November 10, 2014
Part Two of Fernando’s story
Through a friend Belkis learns of a school that accepts young students who live in dire poverty, a school and residence that requires no money of her – El Hogar. Belkis brings home an application for Fernando to fill out but anguishes over his bad grades and even whether the family is actually poor enough to qualify. Belkis does work occasionally here in Tegucigalpa, earning about $4 per day. She looks around at her 13-inch TV and the electric light strung by a bare wire attached to an old battery for power, and considers the fact that her family of four has two beds. Is this too much? But Fernando is accepted as a first-year student at the Technical Institute of El Hogar! Belkis rejoices. Fernando is very apprehensive.
A few weeks at El Hogar prove his worst fears to be true—the classes are much too difficult; he just hadn’t attended enough school to know the material and keep up. Plus the days are structured and at El Hogar students are expected to adhere to basic rules of self-responsibility and respect for others. He doesn’t fit in. Fernando longs for the freedom of the streets and considers escaping to the gangs who are so eager to take him in. They don’t expect good grades or respectful behavior. Fernando is certain he doesn’t have what it takes to stay at El Hogar. He doesn’t even want to, he feels too angry and worthless. He daydreams through classes, he doesn’t hand in assignments. Once again his grades are poor and people are disappointed in him. One day, after three months at El Hogar, Fernando receives a weekend-long detention and is not allowed to return home to visit his mom and brothers. This is the last straw. Fernando makes plans for his escape…
Look for Part Three of this four part story about Fernando next week.