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Roatan is one of three islands that make up The Bay Islands of Honduras. On a map, you can identify Roatan as the largest and longest of the three islands approximately 40 miles off the northern coast of Honduras.
For the longest time, the main source of income for the people living on the island was the fishing industry. As fuel prices increased and aquaculture became popular around the world sending buyers elsewhere, the fishing industry became less and less sustainable. Fortunately for the island, Roatan became a more popular tourist destination, the Mesoamerican Reef specifically enticing divers from around the globe. The additions of the international airport open for service in 1995 and the two cruise ports in 2008 and 2010 made the island more accessible and popular, resulting in an exponential growth in tourism over a short period of time for those looking for a unique, tropical beach vacation.
Roatan was quickly viewed as a place of opportunity for many struggling to find work in the mainland of Honduras, and they uprooted their lives to make a new start on the island. However, their sudden transition was welcomed by the reality of a shortage of affordable housing and the high cost of living in comparison to where they lived before. The island community that has lived on Roatan for generations have faced economic challenges that have left many unable to earn more than they must spend on their basic needs. These circumstances have forced families into terrible living conditions with little privacy, crowded rooms and beds, hardly any protection from the climate, and several structures thrown together with walls constructed out of whatever they could find such as tarps or scraps of wood and metal.
Hardworking families continue living in these desperate circumstances as they work day by day to put food on the table and keep up with the expenses of daily life, wondering at what point they will be able to put wages aside for the safe, comfortable home they dream of for their family.
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