The Finca is my family

Farm of the Child

The Finca is my family

By Joel Álvarez Menocal, a child of the Finca

Here I am, pen in hand
with paper anxiously waiting
for the quill’s fine point
to scratch across its skin.

Once again, it asks,
“What will you say to me today?
What will you tell me?”
The pen takes life in my hand
and I begin to write…

What I relate-I say to the pen-
is a very important chapter in my life.
I could make something up,
fooling even myself,
but to my own life, I must be true.

I am young still,
but to relate what I must tell you
demands a return to my infancy.
Let me return to years past
so that you understand, how I arrived
in the bosom of this great family.

In this manner I began to relate my life.
I say to the pen- It was many years ago
but my memories remain intact
as though it all happened yesterday…

I was born in Olanchito, in mountains of green pines.
I had a mother…
And when I was nine, I had a father for two short months.
He’s always been my father,
but never been FATHER.

As many in Honduras, my mother suffered the consequences of being a single mother.
She had six children and simultaneously was mother and father.

Maybe this explains her absence at home
and my living alone with two older brothers.
I have never said “mom” or “dad”
Because in my family, MOTHER was my grandmother and Martha was mother.

Did we attend school there?
Yes, I remember being forced to go
as my grandmother was raised by the old
“Stubbornness is treated with a stick”

About 1998 my grandmother dies.
She dies of cancer-I don’t know where-I was a child.
Two years later, my mother becomes sick and is bed-ridden.

Every day I would get up,
and walk half an hour to bring home the milk.
My other brothers roamed around
going to the market or hanging out in the streets.

My eldest brother smoked.
At twelve, he would enter discos
and shine shoes.
Our friends were gangsters,
thugs, people of the street
who now are in the cemetery.

In 1999, a North American appeared in our house,
proposing that we go to a “farm of the child.”
My first thought was that there must be bananas there,
or children that grew bananas.

At the end of ’99, I lost my mother.
How I wish that she were here today
and could see my accomplishments.
She lives and will always live in my memory,
soul, heart and mind.

In 2000, we arrived at the Farm.
I still remember the frustrated face we each had.
I still had not realized that the Farm of the Child
was a mother sent by God
to replace the vacancy in my heart.

God saved me and gave me His hand.
All my friends in Olanchito are dead.
They became gangsters.
They took the wrong path and lost.
Poor guys, they didn’t have a hand to guide them,
or maybe they did, but were too late in realizing.

When I arrived at the Finca, I was a rebel,
not to the same extent as my brothers,
but each of us fought and wanted to be in charge.

I didn’t understand when my mother became sick,
I, who slept by her side and brought her the juice
I’d earned throwing out trash at the fast food joint.
There were times when my brother would find me out and rob me of my food.

My mother, upon becoming ill,
would kneel and stay near her bed in silence.
And I? I was filled with fear.
Only now do I understand that she was praying.

I was at my grandmother’s side
when she departed this world.
I was there when my mother died
and left never to return again.

I only have three things to say:
Thanks to God.
Thanks to the Farm of the Child.
Thanks to all who make possible this work of mercy.

Yes, I am grateful to this great community that is my family
because it is my second mother,
because it scooped me into its arms
and gave to me its entire heart.

Thank you
For being in the night of my life…
A Star.

And with a sigh of triumph,
a flash of lightning on the paper
and the pen ceased,
limiting itself to sign: by Joel Álvarez (Menocal).

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