Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reality and Literature

Today OYE's Circulo de Lectura interprets and applies the literature of Honduras' Ramon Amaya Amdor to present day Honduran reality.

Author Ramon Amaya Amador

Mr. Amador is famous for his social activism and analysis of Honduran reality and social injustice in the 1950s and 1960s. His journalistic efforts around the banana plantations, which he dubbed the Green Prison, culminated in the creation and publication of his most famous book Prision Verde. The book straddles the line between history and fiction-reporting and analysis. If one reads closely they may encounter the particular lens that Amador viewed the world through. That lens is the same that applies to his book Cipotes.

Cipotes - Kids

OYE's reading group, working with Program Coordinator Luis Paredes, selected this book because it addresses the reality of Honduran youth. Although it was written over 50 years ago and set in Tegucigalpa, the characters and the story are very relevant to the 12 OYE scholars. Without giving away any important details, the story follows the lives of Folofo and Catica-two children growing up with a single mother that shine shoes and sell newspapers to survive and support themselves.

Cover of Cipotes
As we dissect the themes of the novel, hands fly into the air drawing connections between the novel and present day Honduras. Why was Folofo shining shoes at 11 years old? For the same reason that we see 11 year olds juggling on every other corner of San Pedro Sula today. 

Folofo was selling the Diario and El Cronista in the 1950s and today El Tiempo and La Prensa depend on the same child labor to sell their product.

Responsibility and injustice are two important themes in the novel Cipotes that touch a live nerve in today's Honduran youth. Beyond the exploitation and necessity of youth the book and the scholars analyze the causes as well.

What are the causes? To begin with there is a lack of respect for law and institution. This is compounded by a lack of civil society to strengthen these institutions. Secondly, as a society, Hondurans needs to insist upon and implement a government that protects its citizens and not just its businesses. Finally, Honduras needs to provide opportunities to health, education, and just employment to all of its citizens.

"Muchas de las cosas que viven las personajes vivia mi madre" - Sandra
"My mother shared many of the experiences lived by the characters"  - Sandra
The novel was written over 50 years ago, but its themes and events are fresh in the memory of Honduras.
Despite the anachronisms the story could be taking place today in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro, or El Progreso. At the end of the exercise Luis leaves us all with this:
"Now we have to decide what we do and how we confront this reality. How can we each commit to make an impact in our own way?" - Luis
Whether exploitation and injustice is taking place here in Honduras  or in your own neighborhood, it is important that we all ask ourselves this question: How can we commit to making a positive impact in our community?


monu yogi said...

This is compounded by a lack of civil society to strengthen these institutions. essay writer for hire

OYE Honduras said...

Thanks Monu! That is very true and testament to why OYE exists. Opportunities for youth to participate in healthy activities and form civic bonds/understand civic duty is essential.