My car won’t start. There is no money for repairs. My preschooler is sick. My vacuum cleaner is clogged. The A/C is broken and the house is too hot.
Sometimes my life gets so frustrating that I want to pull my hair out. However, I’ve learned that problems are relative. Compared to what some of our sponsored kids face each day, my problems don’t seem so bad. A little boy in Honduras has given me new perspective on problems.
I am the correspondence sponsor for a boy named Eduar. Eduar is 11. His younger brother, Mainor, is 6. The boys have no father to support them. Their mother is very young and uneducated. She cannot find a job. The three of them survive on the scraps and handouts of other poor relatives. They seem to drift from house to house.
Sometimes Eduar writes that they live with an aunt. The next time he writes, they are living with a different relative. Sometimes they live with their grandmother whose health is failing. There is no stability. They are a burden, a drain on the limited resources of already-impoverished relatives.
Fortunately, Eduar is a sponsored child. He is given regular medical checkups and nutritional supplements for deficiencies caused by malnutrition. He receives love and encouragement, tutoring, Bible teaching and nutritious meals twice a week at his child development center, Conquistando Promeseas.
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But Eduar is afraid to walk to the center. He lives in one of the worst neighborhoods of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the most violent city in the world. An average of more than three people are murdered there every day.
Two rival gangs are at war with each other in Eduar’s neighborhood. The bullets fly day and night. Innocents die in the crossfire. Earlier this year, troops were called in to quell the violence, but the gangs fight on.
I try to imagine how I would feel if 90 or more people were murdered in my city every month and the police never solved the crimes. I imagine it would erode my sense of security. It would shake the foundations of my life. This is what Eduar and Mainor live with month after month.
Eduar’s mother begs him to come to church with her. Sometimes he refuses. He is too afraid. He knows his delicate, young mother cannot keep him safe on the trek through the neighborhood to the church. He hears the crack of gunshots day and night.
Eduar has heard that someone is grabbing children off the street. Their bodies turn up later with all the internal organs missing, sold for profit on the black market. Can it be true? Can people be this evil to children?
This story is so horrifying that my mind refuses to believe it. Yet in the days since Eduar first related this story to me, several people have told me that they have heard of this occurring in other impoverished places in the world.
Eduar knows he is not big enough to protect himself and his little brother, for whom he feels responsible. I tell him that many people are praying for their safety and that he must continue to attend the center and go to church. I tell him that he must obey his mother. Nevertheless, I know he is still afraid.
My heart goes out to Eduar, but surely he is not the only child at the center who fears walking through the neighborhood. Surely there are other children in that neighborhood who also fear their walk to the center.
I am endeavoring to raise a $2,000 (U.S.) gift for Eduar’s child development center so the church pastor can rent a bus to bring the children safely to the center.
The center is an oasis of security for the children of Eduar’s neighborhood. I’d love to see them be able to arrive safely and without fear, but I don’t have the resources to do this on my own. Together we can make the trip to their child development center less frightening for Eduar and the other students.
Regardless of whether you can contribute, please pray for the safety and sense of security for all the children in San Pedro Sula. Thank you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathy Olson lives in Ashland, Ore. She has been a Compassion sponsor for 30 years.