No, really, he is and NO I am not biased.
I would like to introduce you to Leonel (it sounds more like Ya-Nell the way he pronounces it). He is an 11 year old Honduran boy who I met while working at Luna Beach. He came into the dive shop one day in early November to sell pasteles. A pastele is similar to an empanada. It is rice and some mystery meat in a pastry shell. A splash of hot sauce and lunch is ready! At 5 lempiras each, you can having a filling meal for less than $1USD.
Leonel doesn’t speak any English and would come into the dive shop with a look of responsibility far beyond his years. I was anxious to learn more about this serious little businessman. Over time I learned that his mother made the pastilles every morning and he took a collectivo (the cheapest form of transport on Roatan; a public bus that vaguely resembles a mini-van) to West End every day to sell the food. He would get in trouble if he came home with food remaining because his mother would think that he spent the day playing rather then selling food to help support the family.
Over several months, we were able to watch Leonel relax around us and by January he finally started to exhibit many traits expected of a boy his age. He would laugh and tease. Although I could speak to him in Spanish, Marc, the dive shop manager could not. Yet, Leonel seemed to yearn for his attention so they managed to devise a sign language that made little sense to anyone but them. Leonel took pride in carrying our dive gear from the boat to the rinse bin…continue Honduras Travel story, Going Diving, here.
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