Skip to main content

Nelmi Noehmy Artiaga Martinez

My dear friend and indefatigable supporter, Nelmi Artiaga, died last Monday. From what, no one really knows. She had been fighting chronic illness of some sort or another and had been in and out of the hospital for the past year. I am told that this past month she lost a tremendous amount of weight, bled profusely from random orifices and simply stopped eating. Nelmi leaves behind 4 children, 3 of whom are under the age of 15, and a serious void in the Los Laureles community. Always aglow with joy, always a servant, always eager to chat - Nelmi was dearly loved by everyone in the community and people there tell me that already the place seems a little deader without her laughter and quick wit. For my part, I balled when I got the call from her sister last week. Nelmi was one of the first adults to befriend me and her friendship was rock-solid; when I lived in the community she would stop by the house occasionally just to check-up on me, when ugly and false rumors once surfaced she stamped them out and this past year, and in spite of her failing health, she called me regularly to make sure that I was doing well and still intent on returning to Los Laureles. Nelmi was one of the adults I turned to when I needed "grown-up help" with certain projects; I remember specifically when a young, homeless boy named Jeffrey was dying from poison it was she that offered to help watch him in the hospital with me 24/7 and then helped with the funeral arrangements later on. There was a period of time during my year in the community that I couldn't afford to feed all of the kids that were living with me; Nelmi, and without my asking, took it upon herself to set aside food from her make-shift stand every Sunday night and deliver it to my door so that the kids could eat a decent meal. Even though she was only two years my senior she called me her nephew and treated me as such; when I came back for a visit this past January she roused herself and prepared a feast in my honor, whenever I might pass her in the community she would bless me, and she asked me to be her youngest daughter's godfather. More than all of that though, I simply enjoyed being with her; she was a joy to talk to, always with a funny story, a word of encouragement or a strong correction to set me straight. I am heartbroken over the loss of my aunt - I know she's in a place with no pain and great joy, that she's with her Lord; I just wasn't ready to see her go quite so soon.
 
Nelmi with two of her four children; Naomi and Abel

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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…