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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How About That Duke!

I've always known Duke is an amazing fellow and I've said as much not a few times; namely here, here and here. He continues to amaze me though with the man he is turning into. He's no longer simply a kid that I love and am investing in but rather a trusted friend and partner in the ongoing work in Los Laureles.

It's no secret that I no longer live in Los Laureles...or Honduras for that matter. Life as a mission worker there has come to an end and so have the many projects that once both defined my work and were the structure and support for so many kids there. The largest and in many ways most important project we ran there was the high school scholarship fund - I've written aplenty about it and won't rehash the fundamentals of it here. While down in Honduras visiting this past Christmas though, I heard from not a few youth that they wanted to keep on studying and were wondering if I might help them. I have a hard time saying no. More importantly, I didn't feel like I could once again abandon these kids and dash any chance they might have of escaping their cyclical poverty. Especially when I most certainly had the resources to help them at my disposal. I told them I'd consider it but to not count on me as their only resource; some heeded that advice, most did not.

I talked it over with Duke one night while I was there and explained that I was concerned about the logistics. In years past it's been me or another worker that's gone to the schools to sign the students up, gone with them to market to buy uniforms and supplies, checked in on them periodically to make sure grades were on par and all was going well. This year though I wouldn't be there and there would be no one else to do all the leg work. Duke looked at me seriously and offered to do it himself. I smiled, looked at him and shook his hand.

In the next few weeks before school began, Duke compiled a list of 20 high school students, some veterans of the project and others just starting out from 6th Grade. He enrolled each one in their public high school of choice and started a file on each student. He went to market and brokered deals with the uniform vendors, the shoe salesmen and the school supply houses and came back to me with lists of needed items and their prices. He went to the Western Union once or twice a week to receieve the funds as I sent them down and then went back to market with each individual student to purchase their supplies. School began 2 weeks ago and he's now taken on the task of making sure our students are punctual, prepared and fulfilling their end of the deal; a month ago he sat them all down as a group and informed them that if they didn't try their hardest to get good grades that he would personally kick them out of the project and take back their school uniform. He called the other night asking that I make a warning call to one of the girls because he didn't like her lazy attitude.

I've felt for Duke this past month, I'm not sure if he realized just what he was getting himself into; what kind of gargantuan task he'd taken on. He's had mothers of children not in the project begging him to let their child in so that they too can study. He's had to herd 20 high schoolers through the process of enrollment and supply procurement with plenty of complaints along the way and he's had to be stingy with what little money we have. I've been impressed though, he's grown a lot in just the last month both as a person and in the eyes of the community. I'm excited for the what future holds for him.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sergio Turns 18

Checho told me last night that he wants to kill himself.

I almost lost it.

It was his birthday yesterday and only his older sister and myself remembered to send him greetings. His mother, who lives across the country, and his father, who lives in the same community, both forgot about him.

He seems lost...more than ever.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Keiser's Fixin' To Be A Momma

Maureen sent this photo yesterday with word that our beloved companion may soon be a mother. Maureen, as is her wont and nature, has been meticulous though with approving just the right suitor. She's compiled a fairly extensive list of potential mates but for various reasons; including dislike of the owner, general demeanor of the animal and gut feeling, has done a fine job of crossing off nearly every eligible bachelor within a 20 mile radius. Keiser for her part, is none the wiser and as far as we can tell is just as content to chase rats and opossums around the yard as she is to engage her maternal instinct.

An interesting sidebar: I am in near daily contact with the people of Los Laureles; I try to stay engaged in the lives of a few of the boys, but a goodly number of the adults and other children usually call me throughout the week as well, to inquire on my state and status. Inevitably the question of Keiser and her whereabouts always comes up and I always reply that Keiser still resides in La Ceiba with Maureen. Furthermore, if they would like to visit her, they are more than welcome to schlep down to Barrio Alvarado and stand at Maureen's gate where they will be sure to see a black streak chasing small animals and any children that happen to be in the yard. There's almost always a brief pause and then the question:

"Is Keiser yet pregnant?"

"No, not yet...Maureen thinks it's not yet time." Is my typical response.

"We'll please tell her to give us a puppy when the time does come." They usually say.

"Oh most definitely." I return.

As it stands now Keiser is on the hook for about 40 offspring...she'd better get crackin'!

Monday, February 4, 2013

I'd Forgotten How Much I Love This Song

en medio de mi confusion se alzaba tu bandera...