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, in Honduras 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…