Monthly Archives: December 2013

Points of Light by Guillermo Yuscaran

Hi all,

In the last update I talked about all the wonderful Honduran fables and stories that seem to be forgotten about on dusty bookselves in libraries. It seems bookshops in Tegucigalpa prefer to stock mass numbers of unsellable Nicholas Sparks novels, books that I’ve never read nor heard great compliments about. Of course, the Honduran books would obviously hold more interest to the everyday Catracho and it fills me with despondency as a writer that Hondurans might never get to read them because the publishing industry dictates that the Notebook is more sellable than these lost gems, and they’re right too. Whether its global reading trends or the gringos selling tack, I don’t know.

A few months ago, I wrote about a interesting book by Guillermo Yuscaran called Gringos in Honduras. Yuscaran, whose English name is William Lewis, is a Californian artist and a doctor of Latin American studies who came to Honduras in 1972. I’m not sure where he lives now, but he was livingin Santa Lucia and, if I remember correctly, there’s a library named after him. I’ve heard he now lives on the north coast. Since reading his Gringos in Honduras book, I’ve come across various others and I now call myself a Guillermo Yuscaran fan. I picked up Points of Light at the library a couple of weeks ago and whenever I get ten minutes, I love diving into this sweet little anthology of short stories set around Honduras when he first came here in 1972-73. There’s a lucidness about the stories, with tales of tragedy and sadness when Honduras was in a lot saner state, but are littered with characters with incurable illnesses. The characters are nice characters, and I feel that this is a much fairer reflection of the hospitable Catracho character that often gets forgotten about with all the negativity in the news (saying that, while writing this, I’m watching another news piece about yet another election scandal).

One thing that does annoy me here, is when Facebook statuses of foreigners almost boasting that they’re in the most dangerous country in the world and the lack of empathy they show the country and what a high majority of people go through everyday. They have eyes and can see it what it’s like, and not all of it is doom as it’s often portrayed. Their are areas which I wouldn’t visit in Tegucigalpa like I wouldn’t in brum. Then there are areas here, Gracias and Amapala for example, which are safer than many touristy areas in Costa Rica, a country that is apparently safe enough for gringos. I’m not saying there aren’t problems, I saw many of the social issues the country faces while at Casa Alianza, but at least try to understand the country a little more before reading stats and lists about the most dangerous countries in the world. It’s incredibly hollow and insensitive boasting about it, and one should question why they’re here if on some level the answer is ‘bravado in Facebook statuses. I’ll always remember what Abuelo Menin told me at Casa Alianza, that he hopes Honduras can one day look back at this current period and see it as a dark part of their history, with the aim not to return to it.

Back to Points of Light, I hope that Hondurans and foreigners alike get to read this lovely little collection. It might inspire Hondurans to return their country to a more saner ├ępoca.