El Porvenir.

Initially called the village of Juan López, the area is now known as the municipality of El Porvenir. The word Porvenir could be translated into English as perhaps a ‘beneficial future’, which is what was intended for its inhabitants. The Municipality of El Porvenir was founded on April 18th, 1898, under the administrative management of Doctor Policarpo Bonilla – Constitutional President of Honduras – at the time. On June 24th, 1857, it was founded as an Aldea (a village) by an emigrant from Olancho (of the Municipality of Concordia) – named Juan López – the son of an expeditionary general by the same name.

The territory underwent three migratory movements which populated it, beginning with those who went in search of employment in the sugar mill, such as Eusebio Paguada and Maria Eligia Barralaga and their daughter Maria de los Angeles Paguada Barralaga from the Municipality of Manto, Olancho. They arrived around the year 1910, and their descendants still live in the urban area of ​​the municipality. A stream of Spaniards came, then followed by the French; the latter proving very important in the initial development of the municipality .

A river outside of El Porvenir. Photo Zoe Maria.

Tourism

El Porvenir boasts many natural riches making it a municipality which both national and foreign tourists enjoy. One can enjoy a walk along the trails of the Pico Bonito National Park https://lempiratimes.com/2020/02/25/pico-bonito/), before reaching the white-sanded beaches that many middle class Honduran families travel to on weekends and national holidays.

The Cuero y Salado wildlife refuge is a protected area, located in the triangle formed by the Cuero and Salado rivers, with dry and fluvial channels stretching out between the municipalities of La Masica and San Francisco. Animals are to be found in their natural state as well as some very interesting bird species upon the wetlands. Protection is provided here for some 35 species of animals, including the manatee (or sea cow), jaguars, white-faced monkeys, lizards, etc. (https://lempiratimes.com/2020/03/27/animals-of-honduras/). With some luck, it is quite possible to see a beautiful manatee; an endangered species that has found a safe place to live here.

The Zacate River is located in the Pico Bonito National Park reserve. This is one of the best places in El Porvenir to enjoy waterfalls and take a refreshing dip in one of its many pools.

Commerce

Within the municipality of El Porvenir there exists a source of employment which many municipalities in the country wish for as there are ‘Pineapple Farms’ owned by what one might deem as the ‘infamous’ Standard Fruit International company, allowing the municipality to engage in trade throughout the year. It is estimated that there are close to 1,000 employees directly receiving benefits from the company. That is wonderful progaganda however, these fruit companies have exploited Latin Americans since their very beginnings (https://lempiratimes.com/2020/04/13/the-banana-industry/). El Porvenir, due to its geographical location, is further rich in commerce due to cattle farms distributing products within the same municipality. In the nearby La Unión village, there stands a CASABE factory.

Notes on the place

El Porvenir is the temporal home to many travelling foreigners who employ themselves as volunteers or paid staff for various NGO groups stationed in the area. From religious organisations to privately-funded charities supposedly assisting deprived children, combating poverty, unemployment and other social issues, many a white face is to be seen as well as individuals of Asian and African heritage. I use the word ‘supposedly’ as quite frankly, finger-painting, frizbee and English teaching are quite simply never going to combat domestic violence, poverty and all other such social problems. I myself, worked for a brief spell with one such organisation who I shan’t even mention upon my site as the people behind it were some of the most intolerable characters that I have ever had the ‘joy’ of meeting.

I could not recommend the experience, personally.

Ben Anson (centre) during his Che Guevara phase with photographer Zoe Maria (far right), El Porvenir, 2016.

However, along the beaches of El Porvenir, there sit a string of pleasant beach bars/restaurants. Some (the beach bars), generally receive a solely local clientele and once had a reputation for getting somewhat rowdy at night. Nobody openly seeks to make trouble with outsiders though, so a night-out within what is a very traditional Caribbean community – could indeed occur as a one-off occassion. I recommend – for eating – ‘El Changarro Bar and Restaurant‘ (https://www.facebook.com/El-changarro-bar-y-restaurante-1045839185608913/).

A fine snap capturing the sheer beauty of rivers around El Porvenir. Photo Zoe Maria.

Note: Most photo credits goes to Zoe Maria, an ex-volunteer colleague of mine.

Published by Ben Anson

Young writer with a passion for Latin American and Caribbean affairs.

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