Monday, January 18, 2010

Honduran Cold

So something pretty interesting about Hondurans is that they are scared to death of the cold. Literally.

Currently Honduras is in the middle of rainy season, which is our equivalent of "winter". Between the months of November and February it rains several times a week and the temperature fluctuates between 65 and 90 degrees. Instead of snowy roads to worry about, we get roads with mud ruts a foot and a half deep. There are no ice patches, just rivers that wash out bridges and flood roads making it impossible to get to town (where we buy our food).

Honduran's responses to the cold:

Instead of saying "bad weather", Hondurans say "bad time". At the beginning of rainy season, one of the Hondurans nurses pulled me aside, and gave me a 20 minute lecture about how these "bad times" were coming, and how important it was for me to stock up on food incase the roads became impassable. I felt like the end of the world was around the corner, or we were about to have another Y2K experience, with all this talk of bad times.

So that's the picture of our "winters" down here. Pretty mild other than the rain factor. So when the temperature drops to a horrid 65 degrees outside, the Hondurans come into the hospital wearing hats and coats as if it were 30 degrees out. They will actually work inside with hats on if it is "cold" enough. When I am walking around in short sleeves thinking it's a lovely day, they are talking about how "icy" the weather is.

Most people come in with their ears stuffed with cotton so that the cold cannot enter their bodies.

I visited a friend the other day and took off my shoes upon entering her tile floored home. It was probably in the 60's outside. Over the next thirty minutes, I got asked about 5 times whether or not I wanted shoes to wear on the tiled floors. Despite me saying that I was perfectly comfortable, it worried my friend's mom so much, that she got up and found a pair of her shoes for me to wear.

One evening one of my patients asked for some hot tea, because his stomach was cold. I asked him how that was possible, and he said that he had a cold drink and now his stomach hurt because it was cold.

The list goes on.

I just find it so neat to discover cultural differences. I am sure that, in America, we do things that are weird to other not put cotton balls in our ears to keep out the cold:)


  1. wow interesting about the fear of the weather, and describing the condition of the culture; your writing pulls me into it. I imangined for a short while, that I was there experiencing it for myself.

  2. That's pretty interesting, Joelle. When people come from Cananda to Florida in the winter, they swim in the ocean! AND in the mountains in West Va. - they complain its sweltering with 80 degrees with no JULY!

    Thanks for your updates :)