I first went to Honduras in 1977, when I was in the Jesuit seminary studying for the Catholic priesthood. I was there for four months; that was the only time I was there for such a long period. I've been back 22 times, but each visit has been for six weeks or less. That first time I was getting to know what the missionaries did, so I visited all over, about a third of the country. I went to many towns and villages with the Jesuits, lived with them, talked with the people and made life-long friends. I left the seminary in 1985, but I kept going back to Honduras.
Honduras struggles with human rights. The main problem in Honduras is the lack of the basics: lack of housing, good nutrition, medical care, education and transportation, along with a corrupt government and so on. But on the positive side, there are people who really do live a life of human rights. In the little village of Las Vegas, my future home, I see this all the time. And they have the dream of being able to live a life together.
I'm moving there in June. When I was there in 2000, Las Vegas finally got electricity. So I said to my friends, "Okay, now I can move down here," because I knew it would be just too hard to live there all the time without electricity. Right now, I own a little two-room house. It's about the size of a classroom at Parkway North High School, where I teach. Soon I will build a larger house, with a patio or something, so that the kids in town can play there, and folks can watch movies (in Spanish, of course!).
When I move to Honduras, if it doesn't sound too silly, I want to simply live and pray with the poor. I don't think there's any higher calling or more exciting adventure. I will help out in the school, church, town, and the surrounding villages, whatever I can do, but I don't think I will have a full-time job.
The only reason I'm not living in Honduras right now is because of the people here, the Parkway North students and teachers as well as my family and friends. These folks have given a lot of friendship and financial help to Honduras, so that makes it very difficult to leave. But it's also always been very hard to leave my friends in Honduras every year. What I'm hoping is that my friends here will be able to visit my friends there, and then they'll see why I wanted to move there in the first place.
You know, Honduras is not that far away. The capital city, Tegucigalpa, is closer to St. Louis than San Francisco is. So don't think of Honduras as some place way on the other side of the planet or something. They're very close to us and they have the same dreams that anybody else has. They're just having a harder time making them come true.
Producer's note: In the summer of '94, I accompanied the author on his annual journey to Honduras. I returned to the states a better, albeit physically sicker, person. On April 9, join Miguel and me at The Commonspace (615 N Grand) for World Wide Wednesday. We'll recount our travels in Honduras, show photos and video snippets, share some Honduran food and drink, and do our little part to bring understanding to the global village. Brian "Pedro" Marston
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Dr. Michael Dulick retires this year after 17 years of teaching Spanish and English at Parkway North High School.