Emotions while reporting come out in different ways and though I remained steady while visiting morgues and murder scenes, it wasn’t until an interview with Honduran teenagers that I felt tears welling up in my eyes. Sometimes the stories that hit closest to our heart are those that are most relatable.
My siblings are all around the age of the adolescents we interviewed and though their lives are in many ways similar to those of my brother and sisters, the challenges they face growing up in one of the world’s most dangerous cities were painfully different.
We spent the most time with two young men who shared stories of migration motivated by fear, the difficulties their single mothers faced in raising them, and the constant pressures of the violence that surrounds them. Many adolescents talked about how they are discriminated and stigmatized as being violent or lazy, which leads to lack of opportunities.
Many questions my reporting partner and I have discussed are how these challenges take a toll on people’s mental and emotional states and eventually their identity. In an interview with Susan, a fiery young female activist who works on peace building initiatives, I got the chills when she said that the solution for many young Hondurans is to seek a better life outside their home country, which in a way means to renounce their identity.
However, what was incredibly inspiring and hopeful was learning about their aspirations and efforts to actively pursue and seek options that set the groundwork for stable, secure, and successful futures in Honduras. Interestingly, Pablo expressed an interest in journalism and Edwin was immediately comfortable shooting with my camera.
My hope is that with more investment in Honduran youth, adolescents like Pablo, Edwin, and Susan can work toward their dreams and goals in more encouraging environments.