Adapted from Gavin Drake, ACNS
An orphanage for girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is the subject of a new film backed by Hollywood star James Franco. Franco is the executive producer of Las Chavas (Home Girls), a new documentary detailing the efforts of the Rev. Spencer Reece to teach poetry to the girls of Our Little Roses.
Spencer Reece was an award-winning American poet before he was ordained as a priest. He travelled to Honduras to spend a year at the Our Little Roses to learn Spanish. After two months, uncomfortable with the poverty he saw in and around San Pedro Sula, he wanted to return home. But the words of one of the girls struck him: “Don’t forget us.”
He applied for a grant to teach the girls poetry — no mean feat considering he did not speak Spanish very well; and returned to the home to embark on the project. He was followed by a film crew led by director Brad Coley.
Our Little Roses cares for around 70 girls from birth to age 18.
“I worked with Spencer previously, adapting his poem ‘The Clerk’s Tale’ into a beautiful movie,” Franco said. “We became friends during that process and after he was ordained and went to Honduras he discussed this project with me. It seemed like another great combination of poetry and film for a great cause, so I was happy to be involved with it.”
The girls’ poems are a mixture of lament and hope:
We live in a world that’s full of hate
I live in Our Little Roses in Honduras
which is next to El Bordo
Which is one of the most dangerous places
because they kill you
and follow you when you’re not looking
When I was six years old I came here
I felt I was in paradise
♦ ♦ ♦
Sometimes I want to be a turtle
To get into my shell and never come out
But I still have hope
That one day I will get up
When I see the sun after hiding in the shadows
and be the person that I always wanted to be
♦ ♦ ♦
I am a girl
Who has endured being invisible
Her entire life
I feel an emptiness in my soul
Which I don’t know how to fill
Las Chavas is making these invisible girls visible, and giving them a voice. Tia Chucha Press will publish a book of the girls’ poems next year.