In the most violent city of the world, where gang-related killings don’t even make headlines anymore, a clever 14-year-old girl is bringing a sliver of light to all who – like her – were born to poverty.
Paola Mejia lives in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where she’s become a local celebrity by posting online "how to" videos that, in a mix of mockery, practical advice and pride, have resonated across the world.
Her first video, which she posted while bored on Easter weekend, was a 40-second clip on the advantages of a tub-sized concrete basin in a public bath over a fancy pool. She stands in the knee-high water and claims she doesn't need anything else to make her happy.
"Look at how clean the water is – it's not infected like the beach," she says as she wears sunglasses, holds a bottle of soda and splashes in the water.
In the month since she posted that clip, she has made seven other videos via her cell phone, and her Facebook page has gotten 138,000 likes.
Her wash tub video alone has been viewed by more than 435,000 times so far.
“I started doing it for fun with my Face[book] friends, but they started sharing them until it came to the level it is now,” she told Fox News Latino in an email. “Now, in addition to fun [the goal is] to bring a positive message,” she added.
Aqui Esta El Video De PilaMar Muchos .Me Lo Pidieron Ai Esta Sea Humilde Chiki Bendiciones Mi Gente #La_Chiki_504
Posted by La Chiki 504 ツ on Saturday, April 11, 2015
Mejia lives with her family in Chamelecón, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in San Pedro Sula, and goes by the nickname "La Chiki 504" ("chiki" is a commonly used term in Honduras, like "che" in Argentina; 504 is the country’s telephone code). She has also created a fan page and dubbed herself Catrachiki (Honduranans are known as "catrachos").
Her two-word motto is quite direct and has a nice ring to it: “Sea humilde” – “Be humble.”
“Be humble, man. We have to accept it: we live in Honduras, chiki!" she wrapped up one of her videos.
One of her most popular clips tells people how they can avoid going to a salon to get their hair straightened — using a clothes iron and a pillow. Wearing flip-flops and tiny shorts, she also visits clothing stores to show people how to find a bargain and strolls into eateries to show people how to buy food on the cheap. "Can you give me the cheapest pizza you have?" she asks.
In another video, wearing a tank top and shorts, she lathers a bun with butter and says that's that what poor people in Honduras eat. "Here I am eating lobster. Here I am eating chicken with fried plantain strips," she says with a sarcastic laugh as she takes a bite of the bun. "We have to be humble, we have to accept that we eat bread with butter when we live in Honduras."
Mejia is the daughter of a maquiladora worker and a stay-at-home mom.
“We are a humble family, because we don’t have a lot of things,” she told FNL. “But with the little we have we are very happy, during the day there is always something to laugh about.”
Mejia seems to mock the rich, but in an endearing fashion – showing that life can be enjoyed without money and luxuries.
Deeply devout, Mejia said that she hopes her sudden fame helps make young people in Honduras reflect on what is really valuable in life. As for what would happen if or when someday she enters the world of the truly rich, she said, “I am rich, because I am the daughter of the owner of the world: God. And wealthy" – she added – "Well, that is not a goal in my life, but I hope someday I get a good job to be able to give my family a better life.”