This is a guide that tried to explain some things about living in Honduras and working at EIS. It was generated from information and routines during the 2000-2001 school year. Things have probably changed considerably since then, so don't try to use the phone numbers!!
Escuela Internacional Sampedrana
PO Box 565 San Pedro Sula, Honduras
|San Pedro is divided into about 20 Colonias - or neighborhoods. The school is in Colonia Gracias a Dios. Most taxi drivers know it- but a few don't. Telling the Colonia will at least get you close!|
|Taxi service number for pre-arranged pick up and drop off: 557-5808 (ask a Spanish speaker to help you learn how to say your address in Spanish so you can tell the driver where you are)|
main telephone operator can fax things to the States, Canada or Europe
for you. There is a form to fill out and you will be charged for personal
faxes. School-related ones must be approved by your administrator.
Calls to the United States: 001- area code-
|We can receive mail through a Miami PO. However, you must be prepared to pay a percentage of the service if you have anything over 1 pound sent.|
Rigo (employed by the school) goes to the Post Office every day. He can mail things for you. It's about 13 lempiras to mail something to the USA. He can also pay your bills for you (electric, phone, or water). Leave money and bills with Admin and they will get to him. You can also pay your own bills at any bank (not in drive through and only during 9 am-3 pm business hours). Always save photocopies for your files and for the school. The school needs a copy of every bill you pay. They calculate 'end-of-year' withholdings based on a monthly average. They also want documents so they can help out if there are issues with a service provider.
|Your pay is automatically deposited in your bank account. You sign for your lempira and dollar checks in the Human Resources Office (behind the telephone lobby). A list of pay days is given to you at the beginning of the school year. The school arranges for you to have a lempira account. Any other accounts are your responsibility. Most people mail their dollar checks to the USA. Enough people travel to and from the States that you can use them as a mail ‘courier’. This is much safer than Honduran mail. Fed Ex operates an office on Circunvalacion across from Plaza Seville. They are also a safe way to get things to the States or Canada.|
|Banks can provide a Honduran Visa, but you will be required to maintain a cash balance that is your 'limit'. Most foreign hire just use their credit cards from the USA or Canada. Visa works at many places in San Pedro and around Honduras: PriceSmart, PizzaHut, Los Andes grocery store, Wendy's, the Malls etc. Traveler's Checks can be difficult to change. There is a bank at Multiplaza that will do it. Always bring your passport.|
|Banks are open from 9 - 4 daily. Banco del Pais (where your lempira account is) also has drive through hours on Saturday and Sunday. PriceSmart has a Banco del Pais branch that is open whenever the store is open (usually 9-9).|
|Make a copy of your passport and keep it with you all the time. Put the original in a safe place in your home.|
|Internet service is best arranged through Tutopia. It is about 20 dollars for three months of unlimited use. Keep in mind that unlimited use means through Tutopia's server - NOT THE PHONE COMPANY. Any internet use at home goes through the phone line and you pay per pulse of use. Our phone bill runs around 100 dollars a month (and we never make long distance calls). Also keep in mind that the person who calls a cell phone pays the bill. Your phone bill will itemize calls you have made to cell numbers. If you bring a laptop, make sure and have a quality battery to provide backup storage during power outs. We'll try to get everyone to the Tutopia Office at the beginning of the year to set up service. Sigmanet and netsys are also internet providers.|
Washers and dryers are expensive to operate. Lavanderias may be an option if there is one close to your house. They will wash and dry about ten pounds for ten bucks.
|Most Honduran families have a live in maid (empleada). If you would like information about a woman who can clean you home once or twice a week, please see Susan in preschool and she will hook you up with a reliable person.|
|Electricity is 110 - the same as in the USA. Electricity is outrageously expensive in Honduras. If you use your stove or A/C a lot, be prepared for at least 100 dollars a month. If you run a computer out of your home - make sure it is on a surge protector!!|
|Bendana and Cemesa are the two best hospitals in San Pedro. They both have emergency rooms. In Honduras, you don't get ambulance service unless you pay for it. You will be required to pay for medical services up front. There is a paper (in the Human Resources Office) that the Doctor must sign if you want to apply for medical reimbursement. Fold one up and carry it in your purse or wallet all the time. It's an inconvenience to have to go back to a Doctor's office to get signatures after you've already been there. Save all your paperwork and submit to Human Resources. A reimbursement usually takes about one month to process. Specific deductibles are in you medical insurance packet. People can refer you to a specialist if you have the need.|
|Pharmacies are everywhere in Honduras and most Pharmacists think they are Doctors. If you describe your ailment, they'll prescribe for you. Antibiotics, birth control, condoms, and fluoride tablets are all available over the counter without a prescription.|
|One of the preschool teacher's families owns a medical lab, so if you need lab work performed (blood test, urine sample, gut bugs etc), you can see her.|
|FYI: HIV rate in Honduras is the highest in Central America - estimates of 3 percent of the population!|
Junior is the least expensive. It is a huge warehouse like many stores
in the USA. However, the lines are outrageously long. NEVER go on a Saturday
or payday. Your best bet is early evening mid-week.
Los Andes on circunvalacion has
the most American style products. They are also more expensive. They have
a huge liquor selection, as well. They take Visa.
PriceSmart is member shopping
(like Sam's Club in the USA). An annual membership is about 350 lempiras.
They have huge selection, fresh produce and safe meat and seafood. They
also have housing goods, though they are very expensive. PriceSmart also
has liquor, great roast chicken and a bakery. They also take Visa.
neighborhoods have little 'mercados' where you can buy water, bread, beer
and Coke. Be wary of buying things like eggs and meat in places like this.
You will be expected to pay a deposit for any bottles of pop or beer you
buy. Get something in writing! This will be re-imbursed when you bring
the bottles back. Water also requires a deposit. As a family of four, we
go through about 3 big bottles of water a month (however, we do all our
cooking with tap water). Agua Azul can deliver to your home. You can call
them to arrange pick up and delivery.
|Diunsa, Lady Lee and Carrion are like upscale Kmart or Walmart. You get a special 15 percent EIS discount at Diunsa. Just show your EIS identification card.|
|El Canal is a housewares warehouse. They have toys, gifts, plastics, personal hygiene items and school supplies. It is like a Dollar Store in the USA.|
There are several small school supply stores around San Pedro. There is one at the bottom of the main boulevard to school (right before turning on to circunvalacion). The largest is ABC School Supply. The address is a bit difficult (by KeyMart and Larach). We'll try to get everyone there before classes starts.
are three Malls in San Pedro. One is on the road to La Lima. Another is
by the Copantl Hotel. The third is on the Road to Puerto Cortez. They all
have movie theaters and food courts.
Guamilito is a local tourist arts market. If you want to buy cheap wood furniture (rocking chairs or patio furniture), traditional crafts, pottery, flowers, posters, post cards or Tshirts, this is the place to go.
|There are tons of USA chains in San Pedro - Wendy's, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Popeye's, Applebee's, TGIF's, Burger King etc. All the taxi drivers know them. There are several of each chain, so you'll have to learn to clarify which one you want.|
|Last year's foreign hire hang outs included Las Carnitas, La Espuela, Sim Kong, La Murrala, Fred's Kitchen, Jalapenos, Crepes and Don Udo's. Ask the Honduran teachers for their favorites and you'll get more ideas and (huge selection!). Don't eat at Biggos Burgers. You’ll end up in the emergency room|
|Holandas and KOBS are safe ice cream - but don't trust any other brand.|
|Pizza Hut, Ruby Tuesday, Friday’s and Wendy’s have safe salad bars. Don’t eat salad anywhere else.|
There is a bodega and school store in central administration. This is where you (or your assistant) need to go to get any school material (pens, paper, white out, extension cords, record books etc). There is a Supply Request Form (take some from the primary or secondary office for in your classroom) that you fill out.
Attendance, grades, report cards and other paperwork is handled differently in each school (preschool, primary, secondary). Your principal will explain these routines at first week inservice.
Any work you need done must be filled out with the (triplicate) blue work order form. These forms are in main offices. You can also request one from the bodega (see above). Use this for your classroom and your home. Carlos Villalta is Operations Supervisor. His office is in the business office. See him with any issues about your housing.
All photocopy requests must be signed by your Principal. Photocopy is in the library. They can shrink, enlarge, collate and bind. Personal copies are 50 centavos each.
All VCRs, movies and stereos check out through the library. See Elsa or Ramona for the details.
There are teacher only computers with internet in the library. The check-out form is in the library office. The secondary lounge also has a few computers with internet access.
October brings Folkloric Day. All the children dress up in native costume and dance traditional dances for the parents.
Although Hondurans do not celebrate Thanksgiving day, we have a four day holiday to commemorate this holiday for the foreign hire.
All three schools have Christmas Programs for faculty and parents in December.
Primary and Preschool have Sports Day and Olympics Day in the Spring.
Secondary has all the usual clubs and groups: Mock UN, debate, athletics etc. They travel throughout the year to many other Central American countries to compete in finals and competitions.
All three schools (Prepa, 6th and seniors) have graduation ceremonies in June.