downing my German beer faster than four Hondurans, earning a free stay in a nice hotel (I knew all those college keggers would pay off some day). Concerns about my display in front of the Honduran diplomatic community were put to rest when I later had a nice conversation with the German Ambassador and Legal Counselor to Honduras, both of whom praised my performance! I also won the costume contest that night, but all credit goes to Janary who stitched together my Lederhosen using an old handbag.
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A few days later we attended Dia de los Muertos, hosted by the Mexican Embassy. Though we didn’t win, I thought we looked pretty ghoulishly awesome!
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The last human I will share with you is undoubtedly the most difficult to write about. Pictured here with Bienvenida, Roy Lara is the man I have to thank for my love of Honduras. I met Roy over 10 years ago in the city of Trinidad, where I participated in my first volunteer project in Honduras, planting trees and teaching English in the local schools. He also helped set up the time I spent in the Honduran mountains this trip.
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Roy with some of the trees we planted 10 years ago, now huge and towering things. As I said, words fail me when I try to describe how great of a man this is. Caring, passionate, patient, optimistic. Nothing I can write will do him justice.

4 thoughts on “Photo Diary: Humans of Central America

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