Thoughts from Madame Gumbeaux

Thoughts from Madame Gumbeaux

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Honduras Ex-pats Stop Blogging

When I first started blogging a few years ago, I was part of a tribe. The internet was awash with expatriates, Peace Corps workers, missionaries, and native Hondurans posting regular, fresh work from all parts of the country. Now, there's nary a blogger out there.

Where is LaGringa? Her Blogicito was the talk of Honduras for years. My friends and I  admired her work, we discussed her latest columns about current events, we longed to meet her. She's largely silent now. I miss Aaron Ortiz, a renowned writer from La Ceiba who wrote for Global Voices Online. And where is Todd Ellertson? Todd was the editor of the defunct Honduras Weekly. He also maintained an entertaining blog about his life in Tegucigalpa.

One outstanding exception is my friend, Trish, who continues to write regularly at Sowers for Pastors. I salute you, Trish. Soldier on, comrade.

I have a few theories:

1. It's too dangerous for bloggers to write about current events and political matters, especially in the past few years as violence escalates in Honduras. Journalists in Honduras are regularly murdered as are critics and whistleblowers.

2. The current economic crisis in the country has forced bloggers to leave for better wages and working conditions. Unemployment hovers near 30% of the population. Ellertson's paper folded, thus depriving him of a job. Ortiz was forced to leave the country to find better employment opportunities.

3. Those of us who remain are forced to live in near chaos. The government is unable, it would seem, to curb the murder rate or protect citizens from brazen extortion, kidnapping, and robbery. The banking system is awash with scammers at ATM machines as well as online security issues. The public school system is barely functioning, with students spending countless days each year out of the classroom as teachers strike for unpaid salaries. The list goes on.

Personally, I am forced to spend more of my time just trying to maintain my projects and my personal life in Honduras. Each day, I come home exhausted just trying to survive. Many nights, the quiet is interrupted by rounds of gunfire. Not a great environment to think of sanguine, perky posts of daily life anecdotes.

What's the future for the Gumbo? What's MY future look like in Honduras? I don't know.

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