story / editorial
/ local news
written by Jaime Johnston & Thomas Tomczyk, photos by Thomas
Faces behind the Struggles and Success of Bay Islands
Government Medical Care
Roatan Hospital bustles with activity every day. The halls are crowded
with patients, spilling out into a courtyard. Even on a cool day,
the building is filled with hot, stale air. Physically, the paint
on the walls is peeling; the washrooms don't always function. There
are medicine shortages and long lines. Women in labor are sometimes
doubled up in beds; baby deliveries are happening on a rusted birthing
table. There are only 33 hospital beds available for tens of thousands
While waiting, people visit with the person next in line, sometimes
for hours. The janitors quietly squeeze by while they sweep the
floors. The nurses joke with each other as they move from room to
room. Doctors pause in the hallways to answer questions. These are
the faces of the Roatan Hospital. These interactions are not merely
passing moments, but instead become the foundation of our experiences.
Hynds de Syms looks at the long lines at the Roatan Hospital and
nods. Her face shows a learned patience. "Monday's always a
busy day," said Miss Catherine who arrived in the early morning
to see her doctor. Miss Catherine, of Coxen Hole, was diagnosed
with diabetes in 1976. Once a month, she comes for a check-up and
collects her insulin. "It's a lot cheaper than the private
hospital," said Miss Catherine. For her consultation and medication,
she pays the standard Lps. 2 fee. Sometimes, the hospital runs out
of her blood pressure pills. "When they run out, you have to
buy at an outside pharmacy and it's very expensive. Right now, they've
been out of my pills for a month," said Miss Catherine, whose
daughter, Hortence, is also a chronic outpatient of the hospital.
Nearly two years ago, 17-year old Hortence found out she was anemic
and now comes to the hospital every two months. Twice a year, she
receives a blood transfusion. "Last time, it cost Lps. 1,500
for the blood," said Miss Catherine. Roatan Hospital orders
and ships the blood and Hynds pays the bill. "We always come
and go and we can't complain. This hospital serves us well. I'll
be back again next month."
one week of volunteering at the hospital, Dr. Wendolyn Zelaya has
settled in to the daily demands of the island's pediatric clinic.
She treats a steady stream of children, greeting each one with a
bright smile and a gentle voice. "I just love it here!"
said Dr. Wendolyn who is a second-year resident at St. Louis Children's
Hospital in Missouri. The clinic, established by Global Healing
in 2003, treats 20-30 patients daily. "The biggest need here
is for education. We try to promote good nutritional habits and
also the proper use of medications for children," said Dr.
Wendolyn. Born in Honduras, Dr. Wendolyn completed her general medical
degree in Tegucigalpa and moved with her fiancé to complete
her pediatric specialty in the United States. "I am the guinea
pig because I am the first resident from St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Because I am from here [Honduras], I can understand differences
in culture and I am bilingual," said Dr. Wendolyn, who will
work at the clinic for one month. Dr. Wendolyn also examines newborns
before they leave the hospital; her face sparks with optimism as
she describes interacting with first-time mothers. "The most
important thing for me is to talk to new Moms and teach them about
lactation. One of our jobs is to teach them that their milk is the
best milk for their new baby," said Dr. Wendolyn.
resident of the women's ward, Maud Odencia Price may be the most
well-known personality of the Roatan Hospital. Beginning at 6am,
Miss Maud is wheeled out to a corner behind the reception area where
she is parked for the day. Here, she spends her time visiting, telling
stories or braiding her hair; this is also where she collects her
only income. Miss Maud, 67, sells small bottles to patients who
need to give specimen samples to the laboratory. The bottles sell
for Lps. 2 each and, after the samples are collected, the laboratory
returns them to Miss Maud to be cleaned and re-sold. On an average
day, Miss Maud sells four bottles, yielding 8 Lps. with which she
buys her daily juice. "I worked hard all my life and now I
work at this; it's a way for me to look out for myself," said
Miss Maud of Coxen Hole. As she sits waiting for customers, she
shares words with those passing by or waiting to be treated. Even
those who are done with the doctor come by to visit before they
leave. With a boisterous voice, she asks them to come back soon.
In 2001, Miss Maud suffered from diabetes-related problems and was
admitted to the hospital. While she was hospitalized, her home was
robbed and vandalized. She had nowhere to go. Both of Miss Maud's
parents and all of her eight siblings are deceased. "I don't
have no family but God," said Miss Maud, "This hospital
kept me here to help me and it saved me from being on the street
like a dog. I was born and raised in Roatan and I ended up in this
Roatan Hospital." Two years ago, Miss Maud's left leg was amputated
below the knee. She has a prosthetic leg which is buckled to her
thigh. "They said if they cut me, I would last longer,"
said Miss Maud who received a wheelchair last year from Mrs. Aguas
Ocaña de Maduro, the first lady of Honduras. Three months
ago, two American doctors volunteering in the hospital took notice
of Miss Maud's condition. They helped her to take her first steps
in two years. Since they left, she hasn't walked again.
Maud usually sits in her corner until 9pm when a nurse will take
her back to her ward. There are five beds in the women's ward, but
Miss Maud has been there the longest. "It's pretty quiet in
there and people, they come and go. I eat what they give me and
I feel good," said Miss Maud. Before she sleeps at night, she
prepares her box of bottles for the next day of sales. Other patients
have started to give Miss Maud different items to try and sell on
their behalf: plastic sandals, newspapers, shirts. Her corner is
filling with boxes of personal belongings. "Everybody loves
me," said Miss Maud, "You ask anyone in this hospital
and they will tell you. I am the doctors' favorite."
in a pristine white uniform, Nurse Yessenia Martinez looks into
the delivery room and says "Childbirth is the most beautiful
experience that there can be." Nurse Yessenia, 28, has been
a maternity nurse for five years and has helped deliver hundreds
Born and raised in Coxen Hole, Nurse Yessenia studied nursing in
La Ceiba and then joined the Roatan Hospital staff in 1994. For
her first five years, she worked in all the various wards; nurses
rotate wards every three years to gain experience. Once she worked
the maternity ward, she was asked to stay on longer. "Delivery
is very complicated and the doctors didn't want to the nurses to
leave after they had learned so much," explained Nurse Yessenia,
"It is important to have us here because if the doctor becomes
busy, the nurses have to deliver the baby."
While her husband is working aboard a Miami-based cruise ship, Nurse
Yessenia juggles both parental roles and her nursing job. A mother
of four, Nurse Yessenia works 120 hours a month, including 15 hours
of overtime. The night shift is nine hours long during which Nurse
Yessenia hires a babysitter to come into her home and care for her
children. Her salary is Lps. 5,400 monthly, but according to Nurse
Yessenia, there are other benefits to the job. "Some women
are tired; some are happy. But, when the delivery is not complicated
and the baby is healthy, it is very nice to be part of this. I like
to be there with them."
there was a Roatan Hospital, there was a young medical student
named Jaqueline Wood. A Roatan native, she returned home from
medical school in Tegucigalpa to perform her social work in 1980.
It was then that she began to envision a better future for island
medical care. "I said 'It's time for Roatan' and I got a
dream to build a hospital," said Dr. Wood.
After Dr. Wood completed her social work in 1982, she helped to
build two medical clinics, one in French Harbour and one in Oak
Ridge. In 1985, she returned to school to complete her specialty
in pediatrics which spanned over three years. Upon returning from
her post-graduate studies in April 1988, Dr. Wood formed a committee
of community members. The committee organized a fundraiser marathon
and it raised over Lps. 25,000 In addition, there were many private
donations of equipment and supplies. In 1989, the Honduran government
agreed to fund Lps. 350,000 for a hospital for the Department.
Finally, on September 1, 1991, the Roatan Hospital opened its
doors to patients of the Bay Islands.
The initial staff had four physicians, five Registered Nurses,
20 nurses and five watchmen. In 1992, the hospital added an obstetrics
and gynecology unit, as well as a surgery ward. Storage areas,
a morgue, a laboratory and a generator were all added within five
years of the opening. "We started off with a lot of the wards
we have now, but we have grown in the last years," said Dr.
Wood, "We will continue to grow."
The hospital continues to struggle with supply issues and the
high volume of patients. "Honduras is a very poor country
and the problem is that we have only a little of everything. There
are always medicine shortages; we have a great demand for certain
antibiotics," said Dr. Wood who, in 1999, started Wood Medical
Center, the island's first private hospital. According to Dr.
Wood, the medical care offered in Roatan is equal to any available
in Honduras. "I came back here because Roatan people needed
a doctor to love them, not just to treat them, but to take care
of them. I came here 20 years ago and I fell in love with them."
The Spiritual Guide:
Faro walks quietly down the halls of the Roatan Hospital with
an air of familiarity. He has been coming to the Roatan Hospital
for the last 15 years. On Roatan, he is as close as you can get
to a hospital chaplain. He tries to be here "anytime he can,"
at least once a week. Father Faro moves from room to room, blessing
the sick, whispering words in a steady and soothing tone. "This
is a service that God requires us to do, to take care of the sick
ones," said Father Faro with black rosary beads around his
There are varied responses to Father Faro's visits. In the maternity
ward, Father Faro touches the swollen abdomen of a new mother;
she has a look of anxiety in her eyes. Family members offer welcoming
glances to him as he enters the women's inpatient ward to bless
an elderly woman. A male amputee smiles with Father Faro as they
pray together. Father Faro jokes with the nurses and claps the
hands of a passing patient in the hall. Every so often, he performs
the last rites for a dying or surgery bound patient. Father Faro
offers economic help to poor who ask, remaining conscious that
there are those who could try to take advantage of the community's
charity. As he passes the pediatric ward, Father Faro pauses outside
the door before continuing on. "I don't go in there unless
they ask. The children are the people who can heal the easiest
because God has given them new life," said Father Faro.
Jose Roberto Gonzales, 33, is the director of Roatan Hospital.
He was born in La Ceiba and studied medicine in Tegucigalpa's
UNAH. Dr. Gonzales did his postgraduate studies in orthopedic
medicine and trauma. After coming to Roatan in August 2003, he
was given a resident position as an orthopedic surgeon, supervising
112 hospital staff.
Roatan Hospital has currently five specialist doctors (pediatrics,
surgeon, internist, gynecologist, orthopedist) six general practitioners,
two volunteer pediatric doctors from US and one from Cuba. (The
Cuban government has been sending a specialist here for the last
six years to do their two year medical practice.) There are four
social services staff and over 40 nurses. Two X-ray technicians,
a microbiologist and a physical therapist have been the newest
additions to the hospital's growing staff.
Suyapa Alvarado, 19, has bags under her eyes. She hardly slept
in 24 hours, tending to her sick child. He has a cough and will
need to stay at the hospital for two more days. In the middle
of the night, with her mother at her baby's side, Carmen was able
to spend a couple hours sleeping. She lay down on a bench in front
of the Hospital's testing laboratory.
Her first baby was born at Carmen's hometown hospital in Trujillo
three years ago. That baby, Killeen, was delivered in a caesarian
and her second, at the Roatan Hospital, through a natural birth.
Carmen was in labor for six hours. "I feel better to give
birth naturally. There is less pain, a moment. With the cesarean
its three-four days of pain," said Carmen.
After spending four weeks with the baby at her Los Fuertes home,
she came back to the Hospital to seek help with the baby's persistent
cough. "At the hospital they always gave me and my baby good
attention," said Carmen. "He's getting better."
restructuring of the country's hospital system, Roatan Hospital
is changing from a Region No. 6 hospital to become a departmental
hospital. There are currently 103 people on staff at the hospital
and this change may mean little in terms of staffing and equipment.
One of the biggest operational problems for the hospital is the
lack of ultrasound equipment or a blood bank. Patients in need
of blood transfusion need to order the blood from La Ceiba's Red
Cross and pay Lps. 700 per pint. The procedure takes a day and,
in emergency cases, a direct blood donor transfusion is performed.
Improvements in the quality of hospital services on the island
have been gradual. Every six months, the Ministry of Health conducts
a study to determine the conditions of Honduran hospitals. According
to Roatan Hospital Director Dr. Jose Roberto Gonzales, the hospital
improved its previous No. 5 ranking to No. 3 in 2004. Atlantida
Regional Hospital and Tela Hospital are ranked ahead of Roatan
and the hospitals in Tocoa, Olanchito and Trujillo finish last
in Region No. 6.
According to Xiomara Turcios, Chief of Statistics and 12-year
veteran of the hospital, there are 69,000 patients that have been
treated since the hospital's inception. Now, the Japanese Government
has offered to financially support construction of a new 80 bed
hospital on Roatan. There are ongoing negotiations about donating
land to this project in Dixon Cove. If the hospital becomes a
reality, the Bay Islands will have 113 hospital beds, only three
beds less than La Ceiba.
story / editorial
/ local news
______________back to top
Letters to the Editor
On my way back from a weekend trip to Cancun, I came across an article
on your issue No.12 of your magazine Bay Islands Voice titled "My
People" written by Alfonso Ebanks. Being from Honduras and
coming from a place where they are taking giant steps to preserve
the environment and take good care of their natural resources, I
couldn't agree more with Mr. Ebanks who in a very eloquent and articulated
way describes our reality not only in the Bay Islands but in the
It is indeed time to think about our country as a jewel. We all
need to take care of and put aside the opinion and practice that
the "only thing each has to worry about is the preservation
of number one. If we, as people, are to prosper, every person must
forget their selfishness, their prejudices, their personal avarice
and we must pull together in the same direction on everything that
will make Honduras a better place to live and to work, if not for
us then for our children". Well written, Mr. Ebanks. I hope
you're Honduran. If not, I thank you.
On my way back to Roatan in the latter part of October after being
absent for almost two years, I got my hand on a copy of Issue 12
of the Bay Islands Voice thanks to Atlantic Airlines.
I must say I was most impressed with its content! Never knew the
magazine existed until that date. Before I left the Island in the
mid part of November (as I study abroad) I purchased two copies
of Issue No. 13; very nice. I MUST agree though with what a reader
wrote in the Editorials Section in Issue 12. Roatan is developing
rapidly and a lot of changes and improvements are being made to
"efficiently" manage this growth (whereby tourism is concerned).
But is the government and/or Ministry of Tourism REALLY training
and employing officers who apart from not being able to speak English
can assist the local, national and foreign tourists?
From personal experience during my short visit I can say that corruption
is taking force not only with the officers on the highways but at
their office on that particular hill. A lot of us when driving on
the highways are stopped and asked for license and registration
when behind you comes persons with a certain surname and luxurious
car and simply waves to the officers and goes by
being checked). Is it because of the surname or the luxurious Nissan
Murano or Toyota Prado?
we all: black, blue, green, red supposed to be checked? These actions
have gone too far. When has technology become so sophisticated that
only ONE person is capable of handling the camera for a license?
Why is the Police Department so behind that two persons are needed
in order to take a picture. Someone commented to me that she paid
Lps. 800 for a one year license when apparently the officer had
told her earlier there weren't any licenses.
to know also that there are more international competitors flying
in and out of Roatan, (a bit of history on the past airlines was
great). I've prayed and begged for it, we have all experienced for
two long bad airline services
product of a monopoly with not
exceeding customer expectations added.
Thumbs up Thomas. The mixture and content of the Bay Islands Voice
opens the minds of the readers and broadens our horizons.
Designer and Former Editor
City Temple's Bulletin CR
I am the owner and brew master at D and D Brewery located in Los
Naranjos Honduras at lake Yojoa. We are the real first micro brewery
in Honduras. I have my public escritura dated 1999 and my registro
sanitario dated 2000. It was a lot of work to be the first and promoting
it as such. I think you have made a mistake in printing an article
of the coming of Honduras´ first micro brew. There can only
be one first micro brewery and I believe that title is mine and
not the very late second comer that you have misled your readers
about. I think you have a good product in your publication, but
the information should be accurate. We are also going to start the
construction of another brewery on Roatan this year.
I think you may want to tell the truth in your editorial section
about who is the first micro brewer. I use that title in many of
my advertisements (
). I think providing un-truths on topics
such as this makes one of us look like a liar. I did my research
long before I got my license and at that time there were no other
micro breweries. We have been open and selling handcrafted ales
and natural sodas for nearly three years. I am wondering how this
new guy has gotten the title as the first when he has not even built
his brewery yet and I have been open for three years.
Robert J. Dale
Brewmaster D and D Brewery
Dear Mr. Dale,
We were informed by the owner of the Bay Island Brewery that his
was the first and only micro brewery registered in Honduras. In
good faith we have taken this information to be true and accurate.
It was not. Competing with Cerveceria Hondureña must be difficult
enough and we certainly don't want to ad to your worries. We are
sorry for getting it wrong. We hope your beer is first in taste
as well. Cheers,
and we sincerely wish you all the best in your enterprise.
story / editorial
/ local news
A Drive for Members
Bay Islands Chamber of Tourism (CANATURH-BI) is celebrating its
two year anniversary with a membership drive. On November 8 and
15, the organization delivered two presentations about its achievements
and goals to businesses throughout Roatan.
CANATURH-BI grew from eight members on its inception with membership
doubled a year later. There are currently 28 members. As the organization
lacks representation outside Roatan, CANATURH-BI is planning to
take its membership drive 'on the road' to Utila and Guanaja in
There are now six Chamber of Tourism organizations throughout
Honduras: Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, Tela, Bay Islands, Copan and
San Pedro Sula.
is headed by a 15-member board of directors, presided over by
Romeo Silvestri, owner of Casa Romeo's restaurant.
In weekly and monthly meetings, the members discuss everything
from tourism news and changes in legislature to the Bay Islands'
presence at trade shows. Nine committees (security, cruise ship,
marketing, etc.) help the organization to focus on particular
issues and provide solutions for tourism growth. The organization
has attended four international tradeshows in 2004 and is already
preparing for Miami's 2005 Seatrade.
De Pierrefeu Midence, 45, was born in Tegucigalpa and studied
in France, earning a Master's degree in Finance. Upon returning
to Honduras, he joined Grupo Midence, a holding company involved
in several Central American countries. He formed a partnership
with Kempinski hotels and built the first beachfront hotel under
this hotel chain in Latin America. In January 2002, Minister de
Pierrefeu was appointed by President Maduro as Minister of Tourism,
his first time holding political office. In his first three years,
his ministry implemented the Tourist Police Force on the north
coast and in the Bay Islands and focused on the development of
a tourist & resort complex in Tela. Minister de Pierrefeu
also serves as President of Grupo Midence Soto.
Islands VOICE: What is the status of bidding for Roatan's
cruise ship dock?
Min. Thierry De Pierrefeu: We had confirmation from Royal
Caribbean that they do want to participate and Norwegian Cruise
Lines wants to participate also. Carnival - we do not have confirmation
that they will be participating. It's an open, international [30
year, Roatan Municipality only] bid based upon a design based
on what are the minimum services to be provided by whoever wins
Does the bid require a construction of an additional dock?
Min. T.P.: Yes, it does. When we reach a trigger of passengers
arriving at the dock per year, but no longer than in five years,
they have to build a second berthing facility. So there would
be two ships docked at the same time. There is a requirement of
developing and building commercial, land-based facilities with
regards to parking areas.
B.I.V.: Is there a danger of creating a monopoly of one
cruise line on Roatan?
Min. T.P.: That will not happen. In the bidding process,
whoever participates has to have an open facility. Meaning that
whoever wins the bid has only the right to preferential berthing.
All major cruise ship companies will have access to the dock.
B.I.V.: How soon can the Congress vote on approval of the
Min. T.P.: That will happen quite quickly. We've been working
at it for many, many months now. Technically, it wasn't easy to
set up as we don't have much experience in our country as far
as the cruise line facilities.
B.I.V.: Is there any prospect of a cruise ship dock in
Oak Ridge Municipality or Utila?
Min. T.P.: Not to my knowledge. I don't know of any initiatives
whether public or private.
Do you see a disparity in the growth of tourism among the four
Bay Islands municipalities? How can Guanaja or Oak Ridge catch-up?
T.P.: Guanaja in particular is lagging behind Roatan and Utila.
In Guanaja's case, it's the lack of infrastructure. It hasn't
had the support that it requires to develop a market segment -
the high-end, high value-added market. Starting in the next couple
months, the government will begin building a terminal at the airport,
taking care of the sewage at Bonacca Cay, Savannah Bight and Mangrove
Bight, constructing a new facility for solid waste management,
new fresh water system. Very soon, you will see machinery arriving
to rebuild a road between Mangrove and Savannah Bight. There is
also a project for a tourism road on the north side of the island.
We will also be constructing a new pier for waste management.
We will be financing the enhancement of Bonacca Cay. The government
will be heavily investing in Guanaja to create the minimum conditions
for sustainable development of tourism.
B.I.V.: What percentage of National GDP comes from tourism
and how much of it comes from tourism in the Bay Islands?
Min. T.P.: We did a social-economic study on the Bay Islands
conducted by University of California-Davis, and the results were
astonishing. Today, over 64% of all Bay Islands GDP is generated
by or related to tourism. Now, the tourism is by far the largest
income generating activity of the Bay Islands. As far as contribution
of Bay Islands tourism to the whole country tourism GDP [or total
GDP], unfortunately we do not have these statistics, not yet..
B.I.V.: Today you are changing some of the key points in
the new environmental law for the Bay Islands. What are some of
the most important points that you are changing?
Min. T.P.: It's not a law, it's a norm. What has been done
so far were workshops. The artificial beaches, setbacks, can we
build on water were the more discussed topics. I feel we are arriving
at a version everybody can live with.
Today you are changing some of the key points in the new environmental
law for the Bay Islands. What are some of the most important points
that you are changing?
Min. T.P.: It's not a law, it's a norm. What has been done
so far were workshops. The artificial beaches, setbacks, can we
build on water were the more discussed topics. I feel we are arriving
at a version everybody can live with.
B.I.V.: Is the Migration Chapter included in the current
Min. T.P.: The migration problem was considered in the
workshop. We have a document with us that was provided to everybody.
But, because of legal reasons it cannot be included in the norm.
It has to be done through Municipal Ordinance because that is
what the law provides for. A norm like this one is not a law.
A norm can be maintained, changed, it can evolve with the situation.
As we grow the norm would evolve and probably become more restrictive.
The norm's maintenance would be dependent on CETS. As CETS gets
more experienced, we may be able to adapt, evolve these norms
to some things that are more realistic. (
) This is not a
law. This does not go to Congress. It becomes an executive [presidential]
decree. CETS will provide maintenance to these norms.
defense was relentless, as Ruben Martinez had several near misses
for Arsenal. With few minutes remaining, Arsenal goalkeeper Benito
Moreila made a key save, guiding the ball out of play with his fingertips.
Time was called and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
"The field was wet and it's hard to touch the ball when it's
like that, but we were prepared. We trained on this field in the
rain all week," said Steven Martinez who will replace team
captain Carlos Martinez in their upcoming game. Carlos Martinez
has three yellow cards and must sit out one match. "We are
very prepared. Steven [Martinez] is a perfect fit at middle field
and he will replace Carlos," said Arsenal coach Pascual Norales.
Arsenal traveled to Tegucigalpa on November 21 to face Motagua on
their home field where the winning team will join three other division
teams to face off for the league championship.
underdog team from the Bay Islands has done it again. Arsenal
faced Motagua Reservas in Tegucigalpa on November 21; the game
was the second match between the teams to determine who would
advance in the Division II playoffs.
In front of a large crowd with few island fans, Arsenal and
Motagua played a fast-paced match. Arsenal played with 10 players,
after Andres Amador was red carded for rough play; Arsenal Captain
Carlos Martinez sat out the match due to yellow cards from a
Scoreless after regulation time, the teams entered overtime.
Neither team registered a goal in the extra time and the outcome
rested upon a penalty shootout. After crucial saves by Arsenal
goalkeeper Benito Moreila, Arsenal won 4-2.
Four teams have classified for the final round of the playoffs:
Arsenal, Savio, Social Sol and Concepcion. Arsenal will face
Team Savio on November 28 in Coxen Hole in the Division II semi-final.
In two previous match-ups with Savio, Arsenal tied one and lost
"We certainly have the odds against us. We have never been
the favorite to win, but we always seem to find a way,"
said Arsenal owner Leland Woods.
it's playoff time, it takes more than tropical rainstorms to keep
the Arsenal fans away. As the team from French Cay faced the Motagua
Reservas, over 450 football followers poured into the Coxen Hole
field on November 14. Constant rain showers soaked Arsenal supporters,
but couldn't drown out the chanting, drumming and cheering that
erupted from the crowd throughout the game.
Arsenal was fresh from their tight victory over Concepcion on November
7. That Coxen Hole game was scoreless after 90 minutes of play,
culminating in an Arsenal-Concepcion shootout. Arsenal prevailed
7-6. The win classified Arsenal in their division, leading them
to meet second-place Motagua from Tegucigalpa.
The November 14 game was the first of two match-ups between Arsenal
and Motagua. Players took to the muddy field, struggling with the
ponds of accumulated water. Arsenal showed their characteristic
quick offensive start, but Motagua's solid defense thwarted their
efforts. Strong goaltending for both teams kept the game scoreless
at the end of the first half."
and Motagua players struggle on a muddy Coxen Hole field.
the beginning of the second half, Motagua exercised sharp passing
and missed several scoring opportunities, both from right field
and in front of the net. Arsenal, appearing fatigued in the first
20 minutes of the half, was lifted by the outstanding play of Steven
Martinez; the crowd rewarded Martinez's resiliency by chanting his
nickname 'Diablo'. Both teams registered late substitutions, hoping
fresh legs would yield the game's first goal.
story / editorial
/ local news
Wars by Thomas Tomczyk
With little government help, the private sector
is stepping up to provide a viable and safe method of tackling the
mosquito problem on the Bay Islands.
is the female flying insects that bite. They need the blood for
their reproductive system and most won't stray beyond 50 yards from
their original hatching spot. They are attracted upwind to the breath
of humans, animals and, once full, must fly downwind to return.
With a cell phone at his side, Sevilla walks the island house to
house, offering his services. On his back, he carries a 10 liter
plastic pump he brought from Tocoa five years ago. In his right
hand, he carries a leather briefcase with three liters of powerful
chemicals. For protection and "recognition factor," he
wears a recognizable long sleeve red sweater and red cotton gloves.
The years of working with chemicals have taken a toll. "When
I have a headache, I go to the hospital and they give me a pill,"
said Sevilla. "I'm the only one on the island."
Not quite. Other than the trial government program, Island Environmental
Products (IEP) run by Bob Kable has been offering mosquito control
to Roatanians for over a year. "There are tourists who would
like to live on Roatan but can't because of the insect bites and
the constant threat of malaria and dengue," said Kable.
In its mosquito control method, IEP uses a 100% natural flower extract
(permethrin) that is safe to humans and approved by EPA. "It
breaks down the bug's system on contact," says Bob Kable. Mosquitoes,
sand flies and even fleas, ants, spiders and bees are killed and,
unlike with other chemicals, do not develop a resistance to permethrin
The eradication process begins with three area saturation sprayings.
Then, a 55-gallon tank with a timer, pump and gauges is installed.
Through a series of nozzles spaced every 10 feet, it releases mist
twice a day.
The liquid has been in use about 35 years, but only in the last
six gained recognition in the US. In the beginning, it was expensive
and scarce, as Kenya was the only country to grow the flower in
volume. As Australia began to grow the flower, the prices and availability
have improved. So far, there are about a dozen systems installed
on Roatan. The system price ranges from 1,700$ to $3,500 and the
spraying should take place on an ongoing basis to be most effective.
"It's becoming a popular residential addition," said Kable.
Romero Sevilla, 75, was born in Olanchito and has spent the last
40 years on Roatan. He never learned how to speak English. He
never learned how to read or write. Still, he was savvy enough
to see an open wide business opportunity on Roatan: mosquito control.
In fact, Sevilla saw the opportunity before anyone else did: 30
years ago. His clients are individuals and some businesses, but
Sevilla was never able to establish a steady customer base. In
a slow month like November, he has work only one or two times
a week. He makes his biggest money in January, February and April.
Sevilla guarantees his product not only against mosquitoes, but
against cockroaches, rats and termites. He dilutes five liters
of Amacatiol for every five liters of water; spraying of a quarter-acre
property costs Lps.600. There is even a six month guarantee.
to Ana Cecilia Ramos, technical supervisor of the sand fly control
project on the island financed by the Ministry of Tourism, the
chemical used by Sevilla don't attack the insect's larvae. "The
red marked Amacatiol kills the mosquitoes themselves, but is also
super-dangerous to the environment," said Ramos.
to some insect control professionals, the Honduran government
is using a mosquito eradication program that is years behind.
They also say that the country has a long history of irresponsible
poisonous spray abuse that goes back to the early 60's.