Guest post by Francisco, a youth reporter from ChildFund’s Reitoca project area in Honduras. This article originally appeared in the “Free Expression” column of the La Cronica newspaper produced by Honduran youth.
I live in Reitoca, a municipality located 85 km (53 miles) south of Tegucigalpa in Honduras. With an estimated population of 15,725, Reitoca is part of a nation filled with natural beauty. We are known for our famous thermal waters and refreshing waterfalls.
Contrasting to such beauty, there are scenarios that worry me greatly. As I wake up every morning, I sense and am exposed to high levels of violence and crime in this once tranquil and safe place. Not so long ago, we used to sleep confidently, doors and windows open. The morning after, everything would be in place, just as we left it. These are now only memories of a safe town we used to live in.
Reitoca is now very dangerous. This year alone I’ve already witnessed 27 robberies. Common crimes are assaults, as thieves seek to steal money and cell phones. Other offenders trespass on private property to steal crops and hens from responsible families who’ve made an extra effort in saving to grow their own.
Again, this is only what I’ve witnessed, who knows how many more crimes occur on a daily level?
Our municipality is aware of the growing crime numbers, and what’s even worse is that criminals continue to steal without the fear of being punished. It’s shameful that visitors and tourists express they’re scared of walking around during the evenings because it is dangerous.
Our youth and the rest of the population want there to be peace and security. We dream of a safe town free of crime.
It’s time to wake up and end the “If-it-doesn’t-affect-me-it’s-not-my-problem” attitude. It’s time to join efforts and ideas, and together with local authorities finally resolve this problem that affects us all.
Editor’s note: A top priority for ChildFund Honduras is providing children and youth with leadership and advocacy skills, which is why Francisco wrote about what is taking place in his town. He and his peers may then strategically work together — often with adult community leaders — to bring about change in their communities.