Sean and I watched a moved called Sin Nombre (without a name) tonight. I told myself that I needed to wait at least 24 hours before I blogged about it so I could have time to process what I saw. And so that what I write isn’t overly emotional. But I can’t sleep because all the things I want to say are playing in my head over and over again. Maybe I’ll just wait 24 hours before I actually post it…
Sin Nombre is mainly about two people. A girl from Honduras named Sayra. And a boy from Mexico named Willy. Sayra is trying to get to States by riding on top of trains through Central America. Willy is in a violent gang and after the leader of the gang kills Willy’s girlfriend, then attacks Sayra, Willy kills him. The rest of the movie is their journey through Mexico, trying to hide from the gang that is now seeking revenge. Since this is a movie, I’m sure things aren’t 100% accurate and I’ve never been in the thick of a gang so I don’t have first hand knowledge, but so many of the kids I work with have experienced some part of this movie. And this is why it’s hitting me so hard. Most people watching this movie would see a bunch of violent young men. I see what my kids could’ve been.
I thought most about one kid I know in particular. He was in a gang. Do you know how one gets into a gang? He has to shoot someone. This boy shot a man in the leg when he was 13 years old. And you might be shocked reading this. Thinking that I spend time with dangerous thugs. But he’s not. He’s a child. He could’ve been any upper elementary school aged child in the States. You might be thinking “None of the kids I know would be capable of this!” But if the children you know didn’t have anyone to care for them, guide them, keep them safe – what then? This child’s mother is dead and he has no clue where his father is. He was a burden, being passed around to family members, and didn’t really have a home. So, he got sucked in. Gangs offer protection (of sorts), income, guidance, power and belonging. Sounds a lot like a family.
He’s ‘out’ now. But the gang doesn’t know where he is. Because you can’t just leave. You know too many secrets and you’re too much of a liability. So, he’s essentially in hiding, but he’s also a kid again. One of my last days in July, I sat on the pila (large bathtub type thing used to wash clothes and yourself) and talked to him for a while. He was washing his uniform for school and proudly telling me about how he was one of only a few kids that earned a scholarship to attend private school. He earned it by getting good grades and showing dedication to and discipline in his studies. His life is so incredibly different than what it was a few years ago.
There were so many kids I was thinking of while watching this movie but this child is the one that I can’t get out of my head right now. I just keep thinking about where he’d be if he wasn’t in Pronino. If he had continued on that path, he definitely would’ve killed someone by now, or have been killed. Instead he’s washing his clothes and heading off to high school. It boggles my mind. What Pronino is doing for kids is real, and it’s vital and it’s incredibly important. I fell in love with Pronino because this is where so many kids that I love are. But the more I’m learning about the incredible poverty, abuse, lack of education, lack of safety, and death that the kids are surrounded by in Honduras, I’m developing a deep respect for what the home is doing and what they’re fighting to prevent. Supporting this home is supporting the safety of these children and their community. And when you think that this child literally would be causing physical harm and instilling fear into numerous lives if he hadn’t been given other options by going to Proniño then you realize that you’re giving to something so vital.
I hope that one of these posts this week will move you to give! (Click here if you are interested.) And I highly recommend that you watch Sin Nombre. Excellent movie. And the makers of the movie did a lot of research by talking to the author of a book called Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario. This is an excellent book about Central Americans travelling through Mexico via train. Incredibly eye-opening.