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Another Migrant Crisis

I've lived and worked in Honduras for 10 years both as a missionary, serving the very poorest of society and now as teacher, where I give philosophy and history classes to the children of the very wealthiest. I don't pretend to be an expert on Honduran society and I certainly cannot claim to have many answers with respect to issues of immigration. The whole topic strikes me as far more complex and nuanced than what many voices on either the Right or the Left make it out to be. Nevertheless, I know the milieu in which I live, I know why many poor Hondurans choose to emigrate illegally, I know why many wealthy Hondurans fly to Miami or Atlanta to give birth to their children and I know that all else remaining constant, this current caravan is only the beginning.

A poor Honduran lives his life with little to no hope of ever achieving anything approaching financial stability. The people I know make their livings off of garbage collecting, selling unripened bananas and day-laboring…
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Coming to Honduras

The other day in philosophy class I was teaching about existentialism, a philosophy with which I have myriad problems. The universe is absurd, life is meaningless, authenticate yourself with irrational leaps of faith! Hopeless and disconnected from reality if you ask me. Get out of the café Camus, mix with some common folk! Nevertheless, as I was introducing the material I mentioned that the existentialists really probed the questions of Life's meaning and purpose:

"How do I create myself to be unique and significant?" "How do I live an authentic existence?" "How do I give my life meaning and purpose in an otherwise meaningless universe?"
These seem to be questions that are attendant to societies that possess extreme wealth and privilege and an over-abundance of leisure time. I have serious doubts that 15th Century English peasants or even nobles for that matter, spent much time contemplating how they might make their lives unique or leave a significa…

10 Years In Honduras

My good friend Jessiel Rivera reminded me the other day that it was 10 years ago this month that I arrived here in La Ceiba. I remember my arrival here from Costa Rica fairly vividly. I had been getting teary-eyed on the plane from a combination of sleep deprivation, my longing to remain with my friends in beautiful San Jose and some sad indie music on my iPod. It was a hot and terribly humid Sunday afternoon when I landed in the La Ceiba airport and when I stepped off the 10-seater hotbox of an airplane onto the tarmac I was sweaty, bleary-eyed and disheveled. I looked like a typical gringo backpacker except for my mountain of luggage that I had in tow. Two members of the Central Mennonite Church picked me up in their car; how they knew I was the Gringo they were supposed to collect was beyond me but they got it right. I remember them remarking on the number of suitcases I had brought (3) and their heaviness (maximum weight allowance); and the resulting weight of embarrassment I felt…

Art Day

I've been forced into an "art-day" by Girlfriend; against my better judgement I've decided to turn to the only medium that I'm remotely skilled at. It's been far too long since I've written anything of worth and as I sit here, pondering my lack of output in the last 4 years, I'm left wondering if I have anything substantial left to offer to "The Conversation". I think I did once, when my integrity and identity were intact and people were genuinely curious about my life here. For reasons too numerous to count though, not the least of which is my own retreat from reflective thought put down on paper, I can't shake the feeling that I've lost the ability to speak and be heard. Girlfriend and I are reading a book about marriage together given to me by my sister; we take turns reading it aloud to the other and as salient points are read we often stop and discuss our thoughts. Thus far it's been a fairly blithe and carefree romp through…

Thus Saith Twitter

As I sit from afar in my safe and quiet space that I've carved out in La Ceiba, watching the latest conflagration in urban America, I can't help but feel that all the world is afire. Nothing seems safe or sacrosanct, free from our culture's myopic and suicidal drive to topple, destroy and deconstruct. Cities burn, institutions crumble, terms are redefined and then redefined again, people in positions of authority are not only suspect but ruined if they have the wrong opinion. We the people, living in the freest, most diverse and most plural of societies to have ever graced history have opted to self-segregate into increasingly smaller and more narrowly defined "communities" of like-minded or like-experienced individuals; choosing to define ourselves by a string of letters, labels, physical features or psychological and biological drives rather than any sense of shared human dignity, tradition or mutual necessity. The vanguard assault always seems to come via soci…

Chucu & His Homies

William,
I've thought about what to write all day now and while part of me would like to continue exploring the theme and meaning of Justice from philosophy class, or rail against the seemingly monolithic, lock-step acceptance and use of P.C. language and how it's destroying our culture and ability to communicate with each other, or stake out my claim against the tyranny of gay-marriage; I'm left thinking that in that I haven't truly written anything since September of last year it might be nice to begin this new season of writing and opining with a fresh and sunny story from Los Laureles.
Thus I bring you Carlos Jose Ucles Ferrufino, affectionately known in Laureles (and other parts) as Chucu. I shan't write a long bio on him as I did with Chihua; at least not today. I do though want to share with you a scene from his birthday back in November. Normally when a birthday in Laureles rolls around I arrive with a cake, we sing a song, say a prayer, eat, drink coke and…

William Nickols This Is For You

It's been far too long since last I've written and while there's been much that I've wanted to say and comment on, I've found my ability to articulate these thoughts to be wanting. My old knack for putting finger to keyboard and unloading my missives in a coherent way seems to have dissipated over these past few months. It's not been for lack of inspiration; there's much within the culture that has me frustrated and much here in La Ceiba that has me either pensive or overjoyed. For whatever reason though that perhaps God only knows, I've found that every time I've sat down to write nothing has come - I've barely even had the desire to try. William Nickols though, my feckless and jovial gadfly of a student has been relentless these many months pestering me to write a new post and always I've swatted him away hoping to avoid his reproaches. Today though on the Facebook I decided I'd had enough; I decided that I'm tired of silence, tire…