When Angel graduated from the sixth grade, his mother Daisy, was proud as any mother would be. He was now seemingly one step closer to success as an adult. In any first world country, sixth grade would be a minor milestone in his educational journey, and Angel would continue his education the next school year.
However, in Honduras, at age 13, he is now working as a day laborer doing masonry. Angel works from 5 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. He cannot progress in his education until he has turned 15 and is allowed to enter the next level of the educational program.
Daisy works seasonally in the cucumber fields. She makes relatively good money for the area–$64 for the week. She works five days a week, from 5 in the morning until 6 in the evening. She also washes laundry when she is able, which provides additional income when work is available. Neither of her jobs are regular. As a result her employment situation is a continual source of stress. The money that Angel earns now that he is working is nice, as extra income always is, but one of Daisy’s greatest fears is that he will never return to school. Angel acquiring additional education would allow him to have greater earning potential in the future, but it will be difficult for the family to give up his income, which they have come to rely on. If Angel returns to school, his income will be gone.
Another stress Daisy experiences is related to her 18-year old son, Edwin. Edwin suffers from a skin disease, which has affected his muscles and also left him unable to work or attend school. It also places additional financial strain on the family for his medical care.
Looking down the street on which the family lives, it is in many respects quaint. The palm trees peak over the tops of the house, creating a tropical ambience. However, living in the tropics brings challenges.
Their kitchen is outside.
Their cooking supplies are subject to poisonous bugs, fly eggs and snakes–all abundant in tropical climates. There is no clean and contained area in which to store them.
While this family is fortunate to have more than one room, and more than one bed, their circumstances are still far from ideal. The room is not sealed and cold air seeps in throughout the night. The springs in the mattresses are easily felt through the worn padding. The beds provide a more spacious area for sleeping, but they are likely quite uncomfortable and hard on both the growing and aging bodies.
Fortunately, Daisy’s two youngest children are both able to attend school and doing well. For them, the hope is high and the fears Daisy has for Angel, have not yet set in for the youngest two. However, looking at these two children, it seems that with age comes diminished joy and an increased understanding of the difficulty of their circumstances and the poor prognosis of their future.
While Daisy, fears the prospects of the future for her children, through education, there is the possibility that they will be able to find their way out of poverty and into a life of greater ease, where the future is more certain, the work hours shorter, and the nights are warmer.
Written by Shalyce Cluff; Photography by Jose Miguel Amaya