Que Ondas from Honduras!

Rafa, our driver, and I in Yamaguare

For the past few days, I’ve been going out to the community, Yamaguare, and surveying the adults living there. My GB partner, Rachel Gutierrez, and I have been getting great responses to our survey and all of the community members have been eager to participate.

Our survey is a collection of questions measuring different forms of empowerment. It covers economic empowerment, decision making capabilities, self-image, differences in perceptions of gender, educational opportunities, and communication within households and between the women in the community. We use a mixed methods approach, having some of the questions being multiple choice and others free response.

On a typical day, Rachel and I have breakfast at 8 with our driver and then head out to the community. There, we walk around to neighboring homes and conduct surveys with the residents. Each survey takes between 20 – 30 minutes, depending on their capability to understand us and their willingness to share their insights. Usually, we break for lunch around noon and then continue working until 3-4 P.M. In a day, we survey on average 12-15 households. By 5:30 to 6 p.m., we are back at the compound and ready for dinner. The rest of the night is spent transcribing the responses and inputting survey answers. I’ve begun to fall into the Honduran rhythm of life!

Rachel and I hanging out at one of the houses we surveyed

However, we have encountered a few obstacles during our visits so far. One problem we experienced early on was ensuring that the community members understood our questions and concepts. For example, many had difficulty answer questions due to the higher level of vocabulary used in the surveys. Therefore, after the first couple of days, we sat down with our driver, Rafa, and revamped the survey to cater to the audience. I’ve also had difficulty surveying the men since they are usually out working in the fields until sundown. However, on Sunday we managed to interview quite a few, since they do not work that day.

Today, we successfully finished surveying in Yamaguare and will be resuming work on January 1st in Zarzal, a neighboring community of a higher economic status. Since we finished early, we stopped by one of the homes in the community and spent the afternoon hanging out with the kids. They taught us an extremely competitive version of hopscotch and I helped the older son with his English homework.

Walking through the community, Rachel and I also noticed that there were many preparations being made for the New Year fiestas. We stumbled upon a particularly grisly scene of the men killing and preparing cerdo, or pig. Throughout the day, there were various community members proudly walking around with their portion of the pig. After talking to our driver, we also found out that is customary for Hondurans to stay up until sunrise on New Years Eve, so I’m preparing for a crazy celebration tomorrow night!

Some of the men in the community with their New Years Eve dinner