The story of Richar, who started everything.
My husband and I were living in Honduras in May of 2010 when we convinced his mom and aunt to spend a week with us in Nueva Esperanza, the government children’s home. We spent the first two days in the relative safety of the nursery. Our Spanish was not stellar and the intensity of the older children was intimidating. But on the third day, my mother-in-law really wanted to give the older kids watermelon. So, into the general population we went. As they cut and handed out the treat, Sean and I made a vain attempt to keep order and break up fights. I noticed one boy who was fighting and crying and tried to comfort him afterwards.
Less than an hour later he was fighting again.
I asked the employee standing nearby if she was going to help. “I don’t want to get hit.” I asked if I could step in and she replied “If you want to get hit…” I grabbed the boy who was fighting and crying and held him til he was able to struggle away from me. He ran outside and began throwing rocks as the four strongest and toughest boys in the home strutted across the courtyard towards him. They each grabbed an arm or a leg and carried the struggling child up to the boy’s dorm. I followed closely behind trying to prevent a dislocated joint or his head making contact with the concrete. I was confident that they would bring him to the dorm and leave him.
By that point, quite a crowd had gathered and it was a bit of a free for all as boys would sit on this struggling child, or pin him to the wall by his neck. I plead with the employee to make everyone leave the room. Sean slipped in as the boys filed out. Richar took his shirt off and spent the next half an hour tearing it to shreds as he sobbed over and over:
I don’t want to be here.
I want my mommy.
Please, God, help me.
I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully describe those thirty minutes. But as we left the home that day, I was a different person. I had seen with my own eyes a level of suffering that had always remained at a distance in the books that I read. And I could not walk away.
I had no idea what I could possibly do, so my first goal was simply to get him OUT of Nueva Esperanza. (I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here.) After Sean vetoed the option of adopting him (I had to at least try, right?) I started emailing any privately run children’s home I could find. A month later, Proniño replied saying that Richar had been with them, but had run away, and they would gladly accept him back. Oh, the joy!
In August, he was moved to Proniño…and I followed….
What started as love and dedication for Richar has grown into love and dedication for 90 boys in Proniño, 12 in Villa Soleada, another dozen or so on the street, 70 boys and girls in Nueva Esperanza, about 100 in Emmanuel and dozens of North Americans who thought they’d come to Honduras for one week of service and have found their love and dedication to some portion of these kids growing as well.
I’m so excited for what The Children’s Home Project can one day accomplish.
And I’d love for you to join me.
“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know.” William Wilberforce