As a foreigner in the developing world there are certain necessary precautions that one must heed in order to feel and be safe. BECA takes our volunteers' well-being very seriously and we do our best to provide sound, up-to-the-minute advice regarding these issues.
Upon arrival, as part of our BECA Summer Institute training, all volunteers will attend a BECA orientation on health and safety issues while in Honduras. During this time we will openly address all concerns and outline a set of safety precautions and recommendations for our team to follow. During our 16 years as an organization, we have a sound safety record and we believe that by following the advice compiled from this collective experience, our volunteers will minimize the risks involved.
In Cofradia, Vida Nueva, and Macuelizo -- as in all Central American towns -- there are areas that should be avoided, special attention will be given during the safety orientation to outline what areas (including nearby San Pedro Sula) are considered safe or unsafe at different times of the day and night.
Some examples of the sensible precautions we ask our volunteers to follow would be:
- Volunteers should avoid carrying items of value on their person while in Honduras as criminals and pickpockets target foreign visitors who display these items openly.
- We encourage our volunteers to avoid walking alone at night in most areas of Honduras and to be extremely alert and aware of one's surrounding at all times.
- We encourage our volunteers to remain in groups.
- When outside our schools' communities, volunteers should always keep in their possession a photocopy of their U.S. passport.an additional copy will be kept on file by the BECA In-Country Director.
- Laptops and iPods should not be displayed in public.
- Volunteers should not bring expensive jewelry.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' website where the current travel warnings and travel alerts, as well as the worldwide caution can be found. American citizens in Honduras should frequently check the U.S. Embassy's website for the latest information on demonstrations
While living in Honduras, food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness. It's almost impossible to live a year in a tropical climate without dealing with the occasional stomach issue, but by taking care with fruit and vegetables and NEVER drinking tap water the frequency and severity can be reduced. These occurrences can be treated with standard medications you can bring with you or obtain from a pharmacy in Honduras. If the issue becomes more severe volunteers have access to a doctor and local pharmacy that have treated us for the past 10 years and are very accommodating to our needs. For more severe health related issues or emergencies such as broken bones, the hospitals in nearby San Pedro Sula are safe, clean and equipped with modern medical equipment.
Also to be aware of while in Honduras is dengue fever. Unlike traditional mosquito-borne illnesses, there is no medicinal prophylactic or curative regimen for dengue. During certain times of year when dengue is prevalent, we encourage our volunteers to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes to reduce their chances of contracting dengue.
Prior to visiting Honduras we suggest that all volunteers visit their doctor and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for detailed information and recommended vaccinations for Central America.