21st December & Sin Nombre – Part Two

Part 2 continues

Hi all

In my last post, I voiced my concerns about some of my
colleagues at Casa Alianza. Last week, however, I had great fun. On the Thursday,
I went to watch the lads play at a small stadium in Colonial Kennedy (which is
the largest neighbourhood in Central America, from what I’ve been told). You
basically turn up and play against any team which is there at the time. First
come, first served, kind of thing. The kids had been waiting all week and were
extremely excited (it was Honduran half-term). I feared for the team at first
because their opposition looked a fair bit older, and bigger, when I first saw
them. Wow was I wrong. I have mentioned before that I have played against the
kids in Casa Alianza and been humiliated by their skills. They did just the
same to this team. They ripped into them. The opposition looked as clueless as
the Man Utd midfield against Barcelona. Casa Alianza were the first to every
ball, doing tricks that Ronaldinho would be proud of, and moved the ball around
so well that the England team need to come and get advice from them. They
played with a lot of heart. In 45 minutes, they were winning 6-0 and the
opposition had barely mustered an attack. The opposition then started fighting
amongst themselves, which bemused a lot of the kids. The bad losers then
forfeited the game at half-time, which was a terrible shame because the kids
were enjoying themselves. But then again, the kids were toying with them, like
a cat does to a mouse before it kills it. They were showing off and you began
to feel for the opposition. I think the opposition just had come for a friendly
kick around, not to be traumatised like street football specialists.

On the way home, I saw a wonderful bit of loyalty from the
kids that I will never, ever forget in my life. As we were strolling down the
road to catch the bus, we unfortunately came across a Mara gang, tattooed up to
the eye-balls, quite literally. The Mara gang seemed preoccupied with something
else, even though they were definitely staring at the gringo in the crowd (me).
Almost systematically, like in the animal kingdom when a pack of animals
protect their young when predators lurk, the kids at Casa Alianza started
surrounding me and saying, “Protect the gringo”. They then started making a
hissing sound at the Maras and showed their middle finger, which I thought was
very brave (as well as hellishly stupid) but I was touched all the same. The
Maras looked confused and not sure what to do, especially when the kids started
picking up bricks and sticks. These guy could have easily have shot them but
they thought better of it. In hindsight, I think it may have been less about
protecting me, and more about the anger the kids feel towards the Maras,
especially the way the gangs terrorise neighbourhoods. It’s quite common to
find a child at Casa Alianza who has lost family, lovers or friends at the
hands of the Maras.

The next day I went to a street dance competition which the
kids were participating in, also in Colonial Kennedy. Many different centres
that help the youth around the city came and it was nice to see the kids
enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the power circuits
and the music kept cutting off, which of course consequently stopped the kids
dancing. It was a shame. They got through the day anyway, but the results of
competition didn’t go Casa Alianza’s way. They are not very good losers, my
Casa Alianza friends, and they approached the judges in a way that I can only
describe as riotous. To call the winners “zorras” and “putas” was a bit
uncalled for, but I must admit, it was incredibly hard to stifle my laughter. Their
ire was from the core. They started throwing food and stamping on chairs. The
anger continued when we got back to Casa Alianza, mainly with the girls, but I
decided to go home at that point in case I said something contradictory to
their belief that might get my head ripped off. If there’s one thing I have
learned about the kids, they are very, very, very determined people. I’m being
educated: the teacher has become the pupil.

I want to finish by recommending the film Sin Nombre. It’s
about immigration and the Maras in Central America. The journey starts in
Tegucigalpa but a majority of the film is set in Mexico. I am writing a chapter
in the book all about immigration and it’s been most useful, especially since
many of the kids I have interviewed who have tried to get to the USA have told
me how realistic the film is. It won many awards back in 2009. If you liked
City of God, this will be up your alley. I really liked it. Please see the
trailer below.

 

This weekend I’m going down to the south of Honduras. Apparently it’s very hot. It’ll also be the same time I will see the Pacific Ocean. Can’t wait!!

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About Nicholas Rogers

I am an English journalist/copywriter living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and I have been here since 2011. I originally came to work with Casa Alianza, which supports street kids and vulnerable youths. I then stayed on, after meeting Pamela Cruz Lozano, who calls me her adopted Catracho. I work freelance journalism and I have my own translation business. Why did I come here? For the challenge, to open my mind and get out of my comfort zone. I love literature and I've written a book with street kids. I write novels, short stories and poetry, all of which you will find on this blog, as well as a lot of information about Honduras. View all posts by Nicholas Rogers

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