After eight months away, yesterday I returned to Casa Alianza to speak to Menín, the director, and say hello to all the children. It was nice seeing so many familiar faces, especially children who entered Casa Alianza in such adverse and complicated states and see them thriving now. It was also great seeing members of staff like Carolina and Paula and the team that work with the kids. I enjoyed it.
On the sad side, since I have left, three children have died. I knew about it before I entered again yesterday, but you could see how the staff and children still seemed rocked by it. Two of them were murders, one of which was Dani which I mentioned in an update in February. Another was about a month ago which left the girl’s face unrecognisable by gunshot wounds. She was always a bit volatile with me, but she was only 14 or 15 and looked harmless to anyone. The other boy who died was a drug overdose, suicide. I had heard before that one girl I had helped, a girl who called me Papi and who’s story is in the book, is now pregnant and living in Olancho with the father’s family. She was 16 or 17 when I left Casa Alianza. The father was about the same age and also in Casa Alianza. The brother of the father, who was a budding footballer, is also due to be a father. He once threw a rope around my neck. He must have been 15 or 16 when I left, and I know his girlfriend was in Casa Alianza but I didn’t know her too well. There is also another lad who is going to be a father soon, aged 16, also a footballer as well as a barber. His girlfriend used to call me “hermano” (brother) due to having very similar surnames. I was very surprised by all three cases due to their mature behaviour and none of the kids seemed interested in having families before the age of 20. Now, and I hope I can be pleasantly surprised but I doubt I will, they are rejoining the vicious circle of poverty. I’m sad that I never got to say goodbye to any of the above children.
Another sad thing I was told yesterday was that the funding sources for IHNFA have been cut. IHNFA is, if you like, children social services in Honduras. They work with the police tracking human trafficking and have hundreds of beds for desperate children all over Honduras, whether they are orphans or sent there by the police. It’s leaving thousands of children in precarious situations, either moving back with their parents, some of whom might be dangerous, or on the street. There are also massive job cuts. Seeing the NHS being cut is soul-destroying, but I think Cameron and Osbourne are cutting the NHS because they do not believe in a free health system and making everything privatised (I think they are both bell-ends because of this), it has little to do with the recession or austerity measures. Recession or not, he was going to cut the fuck out of it. With IHNFA though, there is absolutely no sense in cutting it. You’re driving your country into a less developed state. Years of hard work are cut with one hasty snip of politician’s finger.
I enjoyed walking through the doors and seeing the tinker-haired and enthusiastic Anastasio. He works on the door and usually has kids high on Resistol pestering him. He’s a great guy and was full of beans talking about the Olympic games and the closing ceremony. You can find the biggest anglophiles in the most random places.
Menín, the director, is leaving Casa Alianza at the end of the year. He seems ready to leave. 25 years of saving kids, fighting politicians and raising awareness of their plight is a job very well done. The book is going ahead online. Will update more on that in the coming updates.
Another thing at Casa Alianza since I left has been a wonderful donation of the language programme Rosetta Stone by a US based organisation. The kids love it, as do the staff. They kept saying random phrases like “There are tomatos in the salad” and “The book is on the brown table.” It was funny. I have been invited to a dance event at the local theatre by one of the kids and I will probably be at the 25th anniversary. I will be going in one day a week to keep in touch with the kids and help out where I can, depending on whether time and work and future job permits me to.
I now have a fridge but I have a contant battle with the ants. I have killed millions of them. I don’t feel great about it, but it’s a matter of survival. It’s dog eat dog world. The ants go on the rather arrogant line that, “this big chele bastard buys the food but we’ll eat it.” I have found out where they are hiding but I fear the rath of God or Lady Karma if I kill anymore.
Last night I went to see a band called Pez Luna with Pamela and her brother and cousins. They call themselves jazz but I don’t think it’s jazz at all. It’s fusion of chill out and indie music. See what you think.