Letter: Visit Honduras to see why people want to come here

To the editor:

Our daughter spent almost 2 1/2 years as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Honduras. While there, she helped with tasks ranging from teaching personal hygiene to building a basketball court for local children to have a safe place to play.

We visited her there one February, meeting her host family, friends, coworkers and children whose lives she touched. On our last night in town, a friend's mother prepared a meal for us. As we enjoyed the balmy evening seated around the table in an open-air courtyard, chickens and ducks roaming around us (ducks take care of the snakes, we learned), we noticed a series of teenage boys walking through the courtyard toward a little shed in the back. What was going on?

It was a going-away party. For a European backpacking trip? For college? No, not for these kids. One of the boys was planning to leave that night for the United States. On foot. Hitchhiking. Jumping trains. However it took for him to get to the Promised Land, away from the constant danger that is life in Honduras.

For those of us who live in comfort and safety here in the United States, it is almost impossible to imagine just how unsafe life is in places like Honduras. Even the Peace Corps, renowned for its work in the most poverty-stricken and vulnerable places on Earth, has left the country. It is just too dangerous there.

The cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa post homicide rates among the highest in the world due to the country's position as a drug transit point and as a center for some of the most deadly urban gangs, such as the notorious MS-13.

Is it any wonder that this young man wanted to flee to safety? Is it not amazing his friends didn't go with him? Yet, our government punishes desperate freedom seekers by wresting their children from their arms.

Perhaps our elected leaders should spend some time in Honduras. Let's see how quickly they organize a going-away party.

Carol Goodman Kaufman,

West Stockbridge


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