Love Is Boss: Helping in Honduras
I am going to make a big ask of us.
Before I do, I want to share why.
The guy in the glasses?
He was my Shakespeare teacher in high school in the early '90s at Parkway North in Saint Louis. I knew him as "Dr. Dulick" and for me he was that teacher. You know the one. I didn't major in English. I haven't read Shakespeare in years. But, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel teaches us, teachers only think they have a subject. "It is the personality of the teacher which is the text that the pupils read: the text that they will never forget."
These days I'm a teacher and a rabbi. Both in no small part because of my teacher, Dr. Dulick.
I've never forgotten.
On June 26, 2003, Dr. Dulick moved to Las Vegas, Honduras where he is known as "Hermano Miguel" to most of his neighbors. Why did he do it? In his words, "To give to anyone who asks.” Because Jesus said so.
The way I'd say that? Because we live in the best possible world when Love is Boss.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it?
In 1985 he'd left the Jesuits to be a teacher at Parkway North, even though back in 1977 on the back porch of the church in Morazán, Honduras after chatting with Felix, 17-years-old, (who over the next three years taught himself to read and write) Miguel determined that one day he would live there.
Between 150-200 people a month . . . a month . . . come to Miguel for a "little help." They come from Pueblo Nuevo, Nueva Palmira, Paraíso , Terrero Blanco, La Catorce, Nueva Suyapa, Tierra Amarilla, Panal, Cafetales, La laguna, Guachipiln, Ojo de Agua . . . for Modesta Morillo coming to Miguel for help involved a four-hour hike through the mountains with her four children and three pounds of beans for Miguel.
He helped Maricela, Juan Blas, friends for over 25 years, and their six kids build a house. He helps children through school. Education in Honduras is "free" but supplies and breakfast are not.
What does he love most?
Seeing crumbs on kids' faces. Especially at birthday parties. Many children in Honduras don't know when they were born or how old they are, but Miguel makes sure each one is celebrated.
With a big cake confected by neighbor Carolina, corn chips, and Cokes, "everyone is invited," and everyone has to share, and no name-calling. Miguel says it might be that his proudest accomplishment is raising consciousness about "apodos," hurtful nicknames.
"When I got here, even adults called Ery "Mongolito" and little Alex "Chunte" [catfish] because he has a wide mouth. "A person is not their weakest feature," explains Miguel. "They have a name."
For years, Miguel lived off his pension and gave it all away, somehow never running out. But with his neighbors having some big medical emergencies, changing politics, rising costs . . . his modest pension does run out.
My teacher needs our help helping his neighbors in Honduras.
Have you ever felt like the sea . . . the world . . . is unreasonably large and the boat you are rowing terribly small?
If so, you aren't the only one. That feeling was written into an Old Breton prayer, given to new submarine captains by Admiral Hyman Rickover, and a plaque with its words on it sat on President Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office.
What can we possibly do that will make a real difference in a sea so big?
Well, let me tell you what we've already done: We raised $2,502 in 25 days.
For about $1,000 we covered the expenses that saved the life of a young woman who was in a bad car accident.
For about $500 we made sure a pregnant woman can get to and from the doctor and receive the regular ultrasounds she needs throughout her pregnancy to track the tumor growing alongside her child.
For about $100 we can fund the trip for a woman living in poverty who had dengue fever, to get to a doctor. We can help with the cost of her care, and the Gatorade waiting for her when she returns home.
For about $100 we can get a mother two pints of blood for uterine surgery for cancer, and for a bit more get her home between treatments so she can be with her kids.
For about $50 we got people to and from a bunch of medical appointments.
For about $50 we helped folks build a house.
For about $25 a pile of Honduran kids got to celebrate their birthdays . . . or just their existence if not a specific day . . . with cake.
For about $10 we got meals for a family.
. . . and more.
We've done amazing things together.
But we aren't done. We can't be done. Miguel can't increase his pension, and we can raise more money.
We started May 1st, and I had hoped by now to have a sustainable plan to announce . . .maybe a non-profit, maybe something else. Some way for people to sponsor Miguel's work on a monthly basis. A fund. A foundation. Something. Turns out, I need more than a month to make that happen. I am consulting with lawyers and the Minnesota Council for Nonprofits. I'm working on it, but I can't wait until I have it 100% figured out to invite more help for the people Miguel is helping.
Miguel and his neighbors need our help now.
Please, share this story.
Please, add some money to the fund.
It doesn't get more direct than this.
No office expenses.
Every cent goes to people living in poverty in Honduras.