Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…
Monday, November 26, 2012
I love Honduras.
I really do.
But there are some things…
I can so do without them…
Christmas is only a
month away, so that means firecrackers all around. For those who do not know,
every event is celebrated with
fireworks: weddings, birthdays, football victories and elections. Christmas is
of course no exception. Or the month leading up to it, for that matter.
By no means do I mean
to say that things in my home country Holland
are better, because they’re not. But as far as laws, rules and ethics about
fireworks are concerned, they are! If only people in Honduras would be a bit more aware
of the dangers of fireworks, especially in the hands of young children.
From my own youth I
remember how special it was when New Year came around (because in Holland
fireworks are only permitted on New
Year’s Eve!!!) and we were allowed to carefully and heavily supervised, light
some kid-friendly, low-risk (and admittedly, quite boring) rockets. With
cigarette butts, no lighters or matches allowed!!! (I guess up until somebody
figured out that more people die of smoking related illnesses than fireworks,
because I don’t think cigarettes are recommended any longer!).
But not in Honduras.
Here, fireworks are a socially accepted toy for kids from age 2 and up. I’m not
sure if there are any restrictions as to who can sell or buy, but if there are,
laws are definitely not reinforced. It will be only a matter of days before
fireworks will be sold on every street corner again, and don’t be surprised to
find a baby napping under a table full of cohetes.
Small kids will buy cheap
firecrackers while teenagers and fun loving adult men go for the heavy duty
stuff. The day after, mostly after Christmas or New Year’s Eve, while parents
sleep off their hangovers, kids are found roving around the street for bits and
pieces of bangers, wheels and rockets that can still be lit up. And thus risk
losing a hand or a third degree burn in a country where there are barely any
clinics that can adequately treat burns.
So yes, I really hate
firecrackers. They’re noisy, they’re dangerous, they scare the bejeezus out of
me, they scare the animals and they are also very contaminating. I was hoping
that the severe economic crisis here might affect the sales of fireworks, but unfortunately,
no, it doesn’t sound like it…