Have you tried to pursue “The American Dream?” I know many people from Honduras who have.

This past fall, several of our Samaritan Scholars read a book with a group of people who visited us from Grace Community Church, located in Detroit. The book was Enrique’s Journey, a story about the reality people experience when they leave our country to search for better opportunities in the United States.

book group

The book club: Samaritan Scholars and team members in Honduras along with a group from Detroit’s Grace Community Church.

The main character in this true story is Enrique, a 16-year-old Honduran boy. He decides to undertake a very dangerous journey and come to the United States to try to reunite with his mother. His mom decided to leave our country to give her son a better life. However, what she achieves is that her son grows up resentful of her for leaving him.

Many of our Samaritan Scholars have a family member who decided to take the same journey that Enrique undertook, searching for an American dream that, in my opinion, is a trap or an illusion. If I could change the minds of all those who seek this dream I would do so. I would encourage them to never make or undertake this very dangerous journey.

My sister made this trip 22 years ago. She managed to cross into the United States, but she left her family behind. We love and miss her every day. She missed out on enjoying every special moment with our family, and now our father is gone. He died from Covid-19. My father longed to see her and share those years with her. Now, she will never be able to see him again, tell him how much she loves him, or give him a big hug.

My sister missed growing up and living all the special and sad moments with us just to pursue an American dream that, after 22 years, she still hasn’t achieved.

This story is repeated in most Honduran homes, especially in the families of our scholars. When we discussed the book with our scholars, tears did not stop shedding. Each of them mentioned a journey that a family member took trying to find better opportunities outside our border.

Samaritan Scholar: Maryi

One of our Samaritan Scholars, Maryi, with tears in her eyes, told the book club how her uncle had suffered trying to cross the border to the point of almost dying.

Maritza, the community leader in the Buen Samaritano community, was with us during the discussion of this book. With tears in her eyes, she told us how she experienced a trip on the beast (the train) and almost lost her life. She told us about seven days on the train, without water, food, or sleep. She also talked about when immigration deported her, and she thanked God for giving her a second chance to return alive to our country. 

Every one of our Samaritan Scholars and friends in Honduras has a sad story about this journey.

book group discussion

Maritza (sitting 3rd from the right) talks about her journey and how she almost died on a train after days without food or water. She thanks God she’s still alive.

In the book, Enrique managed to find his mother, but his mother cannot recover all the moments she missed being with him. Enrique’s mother missed seeing his first tooth fall out. She wasn’t there when he was sick, and she didn’t get to see him finish school and grow up.

In 2021, I had the opportunity to travel to the United States legally, thanks to International Samaritan. I was able to get to know the United States, and I saw my sister after 20 years! I also had the opportunity to see what life is like for an illegal person in the United States.

When I returned to my country, I asked myself these questions: Is it worth leaving your family behind? Does an illegal person really have a better quality of life than a person who lives and works in their own country? Is it worth leaving everything behind for a dream that may not exist? I say, “NO!” 

I don’t believe anyone will be better off in a country where they are illegal. It is true that in Honduras we do not have many job opportunities, but it is also true that if our Samaritan Scholars stay in school and study, they can get a good job and, above all, stay with their families. 

boys reading

Every one of our Samaritan Scholars could relate to Enrique’s story.

I loved this book, and I think it is important for our scholars to read it. One of our scholars, Maryi, tearfully said that she thanks God that her scholarship allows her to achieve her dreams here in our country, despite the difficulties.

Ronia Romero, Honduras Program Director

Ronia serves as International Samaritan’s Program Director in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She has a degree in Foreign Languages from the Universidad Autonoma of Honduras. For many years, she has dedicated herself to expanding opportunities for children, adolescents, and adults who work in the Tegucigalpa municipal dump.

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