April 30, 2010
It’s five o’clock on a Friday afternoon and I just woke up from a nap. A very hot sweaty nap because my air conditioning doesn’t work but nonetheless I caught some zzzzs. I have to apologize for not writing in quite a while. My life has become quite routine lately, seems like the weeks fly by, the weekends creep by and then suddenly another month has passed.
I know the girls better and better everyday. I feel as if it is really important that I continue to show them I love them without expecting anything in return. I am constantly reminded of this when I think of all the volunteers they have experienced relationships with in the past. I’m just another one of many, but I doubt I will ever have to chance to love 60 girls again. I hope to use these last six weeks to really drill into them how beautiful, how intelligent, and how funny they are. I am here for their future, to make their future a reality and not a dream. It seems insignificant now but I know it will be a huge difference as they move out of the home and start lives that are not on the street or stuck in a home with an abusive husband.
My time here is not wasted!
Today I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness. Yesterday, on of the cooks and housekeepers of the home was screaming and crying in the school. Later on in the afternoon one of the girls, a sixth grader, said “they killed her son”. Just like that Leily from the home told me the awful awful truth of her country. As a coping mechanism I prayed for her, put Chavela in my heart and continued to tutor the girls. Then today at school I was in the teacher’s lounge speaking with some of the other teachers. They were talking about how horrible it was. Apparently he was shot ten times. (I know that often Hondurans tend to exaggerate things, unfortunately though I don’t think this is far from the truth).
This topic seemed to get everyone talking as each one of the teachers started sharing their own stories with me. One coworkers friend was kid napped in the fall, one coworkers husband was kidnapped and then left on the side of the road outside of the city, and another coworkers house was broken into last week. Odilia the second grade teacher, lives just a block from my apartment. She said, “o no one told you? My house was broken into last week.” This was shocking to me, as I have felt like I live in a pretty safe area. I never thought someone might actually break into my house.
Anyway, as everyone started sharing their stories I checked out for a bit. I looked off into the distance only half listening to all their stories. I said to myself… Hannah, get your act together. You can handle this… but the truth is I can’t. My best friend and fifth grade teacher Dirian notice my “exit” and said stop telling these stories or you will make Hannah cry. Well that snapped me back into attention and then I just lost it. All these people that I love live in such a dangerous place. I asked them “How do you go on everyday knowing that it could be you?” Miss Odilia, who has two children a preschool aged son and a fourth grade daughter said, “I leave everyday knowing I might not make it back.”
O it’s just terrible. I told them that usually if someone dies from a crime I always assume in the states that they were part of something not safe, like maybe a gang, an unhealthy relationship, a drug war… But here people will kill for a cell phone. That’s what they have always said, and I now know it to be true.
I’m surprised that I don’t feel a crippling fear from the conversations I had today but more sadness. I feel so sad that all these people I love live in danger everyday. I suppose maybe they don’t know any better, but after seeing so many people walk down the street in NYC with their Iphone glued to their ear and not run into any problems make me feel so sad that this is how they live.
My friend Dirian consoled me as I got myself back together. We were headed to a all staff meeting with administration and I had to get in there. But I just hugged her and said, “Dirian, come home with me where you wont be in any danger, I love you too much to leave you here in this dangerous city.” Later I worried that she might have taken offense to that. I really hope I didn’t offend any of them, I care about them so much I want them to be safe, and I wish it wasn’t like this here. I hope they know that I’m just sad about the danger not judging their culture or their country.
The only answer I can find in this shock and fear and sadness and confusion is to pray. I pray for the people I have come to love here in Honduras, but I also pray for the young boys in this country who do not have parents and feel loved by gang members. I pray that children in this country will live different lives and be cared for and not need to rob or kill people for love and/or money. I pray that God is present to everyone in Honduras in some way. I pray that they will come to understand the beauty of life.
Tonight I pray especially for Chavela, her daughter, and all the girls at the home. I know they will be mourning the death of Chavela’s son and I am well aware that I will never be able to relate to what it is like to be from this country. Dear Lord, thank you for protecting the girls of the home, and please be present this night in the lives of all.