I haven’t posted anything on this blog for quite a while. Someone asked me about it a week or two ago and it brought a pang of guilt but all I could do was shrug. I can’t really explain why, but I just haven’t felt moved to write anything. And I think if you don’t have anything to say, you should just keep it to yourself.
But the other day I saw a kid in dirty clothes standing outside of a schoolyard, peering through the chain link fence, and just as I got close, he raised a bag to his face to sniff some glue.
In Honduras they were known as Resistoleros, after the most popular brand of glue. You’d see the street kids in the park inhaling glue like that. A low-rent way of getting high. Supposedly it helped quell hunger pangs, but that always sounded like an excuse to me.
I don’t see it nearly as much here, which is maybe why I was struck by what I saw. Or maybe it was the cinéma verité quality of the image: a kid standing outside a school damaging his brain rather than inside developing it. It was like an gritty ad for an organization like ours, something we’d never run because it’s too in-your-face, too much of a cliché. Except that it really happened.
What that kid was doing, and not doing, put me in mind of something John Huebsch and I used to talk about. When we shine a light on success stories there are others that get hidden in the shadow.
For example, one of my favorites is about a young man named Mynor, who’s alcoholic mother left him an orphan when he was in junior high, and he was about to drop out of school when Common Hope gave him a scholarship. A few years later he graduated high school, first in his class. That’s quite a twist of fate, a narrow escape from being just another uneducated, unskilled laborer. The last I heard he was working as a bookkeeper, helping to support his family.
But John would turn it around, and ask about the Not-Mynor. The kid who didn’t get help. How many people do you pass along the streets, who were once at a pivot point in their lives, and it went the other way? What might they have done?
That’s a pretty charged question right now, as we’re already carrying over 500 students who don’t have sponsors while we watch the economy veer into recession and panic sweep the stock market. Tough times lead to tough choices, and it’s all the harder when you’re reminded of the consequences of your decisions.
So that makes me realize that I did have something to say, straight and to the point. There are a lot of people that need our help, and to do that, we need yours.