We sometimes say, 'El Hogar
is not only a home. It is also a success story.' Actually
it is many individual success stories. Below are a few of the
stories, which show the direct impact our schools have had on our
students and their communities.
Saint Mary’s Technical Institute Graduate
Returns toTeach at El Hogar
Medardo Cardona began his life, like many Honduran children, in
a single room wooden house with a dirt floor, two beds and no
running water. Throughout his childhood he shared this space
with eight family members. Medardo’s mother supported her
children with a ‘chiclera’, a tiny sweet stall similar
to others located on every Tegucigalpa street corner. From an
early age, Medardo had a love of art, and took joy in carving
his own toys out of wood scraps he found in the street.
Although Medardo attended public school and was a good student,
by the time he was 15 he no longer had the means to continue
his schooling. Medardo and his mother learned of El Hogar’s
Technical Institute and were grateful and delighted when he was
Medardo worked diligently and was an excellent student at the
Institute, where he grew in knowledge and confidence that he
could have more chances in life. He graduated as a qualified
electrician in 1999. Harkening back to his early love of art,
Medardo went on to study for 3 years at the National School of
Fine Arts in Tegucigalpa. He sold his work to support his studies,
participated in national art exhibitions and won first place
in a televised art competition.
Medardo kept his ties with El Hogar alive, and recently discovered
that El Hogar was looking to hire an art teacher. Returning to
the place that had given him so much at a critical point in his
life, he was thrilled to be accepted as a new member of the teaching
staff at El Hogar. Because of the poverty he experienced throughout
his childhood, Medardo shares a deep understanding and appreciation
of where the boys come from and he is a wonderful, breathing
example of what they can become if they also work hard and take
advantage of the opportunity they are being given.
A Letter from Juan Carlos Salgado to Director Claudia
de Castro –
(Juan Carlos came to me when he was 6 years old. This letter was written in 2001 when he was 17 and in his second year of carpentry
the technical school.)
Dear Directora Claudia:
I want to say thank you very much for everything that you did
for me. When I was thirsty, when I was hungry you fed me and
gave me drink. When I didn’t have clothes you dressed me,
because you love me. You were with me in good and bad times.
You gave me an education. You changed my future and now my life
is different. I have great opportunities.
I remember that when I was a little one, I was very sad because
I missed my grandmother especially during Christmas, and you
took me to your home and dried my tears and gave me your love.
You made me feel much better and all of this is the reason why
I love you a lot. You are very special in my life.
- Juan Carlos Salgado
Farm is Pride of the Village
written in 2008
Oscar Royel Diaz, 16, is in his last year of training at El Hogar
Agricultural School but already his community is reaping the
benefits of his education. After almost a five-hour bus journey
followed by a forty-five minute trek on foot, a recent North
American visitor to Oscar’s village discovered Oscar’s
family’s farm was the talk of the surrounding community.
Neighboring farmers visit to learn the techniques Oscar has
shared with his family.
Drip irrigation to conserve precious water (the country is now
in its 18th month of a drought), use of animal waste as manure,
and composting techniques all make for a more productive farm
in an area which earlier used slash-and-burn methods. Oscar takes
great pride in knowing his family members share the new-found
agricultural knowledge with neighbors, thereby enhancing individual
farms and the community-at-large. Oscar beamed with pride and
delight when he learned his North American visitors had heard
of the success of his family’s farm and its place of honor
in his village.
Enzo Flores – A bright light
written in 2008
The other day during his free time Enzo Flores, age 8, asked a teacher for a
broom because he enjoys doing chores. This is not the only thing that is unique
about Enzo, who arrived at El Hogar at the end of January. When he arrived, Enzo
was unable to bend his knee. Dr. Dario Zuniga, El Hogar’s physician, examined
him a few hours after his arrival and took him to the hospital for emergency
surgery the same day. With a diagnosis of osteomyelitis, a possibly fatal infection
of the bone, he spent a month in the hospital on intensive antibiotics while
recovering from the operation.
Not surprising to anyone who knows him, this lively, enterprising
youngster even managed to enjoy and make good use of his time
in the hospital. When visitors brought sweets for all the children,
he went out into the streets, sold them and gave the money to
his father. What a testament to his quick-wit and feelings of
Before coming to El Hogar, Enzo was living with his 63 year-old-father
and two younger sisters in a small rented one room ‘house’ with
dirt floors, no running water or electricity. His father has
serious heart problems and is unable to work. Enzo’s aunt
sends $70 each month for the family; the rent takes $48 of it.
Enzo returned to El Hogar at the end of February with a full-length
brace on his right leg. Did this slow him down or impede his
enjoyment of sweeping, or even roller-skating and playing soccer?
Not a bit. Two weeks after his return, the cast was removed and
Enzo has been enjoying his initial weeks in first grade with
his new friends.
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