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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To Be Like Children:

Around the world today childhood is under constant threat from poverty and Honduras is no exception. According to the United Nations’ foundation for childhood (UNICEF), there are 500 million children around the world that live in poverty or, which is practically the same, live without basic necessities. This means that they live without basics such as proper food, housing, schools, clothing, medical attention, toys, etc.

The children of the community of Los Laureles are a fine example of what is happening to children all around the world. Here we find children without a roof or food and where a primary education has become a luxury, let alone a high school education.

I present you with Juan Carlos, better known as “Chinito”, a boy of approximately 8 years of age (an age that I calculate for the maturity of his mind). His mother, wracked by a certain class of schizophrenia, has left him not only without a safe roof to live under but also without proper nutrition and medical care. Chinito is a great example of how education has become an unreachable luxury; at his young age he has not gone to a school and therefore cannot color, does not know his numbers nor the alphabet much less basic reading and writing skills. He instead dedicates himself to passing himself off as a little angel and begging for money from any and all visitors that arrive in the community.

His hand is full of collected bills, while the other children are coloring.

After giving you a superficial introduction to the life of Chinito, I want to share with you the most admirable aspect of his life, and that is, in spite of not having the basic and satisfactory necessities of life, he is a happy child. The majority of the time there is a huge smile on his face (accompanied by insults on certain occasions, but a smile of felicity nonetheless). He doesn’t even have the slightest idea of how poor he truly is because for him, just as with all children here, there does not exist ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor’. They don’t make distinction about anyone; a rich child in the middle of the children of Los Laureles would simply be just another friend with whom to play.

The other day I observed Chinito as well as a group of children of the same age that were playing, having a competition with their cars; cars that they had built out of recycled materials.

For them the competition was something semi-formal; a lot of fun but also very serious. As the French essayists Michel Eyquem said: “Children’s games are not games as such but rather their most serious activities.”

The contestants prepare as the fans arrive.
The public anxiously awaits.
They make their final adjustments.
The drivers board their vehicle.
Finally they're off.

That day I remembered something that I had learned a long time ago and it was the true meaning of the words of Jesus telling us that we should be as children. Children are weak and humble beings, the possess nothing but nevertheless have no ambition, the don’t know envy, they don’t look for the privileged seat nor do they hope to receive honors, they are not rancorous, they have a sincere spirit, they live a happy life without worry, they exist within the simplicity of their own thoughts.

The day of the races there were only 3 cars, nonetheless all the kids wanted to ride. What did they do? They shared with each other until all of the children had a turn. The children of Los Laureles show each day the humble, unselfish and non-malicious persons that they can become; and not because they’re poor rather it’s because, in spite of being poor, they are happy and simply, it’s because they are children.

Matthew 18:3-4 - And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

by: Maureen Velásquez (Girlfriend)


Dan Rosencrance said...

Well said (written). I've enjoyed this new (to me) voice in the blog.

I'm assuming that the photo of the the young woman with Chinito is the author. Beauty as well as brains, a most attractive combination.


Nancy Marshall said...

Awesome touching thoughtful post!