What Some Go Through

By Ben Anson

HAVANA TIMES – She sat perfectly upright, her frame and posture as perfect as her command of the Spanish language, that spiritually enlightened, great beam of female wisdom and intellect of which is Mrs. Lorena, a close friend and ex-colleague of mine – adored by each and every adolescent who receives her classes.

We sat around her table in the living room one night, as she regaled both myself and if I recall correctly – her daughter, with a most unimaginably horrific tale.

“I remember how her husband, who was a security guard, would carry her out of their shack in his arms and place her in a hammock out front. I could tell she was very sick yet I didn’t know what she had wrong with her. One day I watched her begin to shake and convulse terribly. I watched from the front of my house on the other side of the street. They lived in a corrugated iron shack, very poor – was that family. On seeing her shake violently I went straight over to her – running across the dirt street. When I got there she was dead… a little girl was touching the woman whilst repeating mummy, mummy…”

So she described the passing of a twenty-five-year-old woman, mother of three – two boys and a girl.

Twenty five…

The mother had contracted cervical cancer after complications from a high risk strain of HPV (human papillomavirus). The story takes place back in the mid nineteen nineties, when, according to the storyteller, such things were far more taboo and ridden in social stigma here in Honduras.

“The father, as I said, was a security guard. He worked very long, irregular hours – mostly nights, and was rarely ever present in the household once the mother passed away. Therefore, the three children were left to fend for themselves in the streets.”

Lorena depicted how the eldest of the three, gradually became a local boss of the 18th Street gang. The atrocities he would have had to have commited for such a position in the underworld, are left to our imagination.

MS-13 rivals gunned him down eventually.

The middle son disappeared. Nobody has seen or heard of him.

The little girl who prodded her dead mother, became a prostitute. She died of HIV.

One hears such stories and is forced to ponder the existence and indeed decency or utility of ‘God’. I responded, in conclusion, with words to that effect.

Mrs. Lorena peered at me through her reading glasses, breathed in, out, composed herself and said:

“As awful as things can get Benjamin, we always have a choice. Yes, there are understandable reasons behind how some people end up as gangsters or prostitutes, nevertheless, they still had the choice.”

May ‘God’, whatever he, she, it or they (is/are), guide and protect all the street children of Latin America and worldwide.

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Ben Anson

“The moment that I disembark (from a plane), I notice that everything in my body and in my mind readjusts itself for me", so remarked Gabriel Garcia Marquez - when speaking of his relationship with the Caribbean. He felt the strongest physical and mental connection with this part of the world and deemed it as far as ‘grave’ and immensely ‘dangerous’ for him to leave its zone. Only here, did ‘Gabo’ feel ‘right’ in himself. Honduras, does for me - precisely what the Caribbean did for Marquez. A resplendent yet troubled nation, that I have been decidedly unable to part with ever since 2014. I thus seek to capture its essence through the written word.

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