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"I Had Been a Poor Child Without Dreams or Hopes"

By Hector V., as told to Ebelina Arteaga, Honduras Together Manager

Hector's family

My name is Hector. I was born in Choluteca, Honduras, in the south of the country. My family moved north to the bigger city of San Pedro Sula when I was very young because my parents needed to find work. San Pedro Sula is known for its industries, manufacturing, and import-export businesses.

For a while, we lived near a river and tried to make ends meet. But to our surprise, the Honduran authorities forced us to move to the outskirts of town to an area called Ocotillo, where the government allowed poor or homeless families to live. It was essentially a “squatter’s settlement” and had no running water, no paved streets, and no public services.

Most families, including children, had to scavenge in the nearby city dump (the batazo) to find discarded products that they could use and even expired food to eat. The risks were enormous. It was an unhealthy and unsafe place for anyone.

As people were resettled in Ocotillo, it started to resemble a community; but, gangs caused fear because they sought control over the area. It was a very dangerous place where there were deaths every single day. Young people too often became gang members in order to obtain a little food and power.

Ocotillo was a poor and dangerous place at that time. Youth could not imagine ever having a better opportunity in life.

The settlement became increasingly crowded, and the needs there became more evident. So, the government gave property to Lifeline Christian Mission for the purpose of opening a school, clinic, and church.

Lifeline was the salvation of many young people. It lifted them out of the world of violence and delinquency, and it gave life to many who were lost in the world of gangs and evil.

My family decided to register me at Lifeline’s new school: Ocotillo Christian School. My aunt and my brothers also attended. It was a small school at that time, but it offered a good education, food, and free registration. 

Students were required to attend Sunday school, so I began to go to church with my brothers. In Sunday classes they taught us biblical values and that children have rights.

Even at the young age of 5 years old, I began to have hope of a better future. I began to envision myself getting ahead and being a better person. I realized that I was being given opportunities that too many children in Ocotillo did not have, and I was grateful!

In church and in class, the pastor and teachers always pointed me to Christ. I developed a love for Christ, and I wanted to make the most of the life that God gave me. I knew He could help me live and prosper even in a place that the government had abandoned. 

Because of Lifeline, my life changed completely. I had been a poor child without dreams or hopes. Thanks to God’s work through Lifeline, I was able to graduate from high school, and for 11 years, I have been a teacher at the very same school that helped me realize my dreams!

Hector & daughterI now have a daughter. She is the most beautiful thing in my life! Josselin Abigail is her name. She is my princess! She is 5 years old and attends Ocotillo Christian School, just as I did.

Lifeline gave me and my daughter a future. The support of the school, church, and clinic have helped us tremendously. I know I can never repay what I have received, but I try to do what I can to support Lifeline’s mission in the community, doing whatever is within my reach.

Lifeline has given life to the poor community of Ocotillo. If Lifeline was not here, many young people would be gang members or perhaps they would be dead. 50% of the development of our community is thanks to Lifeline, supporting a clinic, school and church. The clinic has saved many lives and helped so many with health problems. The church points us to God when we feel tempted to sink into fear of the gangs. And the school gives hope of a better future to young people. 

Ocotillo may still be a place marginalized by the government, but it is a place where there are many professionals who today help other young people to fight for their dreams. Thanks to Lifeline my life and the life of many young people today have a purpose.

Hector & Josselin
Read more stories about people like Hector, and help more young people find a better future!