A Weekly Journal Chronicling My Life
As It Intersects With The Garbage Dump Community Near La Ceiba, Honduras

Saturday, May 6, 2017

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 the hypothetical world of marriage and commitment; it's been easy to agree with most of what the author has written and so the questions as posed by Girlfriend haven't shaken me or left me searching. The other day though she was reading aloud the following passage:

"Some people ask who they are and expect their feelings to tell them. But feelings are flickering flames that fade after every fitful stimulus. Some people ask who they are and expect their achievements to tell them. But the things we accomplish always leave a core of character unrevealed. Some people ask who they are and expect visions of their ideal self to tell them. But our visions can only tell us what we want to be, not what we are. Who are we? We are largely who we become through making wise promises and keeping them. When a man takes an oath he's holding his own self in his hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then - he needn't hope to find himself again. Without being bound to the fulfillment of our promises, we would never be able to keep our identities: we would be condemned to wander helplessly and without direction in the darkness of each person's lonely heart, caught in its contradictions and equivocalities'. 'I am he who took that oath' and when we slough off that name, lose that identity, we can hardly find ourselves again."

I nodded along as she read, amicably agreeing with the truth of what she was saying expecting to move effortlessly on to the next section. She stopped though, looked at me and asked me pointedly: "Have there been any decisions or broken promises in your life that have caused you to lose your identity?"

For as long as I've known him I've understood at the very core of my being that my father and I are as unalike as a father and son can be while still finding the ability to love each other. He can create works of art with his hands. I can only feel jealousy and a gnawing sense of unmanliness when I see what he produces. He can throw a baseball or a rock or any object really, with deadly velocity and accuracy. I decidedly cannot and from a young age I resented my father for forcing me to play sports with him and I resented myself for not wanting to play with him. He both revels in and excels at hard, manual labor and his body and reputation have been testaments to that fact. I avoid the hard thing at every turn and have always felt wholly inadequate when I think of his work ethic as compared to mine. He commands respect and admiration from all that meet him. People genuinely seek out his opinion and desire his comfort and care in times of crisis. He's a leader in the truest, most selfless sense of the word. I in turn am only a sad shadow of what my father taught me to be, I want the respect and admiration of others but cheaply. It's easier to manipulate people's feelings into following me than it is to live a life worthy of being followed. Despite those differences he learned to love me and I him and he grew to appreciate and encourage those things that I gained skill in. He found joy in my singing, my swimming and my reading to the point where he set aside his own pleasures and expectations for our relationship and conformed them to mine. Even in those I failed him; my own laziness and desire for comfort took precedence over the full limit of my potential. My father is not driven by feelings or achievements or even visions although he has plenty of all 3 in spades. For all that has separated us and continues to, the widest, deepest most inescapable gulf is that he's driven by character and integrity and I am not. That, above all else, is what I've always felt and known and hated. His ability or perhaps determination to be driven by a thing higher and harder than pleasure, feelings or self-aggrandizement has been been the most important and inescapable difference between us. I felt it from the time I was little and even as a young child it inspired within me an insipid mix of awe, envy and hatred. He keeps his promises and everyone knows it. If he says he will do a thing he does it and to the very best of his ability. He taught me not to take oaths or swear but to simply say 'yes' or 'no'. I pepper my everyday speech with 'To be completely honest with you...'. I rarely am. Above all else he seeks to live a life conformed to truth and integrity despite how it might make others feel. People truly respect him for that. I desire more than anything else to be liked. I am all things to all people and no one can respect that for very long. 

Yes Girlfriend, all of them, my whole life. I've always felt it and known it and loathed myself for it. I've lost my identity too many times to count.

Who am I? I am my feelings, I am who I desire to be but am not. I am adrift, tossed about, unmoored by too many broken promises and relationships disregarded. I am not my father. I am sorry.

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 social media, and while the platform and actual discussion may have an air of the silly, infantile and lazy: that self-serious, self-referencing, mock outrage that is so easy and so tempting to flaunt in the social media, is very rapidly becoming codified and grafted into our very real and tangible workaday lives. We've learned to self-censor, to offer trigger warnings, to check privilege, to self-silence instead of engage in dialogue, to police micro-aggressions, to unthinkingly and uncritically ally with any group of people that claim a grievance against the system. Dissent is shouted down, drowned out and mitigated because thinking or even questioning in any way that runs contrary to the platitudinous, shrieking majority is not just wrong but out-and-out hateful and unfit for public hearing. Thinking, that seemingly yesterday, was considered normal and good is now declared bigoted, regressive and mean. People's lives, livelihoods and reputations are ruined and seen as justifiable collateral damage in the near orgasmic quest to destroy thousands of years of cumulative wisdom and usher in the imminent eschaton of a category-less, sanitized and mechanistic "change".

I wrote those words last year as I was watched the catastrophe within Baltimore unfold as people were "given space to destroy" and an already devastated and shelled-out city slipped further toward Detroit. It's been 14 months since Baltimore opted to push the self-destruct button and in this, the year of marriage redefinition, gay wedding cakes, jailed county clerks, Melissa Click and her Mizzou muscle, Ivy League Halloween costumes, CSU-LA students rioting to stop the transmission of ideas, and transgendered bathrooms, I can't help but think that we as a culture have opted to do the same. We've let go of logic and reason and truth in the name of something far more ethereal and fickle: people's feelings. How people feel about themselves, about the society, about you; that's what matters and it is to those feelings that we ought to bend the arc of history and more importantly, public policy. It doesn't matter that biologically a person with a penis is considered a man, his feelings about himself tell him otherwise and so against all logic and scientific truth we must all engage in the mass delusion of calling a man "She" and allowing him to pee next to a woman. It does not matter that you as a person, either in your speech or in your actions, have committed no racist act; the feelings of Black Lives Matter intuit racism within you simply because of your white skin color and they intuit racism within "the system" simply because there exists "a system". Thus we must all ally with the BLM movement, chant meaningless and categorically wrong slogans, remain silent about our own experiences and dutifully ignore the astronomically high number of incidents of black-on-black violent crime in such utopias as Baltimore and Camden. It doesn't matter that you personally oppose the redefinition of marriage and want to avoid supporting it through your actions; if you happen to own a wedding-related business the government ought to be able to force you to offer your services over and against your conscience lest you do emotional damage to the couple-to-be. And it does not matter that you've never been a violent criminal or that higher gun ownership levels don't cause higher crime rates or that in places where gun ownership has draconian restrictions, places like Baltimore or Washington D.C., the violent crime rate is through the roof. None of that matters, what matters is that many people don't like guns or gun owners or even the idea of the 2nd Amendment and so as a result we should severely restrict the ability to purchase and own a gun and we should blame the deaths of innocent victims on anyone that disagrees with us.

Quin Hillyer, writing in the National Review, says that he feels adrift, "at sea in an alien culture...a stranger in a strange land":
"Nothing looks the same. The values, the culture, the standards, the frames of reference: All are skewed, tumped over, deconstructed, disorienting. We feel like we’re in a phantasmagoria, a Moody Blues lament in which “red is gray and yellow, white” — except that, unlike in the song, we are actually powerless “to decide which is right,” and the new cultural construct, unfortunately, is no illusion. This isn’t only modernization we’re experiencing; it’s a veritable inversion of values and decency, and of the very nature of truth."

Our own self-loathing will lead to our demise - we all want to be victims and very soon we will be; the last thing anyone wants to be is a hetero, white-male, cis-gendered, Christian, white-bread, middle-American...or someone that doesn't understand those labels - we hate ourselves.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chucu & His Homies


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 generally move a bit closer to Type-2 Diabetes. Chucu though has become something of an an object of affection for my 11th Graders and this past November they planned a surprise party in school for him.

It was a grand time with singing, eating and general merriment and it was satisfying to sit back and watch as the uber-privileged youth of high class La Ceiba celebrated and fawned over a humble, quiet kid from Los Laureles. Worlds are coming together William and I must say, you're somehow part of that.

Monday, February 16, 2015

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, tired of the vortex of guilt that has come from refusing to write, I'm tired of watching the culture rot from within while most of us cheer it on or bury our heads in the sand. I'm tired of watching blatant hypocrisy in the elite world of P.C. thought. William, I am going to write, I'm going to blather and ramble and probably put my foot in my mouth a number of times along the way; and it's all going to be utterly and entirely your fault. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Los Laureles Has a New Project!


Friends of Los Laureles,

My good friend Maureen Velasquez has just launched a new project in the community to reach out to young, at-risk girls. We're all of us very excited for her and the girls as they embark on this work together to transform the community of Los Laureles in Christ's name.

If you're interested take a moment to check out a video explaining the purpose of the project or head over to their Facebook page to see more about the girls and their lives in the community. If you're moved to help in any way, feel free to contact Maureen via Facebook or follow the instructions at the end of the video. Above all, do be in prayer for this project as it seeks to offer light and hope to these little girls that so often get overlooked in an already forgotten community.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


In my previous post I wrote at length about the difficulties the youth of Honduras face in their day-to-day and how the overwhelming realities of life drive many to migrate to the United States. I mentioned too that I know many youths that have made that journey since I first arrived here 6 years ago and that I know many that are planning to make that journey just as soon as they can. All in all August's posting came across as fairly dire and dark - and with good reason; in the grand scheme of things, life in Laureles is just that.

That being said, these past few weeks since having written that entry I've reflected a lot instead on the youth that, for whatever reason, have chosen to stay. I don't begrudge those that have left Los Laureles anything, in fact I really miss them; but I am continually impressed and humbled by the hardy, ingenious and fiercely loyal young men and women that have stayed behind. In my next few posts then I want to profile some of them; these hapless youth with so little opportunity or hope to cling to, these leaders and heroes of the garbage dump.

I want to begin with the young man that in many ways has become the person that I turn to the most for advice as it relates to activities in Los Laureles; the ineffable, indefatigable and ever-joyous Chihua.

I know I've written about him before, though don't ask me to pinpoint when: I'm forever amazed by his openness to others, his generosity with everyone he meets  and his ability to befriend and endear himself to every class of person. Chihua is universally loved and admired in the Laureles community and is a natural-born leader.

Aged 19 and the oldest of 7 siblings, he's the sole bread-winner in his family which he supports by running a barber shop out of his family's wooden shack of a home. His father left his family in Laureles when Chihua was about 5 and then would intermittently visit to impregnate his mother 6 more times over the next 10 years. From the time he was young then he felt the weight and responsibility of caring and providing for his family - he had to be the man of the house where his father had refused to do so. I think then that's how he learned to be so generous and self-sacrificial.
My father met him 4 years ago and was impressed by the simple scene of Chihua with a recently bought and rather tiny bag of chips. His siblings very near swarmed him when they saw him with the treat; hands out and begging to be fed. Perhaps what so impressed my father was that in a similar situation his own children would have stuffed as many chips in their mouths as humanly possible and then run off to take shelter under a bed and gorge themselves with what remained. Chihua though very calmly divided the contents of the bag in as evenly a manner as possible amongst his various siblings and then ate the meager remnants himself.

That one stuck with my father; he's recounted it to me several times over the years: "It was just one little bag of chips but he made sure that all of his brothers and sisters had an even share before he ate the rest." has always been his closing refrain.

For what its worth, Chihua refers to my father as his grandfather, says that he always remembers to pray for his abuelo, and likes to joke about going to live with his grandparents in Pennsylvania. Some of the more gullible youth in Laureles believe him.

He's got a charm and a easy-going wit that makes him instantly likable; more than that though people follow him. Men 5 and 6 years older than him will listen to his instruction and take his advice and not think twice about his being younger than they. In the past year he's formed a small band of older youth that basically hang on his every word; if he suggests picking mangoes, going fishing or hunting for iguanas that's what they all do that day. When I want to form a group to take swimming or hiking I call Chihua first and he essentially organizes the group and very often decides our destination. More recently he decided that anyone that wanted to go on outings with us would have to go to church with us as well. To him it only seemed fair.

This past summer I spent the last month of my vacation almost entirely in Los Laureles - day in and day out I was out in the community just visiting and passing the time with the youth there. Just like old times. One of my current students Jorge, for lack of anything better to do, began to accompany me, especially when we would go swimming or hiking. The first time he came along on one of our excursions he got a rather cold reception from most of the youth - from everyone in fact except Chihua. It was Chihua that began conversations with Jorge, showed him the best boulders to jump from and saved pizza for him to eat at lunchtime. Jorge and Chihua became fast friends - the two couldn't be more different; Jorge is bilingual, lives in a wealthy neighborhood and wants for nothing. Chihua...Chihua lives in Los Laureles. Their bond though has grown solid and they genuinely care about each other. The other youth too, seeing Chihua's acceptance of Jorge, very quickly dropped their pretensions and welcomed him in like one of their own.

On one particular sunny Saturday I called out to Chihua in the morning and told him to get a group together - I wanted to go swimming. He agreed and asked immediately if I would be amenable to including a boy named Tavito amongst our merry band of adventurers. I agreed but was a little surprised that Tavito would want to come with us - he's only 14 but works 7 days a week selling bananas in order to support his family. I've been inviting him along on our outings for years but he rarely if ever has accepted the offer and so I was pleasantly surprised to hear Chihua's news. Later that day while we were swimming I pulled Chihua aside and asked him how he'd managed to convince Tavito to come with us:

"It was easy" he replied "Tavito lives with me now."

I was a touch incredulous and ordered him to explain himself immediately, after all Tavito has a mother and two younger sisters that he essentially supports with his meager salary.

"Well the other day" he began " I was riding my bicycle along the highway and as I approached the community I happened to look to my right and there I saw Tavito sitting at one of the roadside cantinas drinking a beer. I couldn't believe what I was seeing so I swung my bike into the cantina to get a better look. Sure enough, there was Tavito with 3 empty beer bottles on the table in front of him and he was starting on his fourth...and he was drunk. I pulled him up by his ear, tossed him onto my bike and pedaled him back to my house. Once there I smacked him around a little until he sobered up and then told him that if I ever saw or heard of him drinking again that I'd beat the hell out of him. I then told him he could stay here with my family for as long as liked and since then he hasn't left my side except to go to work."

I was in shock; the other kids listening to this story laughed and joked about how Chihua was now rescuing street children and in part it was true. Tavito and Chihua had no real relationship before this particular episode, sure they knew each other and were friendly to each other but not much beyond that. Chihua though saw a kid from his community, a kid that clearly needed guidance and a strong male figure in his life and so did, what in his mind, was the only conceivable option.

My father said 4 years ago that Chihua would someday be that young leader from within the community that others would follow without hesitation and that would carry on the work that Konrad, Josue and I had started so long ago. My father was right and I think that day has come.

Among his many attributes is an innate urge to be the one kid to jump from the highest possible boulder or tree into the river.

Others may follow his lead...

but he's always the first.

So well loved is he that when I invite others to go out for their birthday dinners they almost invariably ask if Chihua can come along as well.

Flaco, Mateo, Chihua, Soplo

Chihua's Barbershop
Even gringos have started to frequent his establishment

Chihua with his mother Marta

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Slightly Honduran Perspective On The Immigration Crisis

I don't consider myself to be an expert on Honduras or even La Ceiba; it's a country of 8 million different lives jostling and colliding with one another in ways unimaginable to many Americans. To have an intimate knowledge of a people on that scale is impossible. Yet I know the milieu in which I live; I teach the super-rich, I surround myself with and live with the absolute destitute. I know Catholics, Evangelicals, and I worship with the Mennonites. I dance Merengue with old CeibeƱos that long for a La Ceiba of 40 years ago and I hang out with Expatriates from all around the world that are experiencing the stunning natural beauty of this place for the first time. I have a favorite barber, a loyal taxi-driver and an indefatigable homeless shoe-shiner. I know the context from which I am writing and after 6 years of living here, I know it well. I know then why children and adolescents, at least those from the La Ceiba area, are leaving for the United States either with "Coyotes" or entirely on their own. Over the past few years I've seen many, many children leave on their own volition and both the desire and migration rate have been growing tremendously this past year. I've striven with many young boys over the course of my time here to not leave, to not put themselves in such danger, to consider other options here at home; many to no avail. I get sick to my stomach every time someone leaves Los Laureles for the United States; both for the dangerous journey they're embarking on and for the hole they leave in the fabric of this closely-knit community. Duke and I just today took stock of how empty and boring the community feels sometimes now that so many people have left. Duke wants to head north too - he's been talking about it for a year.

I have a friend Gina; she's from New York, a lax-Catholic and a sometimes anarcho-feminist socialist. Sometimes I find it hard not to loathe her for those very reasons. She lives here in La Ceiba and has been working with women in a micro-finance NGO for the past 2 years. I love her though, even in spite of her many shortcomings; for her easy manner, her passable dancing abilities and her clear love of Honduras and its people. The other night she and I were talking about the immigration crisis in the U.S. from the perspective of being on this side of the border and we came to a few conclusions.

We've both been in the United States within the last 2 months and the theme that we consistently heard from both news outlets and the general public is that the children are literally fleeing for their lives because of all the violence here, as if we're in some sort of quasi-war zone here. My friend and itinerant visitor, Jojo Daniele and I just watched a recent episode of The Daily Show. The guest was author Sonia Nazario who wrote "Enrique's Journey" in 2006 about a young Honduran boy who set out on his own across Central America and Mexico en route to the United States in search of his mother who had left him when he was 5. According to Ms. Nazario and John Stewart, young Enrique's motive for fleeing Honduras, and children like him, was his desire to be reunited with his mother and issues of poverty whereas now children are fleeing Honduras because of extreme violence, gang warfare and narco-traffickers. She cited accounts of children being forced into gangs or drug rings at the point of a gun as the proof for violence as the primary motive for migration. To this assertion all three of us resoundingly cry "Not True!".

I'm not suggesting that there aren't awful levels of violence here in Honduras because there are and it's only gotten worse in the past few years. It also seems to affect the poor the most - while no one is truly insulated from the dangers here, the rich can at least send their children to gated and protected private schools in cars driven by armed chauffeurs. They utilize body guards and have high walls and electric fences around their mansions and private clubs. I don't begrudge them these things; they're necessary and even still gangs find ways to kidnap, hold for ransom and murder the upper-class. The poor though are truly at the mercy of the gangs and brutes and it's not uncommon to hear of gang members as young as 14 controlling an entire public school (teachers and security guards included), or for gang members to enter a classroom and execute a rival in front of the entire class. Their neighborhoods too are overrun by either gangs, narco-traffickers or petty thieves and so many, rightfully fear for their lives if they don't play by the rules the gangs set. Just so we're clear, the police here and government security more generally, is completely useless and inept and very often corrupt and in cahoots with the gangs and narcos. We don't live in a war-zone here though, and the day-to-day for many is pleasant, albeit impoverished in every sense of the word. The poor especially though do not see the world with any amount of optimism and so when violence, injustice and extortion do befall them, they take it in-stride as part of the inevitable curse of being poor in Honduras. My point though is this; murder, abuse and injustice in all their forms are part of everyday life in Honduras, at levels most Americans would not tolerate for a single day. It's awful but it's nothing new. Violence of this sort had been occurring long before I arrived here in 2008 and while it's not something that the general populace likes, they tolerate it and adapt to it for lack of any other options. I would suggest then that violence and gang activity alone are not the prime motives for children to leave Honduras.

On the street in La Ceiba if you talk to people about why they want to leave, the overwhelming response you hear is that they see no hope for a better future, no opportunity to improve their station in life, no means to support their family. Violence is always mentioned but always as a secondary factor. I just had dinner with two 13-year olds, when I asked them why they might like to leave here and head north they both replied that they have no hope for a better future here so why bother to stay. They're right, they don't - their families need them to work in order to survive so they'll never get an education and as a result, the only work they'll ever know is sorting and sifting through garbage or selling unripened bananas. Neither of them have ever experienced violence here; they've seen it to be sure, but never has it touched them personally, yet both have plans to leave for the United States this year. Duke spends his days hauling and laying cinder-block in order that his mother and three sisters can eat; he spends his weekends in high school in hopes of achieving something in this life beyond day-laboring. Yet at least once a week he reminds me of his desire to leave for the U.S. so that he can better support his family. I encourage him to stay, to finish out his studies, to put his faith in God that he might provide for them; but when he looks around Los Laureles and finds it devoid of half his childhood friends, all of whom are living and working and making good money in the U.S. he finds my advice hard to swallow. Duk has never been touched by violence.

Children are leaving La Ceiba in droves (and I do mean droves; the nearby town of Sambo Creek has lost about 200 children this year) because they see a future filled with poverty, back-breaking work that pays next to nothing and a corrupt government that actively steals from them and offers no security. Moreover, the children are leaving because they want to be with their parents. This explosion of child migrants was bound to come; for decades their parents have been migrating to the U.S. in order to be able to support them. Those children have been raised by relatives, sometimes by neighbors or sometimes by the street; they want to be with their parents, just like the protagonist Enrique in Susan Nozario's novel. Nearly every child I know that has left Los Laureles since I've been there has done so with the intention of reuniting with one or both parents in the United States. Sure they're fleeing violence and terrible poverty but above all else they love and desperately miss their parents; so much so that they're willing to risk dehydration, starvation, arrest and death just to be with them again. The children aren't stupid either, they know that upon arrival in the U.S. they'll need a better reason for the immigration courts than "I want to be with my mother" or "I want a shot a decent life", so they use all of the very real violence as an excuse. I want to be very clear here - Honduras is a very violent place and I'm not prepared to discount the stories the children are recounting because in many cases they're probably true or at least partly so; especially if they're from San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa. I can say though that the 200 children that left from Sambo Creek, a quiet and peaceful beach town, did so not with violence as their primary motive.

I'm not sure where this leaves us. I do consider the massive numbers of children arriving at the border to be a humanitarian crisis and one that the Church ought to take the lead in addressing. I don't think the children should be summarily deported or turned back because in many cases they have little or nothing to come back to. Neither though do I think they ought to be simply turned over to illegal relatives in the United States because we don't know who they are or if they have the child's best interest at heart. I'm not sure I have many answers as to what to do about the problem. I did think it pertinent though to address the true motives of this crisis as I see them from my perspective here in La Ceiba.

I do know that the U.S. ought to cut off all aid to Honduras tomorrow, as 2/3 of it ends up lining the pockets of corrupt politicians. If we want to know what causes the hopeless poverty, the unanswered and unmitigated violence, the general insecurity and overall distrust in public institutions which in turn leads to mass migration, we need look no further than the evil and corrupt politicians. With one hand they beg the world's rich to help their failing nation and with the other they pocket the money and then take spending junkets to Miami. The politicians of the past 30 years have single-handedly caused the deterioration of Honduran society and this present crisis and not one single U.S. dollar more ought to be sent as official aid to the Honduran government. That's all I have to say about that.

I leave you with this:

Memo, Duke & Pani

Pray for these boys and others like them.
All three were born into absolute poverty.
All three have avoided gangs, drugs, alcohol and premature fatherhood.
All are studying.
All want to migrate to the United States in order to better help their families here.
Pray that they stay, that God opens doors and creates opportunities here for them.
Pray that they not be touched by violence.
Pray that if they do migrate that they make it alive and that they be received kindly on U.S. soil.