Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tropical Paradise

"Honduras now is like Costa Rica was twenty years ago."  Alain, the French-Canadian who owns and runs, with his Honduran wife Helen, the Villa Helen's hotel and restaurant on the beach a half-hour east of La Ceiba is talking about the potential of his adopted country: for tourist devlopment, and for a real estate market for retirees and investors looking for low taxes and inexpensive beachfront property.  There is another side to his optimism, one that I have heard expressed in various quarters here: hope that Honduras' recent nightmare of crime, corruption, and disorder is coming to an end.  Just down the beach is a fitting symbol of the recent period, in the form of a once-beautiful and luxurious beachfront home, abandoned and left to decay by its American owner.

The rutted dirt road that leads from the coast highway to Villa Helen's passes by some examples of a lost dream of a slightly different kind: modest one- and two-story cinderblock houses that were begun and never completed.  According to Alain this is due to the 30 to 40% interest rates that Hondurans frequently have to pay on construction loans.  It seems that the dream of owning one's own piece of paradise, at least in this country, is one that often leads to a rude awakening.

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Petaluma, California, United States
I am a priest in the Episcopal Church, and have been (among other things) an organic farmer and gardener, and a Zen monk. I have a lifelong interest in social and spiritual renewal on the basis of contemplative discipline, creative nonviolence, and ecological practice. In recent years my work has focused intensely on the responsibility of pastoral ministry in the humanistic, evangelical, and catholic branch of Christianity known as Anglicanism. I'm married with a daughter, and have three brothers and two parents.