Nearly every late afternoon when I was in Manto we played basketball on the court by the church in central park. I called a handful of the players “my boys.” They were middle school aged, and a blast to be around. Funny, wisecracking pranksters that had great senses of humor!
We learned that Yosi is now a carpenter/construction worker. Timoteo is a teacher, riding his horse an hour each way, every day, into the mountains to educate the children of a very illiterate remote village. He told me he felt it was necessary to help his community, his country. And that teaching was where he felt he could have the most impact. Mario is working at a hardware store in Juticalpa, and is said to be doing well.
And Ramon, like several others in Manto, made his way up through Guatemala and Mexico and crossed the border into Arizona and found work in New Orleans. His mother is sick, still living in Manto. He sends money back to care for her, allowing her to get the medical attention she needs.
Ramon always was special to me. His smile warmed everyone who met him. He was smart and liked to learn. He would ask me for books so he could practice reading English, and one time told me that he wished he could live in the U.S. so that he could go to a good school.
When I asked the boys if they ever tried peanut butter, they all said no, and Ramon was the first to taste it and was the only one that didn’t spit it out. I have a picture of him wearing my sunglasses and a Penn State hat that my Mom gave him. He’s smiling, and is trying to look cool. It makes me laugh when I see it.
I pray he’s safe, and doing well.
I have yet to figure it out. When I left Honduras this time, I had a sense of closure I did not have when I left in 1999. I am beginning to understand that perhaps the reason for this closure is centered in knowing that the people whom I shared two years of life with are ok. Before, I didn’t know how their lives went on. Now I know.
They are healthy, and they still have each other. A small community in the mountains of eastern Honduras, getting on with life each day the same way we do, with little that really changes from one week to the next, year after year.
Continuity of life. Family. Friends. Relationships. Love.
Shared by all peoples around the world.