Here is a picture of me with my friend Pedro Sosa. Apart from some of the staff, Pedro is the only person who has been at El Hogar longer than I have been coming here - starting in 2002. Pedro's story is an extraordinary one, and exemplifies what El Hogar is all about.
Pedro was found years ago wandering naked in a forest near Tegucigalpa. He was not able to say anything about where he came from or who his people were. He could only say his name. At the time, he was probably in his early twenties, but nobody is really sure how old Pedro is. Soon, the fact that Pedro has a serious learning disability became clear. He can see, hear, and speak, but could not read or write.
Claudia brought him to live at El Hogar. Pedro is a gentle soul who is much beloved by all at the school. He is, at once, an older, and a younger brother to the kids here. During free play in the evening, it is not at all unusual to see Pedro with several small bodies clinging to him.
Pedro loves books - which is extraordinary because he can't read. But Pedro and I bonded over books on my first trip to El Hogar. I was leading a group of teenagers on that trip and was completely exhausted at the end of the day. I escaped to the bench outside la cosina where the lighting is good with my book to have a few minutes alone. Pedro came up to me as if we were old friends and sat next to me with his book - a picture book of underwater animals. I happened to be reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel" which has two pictorial sections, which Pedro found fascinating. He speaks not a word of English, and my Spanish was, how shall we say, rudimentary at the time, but we had a fine old time with each other's books that night.
One of my favorite stories about Pedro Sosa was in 2004 when the movie "Napoleon Dynamite" came out. Somebody from a previous work team had brought him a "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt from the movie. When he saw me that trip, he came up to me, all smiles, and said, "Yaysone, vote for Pedro!" I had just seen the movie and I cracked up - Pedro laughed, too, but I think he was laughing at me laughing. Anyway, that was and remains the only English Í've ever heard Pedro speak. (I wanted to write him in for the 2004 Presidential election, but remembered that you had to be a US citizen.)
Pedro is not a student here. If we were going by the book, Pedro would not be allowed to live here. The fact that he does is, as we are fond of saying at the MathWorks, "out of model." Thank God for model-breaking, or Pedro would probably be dead or in some unspeakable asylum down here. The compassion and grace that allows Pedro to be a part of this community is amazingly taken for granted by the staff and students here. But I want to recognize the miraculous quality of this place. Stuff like this happens all the time at El Hogar.
Pedro is content. He is beloved. He has all his needs taken care of and gives back to his El Hogar family with affection and humor. In my book, he is a roaring success and I only hope I can say such things about myself some day.
- A few parting thoughts
- The Final Two Days (part 3 - the final day)
- The Final Two Days (part 2 - the ice cream party)
- The Final Two Days (part 1)
- Greatest hits
- A place called home
- Closing out the incredible week at in Honduras
- How can it be Thursday ALREADY??
- Touring Teguc
- Another day, another lesson
- Soccer Blow-Out
- What a day!
- Too Many Hours with a Wheelbarrow?
- Thursday afternoon - on work crew again!
- Impressed by El Hogar
- Sopa con banana, take 2
- Thursday visit to the Episcopal Agricultural Schoo...
- My friend Pedro
- Kids at School and Play
- Return to Amarateca
- Things that Go Honk in the Night
- A day at the Instituto Technico Santa Maria
- Wheelbarrow Capsize
- Another day, another reality check
- Creating The Bean Blog
- The Widowmaker
- Day 4 of our Honduras trip is winding down, I am s...
- All the hard labor we could ask for - and then som...
- Sweat, Tortillas, Dirt, and Tears
- Day 3! More beans!!! We are having so much fun.. W...
- Play-time Snag
- A very full Monday at El Hogar!
- It is, after all, a school
- Where do I begin?
- A day of thanks
- Arrival weekend in Tegucigalpa!
- A Trip to the Chinese Market
- Arrival in Honduras
- Beanie-Baby Workout
- Third time's a Charm
- ▼ May (43)