Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I went back for a short trip to Honduras last week and now that I'm thumbing through my photos, I realize that my photos hardly capture the place. I don't really like to post pictures of the children that I worked with for their privacy so the photos I ended up taking capture the light, the mountain range nearby  albeit poorly ‒ and the eucalyptus trees that decorate the ranch, but there are a range of things that they also leave out. 

For example: the noise of the children outside my window at five in the morning as they woke up for school or the lights that would go out at odd times each day (la luz que siempre se fue) or the sight of three hundred children watching a Bollywood movie dubbed in Spanish on a concrete basketball court, all staring at a projector underneath the night sky. Even more, they don't capture the feeling of heading down with Yaa Gyasi's "Homegoing" and reading her words in the midst of a country bubbling with tension, as I grappled with race and history and privilege while traveling as a white American, reading the words:

"When you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect picture."

I often refer to the place that I used to work at as simply "the ranch," drawn to the vagueness of the word because its hard to describe the organization accurately. But I suppose for some context, it is best described as a casa hogar, a group home for children.

I already miss running after the kids as they yell ¡AtrĂ¡pame!, "Catch me! Catch me!" and dancing to Shakira and Carlos Vives' "La Bicicleta" over and over, lining up, performing choreographed dances with the other girls but as I witnessed the magic of what a group home can be, I also heard of the horror that is sometimes its reality. Just yesterday, I read through Francisco Goldman's piece on the 40 young girls who tragically died in a children's home in Guatemala, and I don't know if it's something that anyone can recover from. I like to speak to the charms of Honduras often  the terrain, the dancing, the expressiveness of the culture  but Goldman reminded me of an aspect I sometimes try to soften, how "every type of violence is present here."

Now that I'm back in Chicago, I find myself missing David, Juan Carlos, Lenin, Maria Araceli, Cynthia (and the list goes on...). I miss the air, the reggeaton (always), the sight of mountains that come as a surprise to a girl from Chicago. I miss a place that feels in a way like home, even though my home is here in Chicago too.

1 comment:

Carrie Weigel said...

Beautiful, beautiful.