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In Honduras, a typical family of campesinos (peasant farmers) has little or no land to farm, extremely limited education, and no opportunities to earn a decent living. Malnutrition is rampant and starvation is not unknown. Families are weakened by hunger and disease.
Many adults, particularly men, turn to alcohol and drugs in their despair, further weakening their family structure. Many women are abandoned by their husbands and are left to care for multiple children by themselves. In this society, the children are the ones who suffer most.
Health care is inadequate, and in many areas, nonexistent. Many women give birth in their homes with an untrained family member attending the birth. The infant mortality rate and mothers’ death rate during childbirth are high. In addition, sanitation is poor, causing many preventable disease and health problems. Large families live in straw or mud huts with dirt floors. They cook on wood-burning stoves inside their homes. The smoke from these stoves causes asthma for many family members, especially the young children.
In rural areas, Honduran children receive a deficient education in government schools. If a child’s family situation allows him/her to attend school, the child might be fortunate enough to graduate from sixth grade. Teachers, low paid and often poorly educated themselves, may come to school three to four days a week to teach classes. Two of the four hour school days are spent in recess. Many children simply pass through the government system. It is not uncommon to find a fifth or sixth grade student who is unable to read.