Let's start with the current situation in Honduras. Presidential elections were held on Sunday, November 29, 2009. According to Ubil (and a recent article from BBC world news!), approximately 68% of the citizens of Honduras did not vote in those elections. However, of the 32% that did, there was a majority vote for the candidate from the National Party (Partido Nacional), Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo. Opinions of this candidate are mixed, depending on with whom one speaks, but regardless the question still remains: are these elections legitimate or are they illegal?
On December 2nd, Honduran Congress put to a vote the reinstitution of Manuel Zelaya to serve out the remaining tenure of presidency (until the 27th of January). In a landslide vote of 111 to 14, Congress voted against reinstating Zelaya. The OAS continues to support Zelaya in saying that they will not recognize the new government without putting Zelaya back in office first (Note that the US has removed themselves from this statement and is now in support of the newly elected government regardless of Zelaya's reinstatement. Others are beginning to follow suit, i.e. Mexico, Peru and Colombia, whose representatives in a meeting yesterday spoke to the need to recognize this step in the Honduran political crisis as valid, even if not the most desirable or democratic course of action.). Some news reports say that this is a manipulation of the OAS - that there is inside persuasion from Chavez (Venezuela) and Lula da Silva (Brazil). Others say that by the OAS staying strong they are truly supporting the Honduran people. Whatever the case may be, these international relationships are important ones for the Honduran people, and will have a significant impact on the country's economy, trade market, and international stature.
Zelaya stands strong that he must be reinstated, and he has supporters to back him (there are rumors that if he is not reinstated, the upcoming school year may be largely affected by the teachers - as many educators are Zelaya supporters - going on strike). There is definitely adversity to the newly elected government; there is likewise definitely adversity to Zelaya. We have yet to see a route that will lead to a definite resolution.
The school year has come to a close. The clausura (graduation/closing ceremony) took place on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 26th. It was quite a celebration, and in a special way as the day before one of our boys, Adonis, also graduated from the public high school. These monumental stepping stones were celebrated with a fiesta in the comedor (dining hall) - and a full Thanksgiving meal complete with turkey! Spirits were high as everyone celebrated these successes and got excited for the upcoming vacation time.
In the meantime, "escuelita," or "little school," has begun. Every morning the volunteers run a program for all of our boys that keeps them busy with educational activities, fun classes (like cooking and dance!), and opportunities to continue learning new skills and lessons. It is a group effort that all of our volunteers do together, and it keeps the boys busy and continuing to grow and learn. Many afternoons are spent playing soccer, marbles, and hanging out at the Hogar.
In this time of waiting, anticipation, a little bit of anxiety and lots of hope, much of life in Honduras can mirror this liturgical season.
As we continue to wait for what will come in the political arena of this country in crisis (for soon coming up on six months), we wait and wonder what the outcome will be. Here in the States, we continue to read news articles and reports day after day, waiting for the one time when we will read that a definite movement has been made and a sure step has been taken. In Honduras, the people wait in suspense, standing strong by their beliefs (for whichever political party it may be), and long for calm, tranquility, and justice to reign. Perhaps this sense of constantly wanting resolution, and feeling disheartened by the unrequited search for stability and peace, somewhat mirrors what Mary and Joseph must have felt as they searched for a room at inn after inn. A sense of rejection and great struggle, a sense of desperation, but also a great hope in the grace that would soon come.
As our boys grow - as they get bigger, taller, more developed, learn new things and continue this journey of one day becoming independent, competent adults - we see in them pure goodness and light that can and will surpass the ugly reality they have lived in the past - we see the divinity in their broken, human hearts. They are the Child - they are the face of Christ, they are the manifestation of the Spirit, they are the gifts from God that grace this world. And we ask for your prayers for them, as they live as Jesus did - small children whose light and beauty shine amidst a darkness, bringing much hope and great joy.
Thank you for your support, love, care for the children. May you and your families be blessed this Advent season with deep peace, and may the joy of Christmas remain in your hearts the whole year through. Know that our children hold you in prayer this Christmas and always.