I was editing some chapters for the book today. Hindsight does strange things to your thinking. Not so much about what I might have done when I was there, but more about the things the kids go through, and it gives you a sharp kick in face on a random Saturday morning.
I had a great up-bringing. I had pretty much everything I wanted, within reason. I was taught, as best as my parents could, the value of money. I try to spend my money in markets where the money, hopefully, will be filtered back to the owner of the stall, not a big supermarket chain. I had the same insecurities as Adrian Mole. I spent my teenaged years desperate to lose my virginity and get served in pubs, let alone fags and porn mags in shops. I was more interested in beating Brazil on Fifa 1996 on my Sega Megadrive than getting As in my GCSEs. I hated the gobshites that I had to share a class at school with and I look back now and I still think my teachers were shockingly poor (apart from Mr Fenwick the English teacher. He taught us a whole lesson about the Hartlepool Monkey and he introduced me to Of Mice and Men). I had lots of zits and was desperate for attention. I listened to Green Day and Stone Roses and Noel Gallagher’s lyrics really did speak to me (they still do!). I wish I could go back and apologise to anyone I gave a hard time to, and also give the kids who gave me a hard time a nasty poke in the eye.
Teenage angst, pretty much like every other soul.
How fucked off did you feel?
Today I read interviews that I did at Casa Alianza, with a girl who was raped by her father, and a boy who watched his family die in a fire in the Mosquitia, and another boy who told me how his father murdered his mum, and how Danny was murdered by gangs. I thought of the conversations with them and the respect they gave me, speaking with them and generally just shootin’ the breeze. I guess it was also triggered off by speaking with Paula Robledo Granados, a Spanish volunteer who I made good friends with while I was there, and is still there. The kids have to deal with their own teenage angst, and a lot more baggage.
The next paragraph may seem a bit of a cliche.
I think about my own problems, unemployment and having such a Tory arsehole of a Prime Minister, and how everything is so insignificant. I suppose I just want to leave a little sentimental message to the kids of Casa Alianza and say thank you. You taught me a hell of a lot. About survival and being happy. No matter what.
I want to return soon but the recession is stopping me from getting a job. I blame David Cameron. So should everyone else, especially street kids in Honduras. He’s a bell end.
I am going to finish by including a song by U2 that I think is brilliant. It’s the most beautiful song on Joshua Tree. I might as well. It’s nearly St Paddy’s Day