Felt Like Freedom

Honduran Refugee Caravan
Honduran Refugee Caravan

The plastic boat felt thin beneath the small boy’s feet. But the waters stirred up from the paddles that splashed onto the 12-year-old’s face and arms felt like freedom. As the boat pushed Edwin and his father over the Rio Grande River and closer to American soil, the long 22-day journey from Honduras, alas, seemed over.

“Then the soldiers captured us,” Edwin said. “And sent us to prison.”

Within a few days, Edwin and his father took on the long journey back to Honduras, where work, money and peace was nonexistent. Dad felt defeated; Edwin just felt confused. As his father mulled over the failed plan of freedom, which included American work and money to send back to their impoverished family, Edwin was left shaken by the journey he had endured.

During [that time], I had seen and experienced difficulties; a shortage of money, my hunger, tiredness, lack of shelter and many other things,” he said. “I had the fear of some people having guns; rifles. I thought it could be the end of my life.”

Pulse of Hope

Sisters visiting poor families in Honduras

During that time, though, God was working within what seemed a dead-end.

As Edwin and his father traveled northward, through Guatemala and Mexico, his mother, twin brother Francisco, and siblings had been begging Our Lady of Guadalupe for their safe passage. Our Lady would answer their pleas in a different way – providing the poor family with something far greater than what they perceived would be an American answer.

When Edwin and his father returned to their poor home, feeling a coalescence of dejection, exhaustion and hunger, Francisco wasn’t there. The news was shared; it seemed like a bright Alleluia of hope. Doors had been opened for Francisco to enter as a student into the Sisters of Mary’s Boystown in Honduras. 

For the first time in several years, the family felt a pulse of hope.

Together Again

Francisco had been invited into a religious community that would feed, clothe, educate, and catechize him for the next five years. Alas, freedom. The family felt that Mary had brought Francisco to a different type of  freedom – the lasting freedom that could be found in her Son. 

Right away, the family began to pray that Edwin, too, would be admitted the following year. And as Edwin joined with his family in the hard rhythm of life – tilling fields and planting and harvesting meager crops under the hot sun, he dreamed at night of reuniting with his twin.

Edwin and Francisco

And the finger of God came again. The doors to Boystowns opened for Edwin, too. 

Today the twins are together again. Their aim is to help their family out of generational poverty.  

“I dream to finish my five years and to continue my studies in college,” Edwin said. “I wish to be a mechanical engineer because I want to make things work.” 

“I thank God every day and for all the people who continuously help me to reach my dream. And as for my [dangerous] experience – trying to migrate with my father – it has given me a lesson. I need to be sincere in my studies. If I do that, I can be a professional – and with that I might lift up my poor family.”