Let us repeat: Pueblo Nuevo is a very conservative town. In addition, standards for friendship, dating, etc., are very, very, very different. While we want you to get to know the townspeople, even become friends with them, this is a slow process while you learn how to behave. The things we are going to list below will seem very restrictive and old-fashioned. They are-but these measures are also necessary to avoid giving offense.
1. For the first month at least, you may not invite anyone from town to come inside the fences and walls that surround our house compounds.
2. At no time will a single women walk through the streets by herself after dark: you need to have 1-2 female companions, or, better yet, a male.
3. Women will not go to local dances, even as a group, without a male escort from the project.
4. Men will never go anywhere with a local woman by themselves. Women will never, at any time, go anywhere by themselves with a local man. Never!!
5. Drinking in public is problematic. We will give you specific guidelines once you arrive.
6. The major organizing principle for the town is kinship. We need to behave towards one another as though we were a large family: helpful, never gossiping about or running down one another, escorting one another from house to house and to social events.
7. Friendship tends to be utilitarian in Honduras; the only people who are really trusted are kin. Therefore, do not be surprised if your local friends expect things from you in ways that you might not anticipate. The most common expectation is presents of your clothing and other items when you leave. Non-Catholic residents are also likely to invite you to religious services in the hopes of converting you. Say no, which may strain the friendship, but not as much as it would be strained if you went and resisted conversion.
We will be living in a small town, in an underdeveloped rural area, where the people are fairly conservative and traditional in their behavior. We are always a focus of attention--TV, movies, radio, you-name-it, all wrapped up in one. This can be disconcerting at the least, often annoying, and some find it very disruptive to be watched and talked about. But there is nothing we can do about it, except try to be polite, and behave so as not to violate peoples' standards. We will be considered representatives of all Americans ("gringos" in local terms), whether we like it or not, and our behavior will reflect not so much on us as individuals, but as a group, and as representatives of our country. We must be polite, discrete, and diplomatic in our dealings with neighbors, workmen, servants, and each other. Clothing has been mentioned, and a good appearance, we stress, is important. We also want to point out that The use of recreational drugs is strictly prohibited on this project, as is the excessive consumption of alcohol. We will send home immediately and without recourse anyone who does not adhere to our guidelines. Likewise, sexual liaisons with the local population are prohibited, and you will be sent home if you become so engaged. We are all guests in Honduras, and while none of you may ever come back again, the directors intend to; this work is our career and livelihood, and we will not permit these to be jeopardized in any way. We are not official ambassadors, nor will we be near military activity, but we must still be circumspect. Everyone has some conception of what Americans are like and in Honduras this is usually positive; we wish to leave to the Hondurans we live and work with even more positive images.