Before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Honduras, Melvin, now 17, was unstoppable. While living at Casa Alianza Honduras, our Covenant House program in Tegucigalpa, he attended night school, took computer classes by day, helped out other residents in Casa Alianza activities, participated in a local youth group, attended church, and heard lectures on art and culture through a program called Empower. Melvin (not his real name) was always on the go.
For one who had already experienced so much in his young life, he showed an amazing drive to succeed. Melvin’s mother passed away when he was just 3 years old. Melvin and his dad moved into a home called Our Little Sisters and Brothers, where they lived until his father died when Melvin was 14. The youth then moved in with an older sister, but the two were like oil and water; they did not get along. Melvin fled.
He’s been with us at Casa Alianza Honduras for two years now, where his great passion for computers, sound systems, technology, and music has blossomed. He has developed goals for his future and has pursued his daily schedule of activities energetically in order to reach them.
In March, though, Melvin’s comings and goings came to a screeching halt. That’s when the COVID-19 pandemic began to lumber across Honduras. For Melvin, COVID-19 has meant no more going out to school, church, or the Empower lectures he looked forward to.
“I’m sad,” he says, “because I can’t see my friends and pals at church and school. But I feel okay. I’m not worried because I feel safe and protected at Casa Alianza. I’m really grateful to Casa Alianza for giving me everything I need like good health, good food, and a roof over my head. I really feel very blessed.”
And don’t think for a minute that Melvin is sitting still. He now takes his school classes virtually and spends so much time on his studies and homework that he had to drop the advanced computer program he was involved in. He still gets together—on Zoom—with his youth group and attends mass via his parish’s Facebook page. In whatever free time he has left, Melvin practices resilience by learning to play the guitar and picking up another online computer training that works with his busy schedule.
Melvin says he has learned to control the negative impulses and emotions that arise from stress. He has become even more responsible in carrying out his chores, showing love to everyone around him, and praying for all who are suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic.
And he remains hopeful and focused. “I want to continue my studies and vocational formation, to go to church, to say farewell to those who have died in the pandemic, and to embrace all my loved ones who are still alive and who I haven’t seen in months,” Melvin says.