A Way Out

The Munguía household stands apart from many other homes in their neighborhood. Both the mother and father live in the home, as well as all of their children. They are more prosperous than some, though by no means well off, or even middle class. They have a few comforts many others in their community don’t, made possible because they have electricity.

Electricity provides the luxury of a refrigerator.

And the enjoyment of a radio.

Still, it is relatively little when compared to the typical home in the developed world. Many comforts considered essential in other parts of the world are not even an option for the Munguía’s. The vast majority of even the poorest households in first world countries have regular electricity, running water, and a working toilet. The cost of electricity makes the regular use of it tentative.

There is no running water into their home, and while their metal latrine is nicer than many in the area, it is still little more than a hole in the ground.

The area in which they bathe offers little privacy. The makeshift room is right off the main road and the sheets used to enclose it are transparent.

Like all good mothers, Odilia, worries for her children. She yearns for them to have a better life. Her greatest hope is that they are able to get a good education. She sees education as their path out of poverty.

Odilia and her husband Jose’s employment provides well enough that their two children have so far been able to stay in school. School is not a right, but truly a privilege in their community.

Employment is difficult though. The work is disproportionately strenuous and long for the pay they receive. Jose works seven days a week, earning approximately four dollars a day. Odelia is able to work every fifteen days washing laundry and making approximately three dollars for six hours of washing. However, hard work is better than no work, and much of the time, finding regularly work is one of the biggest challenges.

Like children throughout the world, Odilia’s fourteen-year old daughter, Heidi, thinks about her future. She dreams about what she might achieve. She would like to be a police officer. An education will certainly help, but there are many other obstacles the children will have to overcome to make their way into a life of greater prosperity.

The greatest dream Jose and Odilia have is that their work might be more profitable, their children might get an education and that they might one day have running water. With all their life appears to be lacking in basic necessities, it is not a long wish list.

Written by Shalyce Cluff; Photography by Jose Miguel Amaya

Thank you for joining us on this journey!

Two Markers

Two felt tip markers. It was all Mirian needed to stay in school for the day, but her family did not have them. With no means of purchasing them, she was sent home. Until she acquires the two required markers, she may not return to school. It is difficult to get a good education, when there are disruptions such as these to consistent learning.

Mirian would like to be a teacher when she grows up, but that will be impossible if she is unable to get sufficient education. She is caught in a difficult dilemma. She needs an education to improve her life conditions in the future, but there are significant obstacles in the way to obtaining one due to the family’s current financial situation.

In Honduras, public schools are available, but you may only attend them if you have the ability to bring the required school supplies. No one seems concerned with children who are unable to attend school because the supplies they need are economically inaccessible to them.

Mirian’s sister would like to be a doctor. Like Mirian, there are many challenges standing in the way of her achieving that goal. The necessary school supplies she requires have still not been obtained, either. It is unknown how much longer she will be allowed to attend without them–before she is also sent home.

Lesly, the girls’ mother, dreams that her children will one day be able to attend a university, that they will be able to see their dreams become reality and achieve economic security. With a university education, there is hope that the poverty, in which they live, will be eliminated for the next generation. For Mirian and her three sisters, the dream is tentative at most.

Regardless of the many forces working against them, Lesly manages to remain hopeful. Looking into the faces of her children, you can see why she desperately hangs onto hope that there is a way for the lives of her daughters’ to be easier then the life she now lives. She prays that her family might be blessed with miracles–miracles that would fulfill the needs and desires she is currently unable to provide on her own.

Lesly, is a single mother. She is the sole provider for her five children. Currently, she has temporary work sweeping the village’s sidewalks and streets in the morning. She has a contract for that job lasting two months. When the contract is up, the money from it will also be gone. In the afternoons, she sells vegetables. Her vegetable business was made possible through a loan, on which she is charged 20% interest. In any free time she has, she picks up whatever domestic tasks are available to add even the smallest amount to her income. Caring for a family of six with minimal opportunities for economic growth, is not easy.

The family’s pantry consists of this hanging shelf. Every two days or so, it becomes empty. When they find the food has run out, the already infrequent two meals a day becomes even less frequent. When the situation becomes desperate, they ask for food or money from others. Sometimes, only due to the generosity and kindness of others, they receive help.

The heaviness of her responsibilities, is evident on Lesly’s face. She is only 25-years old. The burdens she carries are wearying. When asked how she would like her life to be different, her response is that she only desires that she could rest. It is a constant struggle to provide the very bare necessities for her children.

Lesly’s daily struggle is tangible, but somehow, there is still joy and hope in the faces of the members of this family. Perhaps, someday, they will receive the miracles for which they have been praying.

Written by Shalyce Cluff; Photography by Jose Miguel Amaya

Thank you for joining us on this journey!