The COVID-19 Chronicles 2.0

BertaMuralBy Tommy Airey

*Another episode in a weekly series of fictional accounts rooted in reality. 

Aden Alvarenga and his Tío Tejada grew up in the coolest region of Honduras. They were born, two decades apart, in the 1700-meter high mountain town of La Esperanza, which means “hope” in Spanish. Hope, however, is a concept conditioned by context. For white folks, hope tends to be synonymous with optimism and progress. It is a belief that things must get better and will get better. Eventually. However, for the Lenca of western Honduras, as it is for most Indigenous peoples of the world, hope subverts despair through solidarity. Hope is a rugged conviction that does not depend on circumstances improving. Hope resists despair through a fierce faith in a higher Power built on love and compassion that transcends events on the ground. Continue reading “The COVID-19 Chronicles 2.0”

The COVID-19 Chronicles 1.0

Salvador Zuniga CaceresBy Tommy Airey

This is a fictional account rooted in reality. 

“We must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism, and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction. Our Mother Earth — militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated — demands that we take action.”—Berta Cáceres (1971-2016)

A decade ago, Aden Alvarenga fled everything he knew in Honduras for a land flowing with milk and honey called “California.” He journeyed north with his Tio Tejada who had been working with Berta Caceres to save sacred rivers from foreign developers cashing in on dam projects. In the months after the military coup, soldiers who were trained in the United States, ramped up their threats and intimidation on Tio and their band of Indigenous troublemakers. His witness protection program required drastic measures so he recruited his nephew to head north to stay with a cousin he barely knew in a place called San Juan Capistrano, named after a white priest who came to Turtle Island to forcibly convert Indigenous peoples to colonial Christianity. Continue reading “The COVID-19 Chronicles 1.0”