Fe y Alegría

I still maintain ‘Fe’ and ‘Alegría’: Reflections from Honduras

[Héctor Efren Flores, Public Advocacy Coordinator at Fe y Alegría Honduras]

I have closely lived the events that are shaking my homeland, Honduras. Nobody has told me about them, rather I have experienced them firsthand, I have been there. I have seen how faith comes to life and plants hope, like a mustard seed or yeast; that is to say, it plants a smile, a trace of joy—amid so much adversity—in the people who live in times of anguish, repression, and death.

At each of the protests I have seen the joy of the people, how their skills emerge and illuminate the dark path through which this country is facing. I have seen each gesture of solidarity, I have seen the people share what little they have, even with those who repress them. I have seen how the repressive forces, former guarantors of the false democracy that we now live in, succumb with their rifles and ammunition to the toothless smile of the old woman or the dancing energy of a young woman in the street. I have seen closely the transformation of many, who, like José María Vélaz, gaze from their windows, from the university, with their eyes fixed on the poor neighborhoods in front of them, far outside their comfort zone. I have felt their eyes from those windows, their indignation growing although still from a distance until, shaken by a force— inexplicable to me—they jump to the streets and hope is built.

There is no reason to doubt that faith moves mountains or builds stairs, or lays down roads, or makes it accessible to climb. And that happens in this Honduras that hurts, that bleeds, that burns and that, despite the uncertainty generated by the ambition for power, wants to emerge, to come to light. I have been part of this joy and—above all—shared this joy, that blossoms from the common life that emerges in each of these protests.

Many of those men and women remind me of Abraham and his wife Patricia Reyes (who helped found the very first Fe y Alegría school) who, moved by faith and full of joy in their hearts, saw in Fr. José María Vélaz, S.J. (our founder)—and the youth who accompanied him—the potential and hope of the neighborhood, that is to say—now—the hope of my people.

I have seen many women distribute baleadas (typical Honduran food) to people they have never seen, women who give water to the thirsty, and women who smile with hope. Women, like Patricia, who that day, in the name of love, allowed her home to become a school, to become hope.

With them I have had to run away from the bullets that are fired to silence the voices claiming answers from the courts. The current misfortune of my people is dependent on the ambiguity of an arrogant and dishonest electoral tribunal. Between them I have seen the faces of Fe y Alegría, the faces of hope, the joy of real achievement. I have seen their young faces, their ideas as educators, their ability to dialogue, their capacity to deliver, their silent walk, their self-doubt which is, at the same time, their courage to take on the unknown. I have seen and imagined those young people who followed Vélaz—following his crazy project—with the fear of his inexperience and the strength of his youth walking through unknown paths.

During these days—marked by greed, pain, and blood—I have seen a new emergence of words, dialogue, and humanity against the metal of rifles. Without a partisan flag, without religious dogmas, beyond ideology, with human character. Over the last few days, I have discovered in many faces the same faces of those first youth, the founders of Fe y Alegría: their gestures, their messages, and their much needed and crucial support. That is to say: you. This is why I still maintain the faith and joy (Fe y Alegría) that without a doubt another Honduras is possible.

Héctor Efren Flores
Public Advocacy Coordinator
Fe y Alegría Honduras

[This post was originally posted by Federación Internacional de Fe y Alegría. To see the original post in Spanish, click here.]