Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Memory Lane

Both of my children were born in the United States and have U.S. citizenship, however, my wife is Honduran and we wanted our children to have dual nationality.  Under Honduran law, my children were entitled to Honduran citizenship since the mother is Honduran.  So soon after the second child was born, my wife went to the Honduran consulate in New Orleans, and asked about the process, what she had to do, etc. 

The lady at the consulate looked at her, looked at the children, and then asked if they had U.S. citizenship.  My wife responded in the positive, that yes, they were U.S. citizens.  The consul worker then looked amazed and asked, "But why then would you possibly want them to have Honduran citizenship?"

Beyond the obvious putdown that the consul worker implied about Honduras, there are many reasons:

My wife is Honduran and proud of it, so we wanted to pass that on to our children.
Dual nationality opens up additional options.  What if the U.S. is in a war when they are eighteen?  What if there is a draft?
They can apply to an university as a Honduran, and maybe this will give them an extra edge in admissions (if the university is concerned about diversity, or attracting international students.
When they are grown, they will have the opportunity live in either country, depending on where they find more opportunities.  (Personally, I believe developing countries present more opportunities to suceed and make money if a person is well educated and has an entrprenurial spirit).

The list can go on...

There was a lot of paperwork, and it all had to be done in Honduras.  The consulate was of absolutely no use and could do nothing, not even give directions as to where she needed to start.  So my wife consulted an attorney friend in Honduras, stood in many lines for countless hours as various government offices in Tegucigalpa, filled out many forms, and today my children have dual nationality and two passports.

As to the consul worker...Well, this happened many years ago, and consul employees change  every four years with every change of government in Honduras (Its a financial perk for being friends with the winner). 

I guess one lesson that can be learned is that a 'professional' civil service has merits, and maybe secondly, that Honduran consulates (from my experience) are generally worthless...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Top Ten Things I Like About Honduras

10- Quirky Thirld-Worldness of it all
9- Climate. It seems just about perfect, except for when there is a drought or constant rains from tropical depressions.
8- Colonial villages. My family loves visiting small little colonial villages for an afternoon diversion. And they are everywhere, each unique in its own way. I especially like Santa Lucia, Valle de Angeles, Cedros, Copan Ruinas and Ojojona. Still waiting to visit Gracias.
7- Mayan history. It seems as if I can't visit Copan enough times. There are also some secondary sites such as El Puente that few people visit, but are diamonds in the rough nevertheless.
6- Natural Beauty. Honduras is absolutely beautiful, whether it's the Bay Islands or the Mountains.
5- Cost of Living. I can live much better in Honduras. In the USA, I simply can't afford the same lifestyle.
4-The private bilingual school system. My kids are getting a much better education in Honduras then they would in the USA. But, I regret the public school system doesn't afford any opportunities whatsoever for the average Honduran.
3- Pace of life. Sure, I like the hustle and bustle of the States from time to time, but the slow pace of Honduran life adds an immeasurable boost to my overall quality of life.
2- Family values. The sense of family is much more important in Honduras than in the USA. Children live at home longer, extended family (cousins, 2nd cousins,uncles, aunts, etc.) are all best friends.
1- My wonderful Honduran wife. What else can I say? God really blessed me on this one!!!