Last April, when I participated in a Habitat Wake work team to Honduras, I met a 13-year old boy named Junior. Though we spoke different languages, I learned a fair amount about Junior and enjoyed the time we spent together on the work site. Junior was the unofficial leader of all the kids who would come to visit our work site after school.
I learned that Junior would finish the local, free elementary school this past January and despite his desire to continue his education in high school, he didn’t think that would be possible because of the tuition and his family’s need to have him join the work force.
A second Habitat Wake team visited the same community a month later and they returned with a letter from Junior to me. In the letter, Junior commented, “I know that I am poor. But that’s OK. We can still be friends.” I found myself saddened that Junior is poor in a material sense and even more so that he is aware and can express it. That’s some tremendous wisdom for a 13 year old! “But that’s OK. We can still be friends.” The young man speaks the truth.
I returned to Junior’s village two weeks ago. And there he was—a much more physically mature young man, recently graduated from sixth grade—working in the store just down the street from our work site. And, better yet, he is attending “collegio” (high school) in a free night school program that has just opened in El Rosario. Praises to God for that!
I would add that it’s not OK that Junior and his family struggle daily with abject material poverty. That is not God’s will for them. Habitat is making a difference in El Rosario and the need continues to be great—almost overwhelming. And we are building friendships. Please keep Junior, his family, and El Rosario in your prayers that God’s love may continue to come to them in tangible ways.