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Rich in cultures and history, seven native indigenous groups still remain in Honduras. I got a chance to visit one of them, La Pintada, a Ch’orti (Chorti) village, just outside the town of the Mayan ruins. There are around 4200 Ch’orti people living in Honduras, the second largest population in Central America.
The Ch’orti people are direct descendants of the Maya and speak Ch’orti – the indigenous language. Their belief is based on admiring and adoring nature. But the remaining Ch’orti’ people living in Honduras speak Spanish and practice Catholicism.
Corn (maiz) and beans (frijol) are the basic elements of food. Maiz, the essential ingredient is prepared in many ways: tortillas, tamales, and alcoholic drinks – chicha.
Located in a remote area, on single dirt footpath the village can only be reached by foot or horseback. Passing through cornfields, pastures, and vegetables and I still have not reached the village.
After reaching the Los Sapos, a small archaeological site that served as a Mayan maternity ward, on top of a hilly mountain lies La Pintada indigenous village.
The village has one small school, dilapidated homes and no electricity. The school is the only building with electricity. Candles and kerosene lamps are the main sources for lights. The Pintada people rely mostly on agriculture and selling dolls made out of corn husks to tourists, as their source of income. Since there are not many tourists visiting Honduras because of the perceived level of crimes, La Pintada is very much affected.
If you stay long, the kids will sing you a song in their native language and call out $1.00 dollar to buy their homemade dolls.
Besides from the poverty, there is beauty in the place. On top of the mountain is a breathtaking panorama view of the town of Copan Ruinás. The colorful murals tell the history of the people. The smiles on the children’s faces give you hope.
Ways to help
One way to help the Ch’orti people is to take a tour to learn about their culture and buy their beautiful crafts.
Also, there are non-profit organizations whose mission are to help these underserved areas.
- The Mayatan Foundation owns and operates the Mayatan Bilingual School. The Foundation is a registered non-profit organization in Copán Ruinas, Honduras. The Mayatan Foundation pool together resources every year to help sponsor these children.
- Hope For Honduran Children Foundation was established to help improve the lives of children ravaged by conditions of extreme poverty.
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