So, it’s been a week since my last post and I think it’s time for me to get on the ball again. Only ten more days of the fundraiser! Do I want to commit to daily blogging for the ten days? Hmm…. Good news update – Michael Swartz met his $5000 goal which means that all of the donations to his page have been doubled! I’ve now changed my goal to $5000. I don’t have a matching donor, but we definitely need it! I actually should change my goal to $20,000 so we can reach the overall goal for this fundraiser…Gulp.
I have been wanting a big, breaking news type topic for my return to blogging after a week long break. And I got it! This is a story that I spent all year wishing that I could write. So, happy to be writing it on this fine Monday morning.
One of the few older boys that that I got to know before moving back to the States last year is Jairo.
My last few days of living in Honduras I was on the verge of tears nearly constantly. I was pretty sure I was going to be able to come back regularly, but there was no guarantee. And it was going to be so different from my then current situation of jumping in the car and heading to the center any time I wanted. And I knew that kids were going to run away and that there would be nothing I could do about it from the States.
Two days after I returned I found out that Jairo had run away and I experienced for the first time that rug being pulled out from under me feeling. Jairo had been in Proniño for many years and although he can be trying for the staff, he’s such a fun kid who really seemed to want his life to be on the right track. One day we were talking about his girlfriend. I asked him why he liked her. I was expecting the answer I typically get from the kids – “Because she’s pretty.” So when he said “Because she teaches me things” I was surprised. I asked him what kind of things? He said that she was helping him to not cuss as much. And that she was helping him learn to calm himself down when he’s angry. What teenage boy recognizes that this is a good thing AND appreciates it??
I also experienced one of the sweetest moments with him. On my last day I was taking videos of individual kids so that when I was home and missing them I could watch the videos and feel a little closer. Unfortunately, Jairo was way to cool to make one. A few hours later it was really sinking in that I was leaving. I went off alone to collect myself because an emotional breakdown was on the verge of happening. Jairo followed me to see what was wrong. As soon as he saw my face he said he was ready fo his video. This video is blurry. And I didn’t even translate it because it’s nearly all nonsense. But it’s one of my favorites. I love how silly he’s being. And I love that he’s making himself look foolish in an attempt to stop the flow of my tears. (Unfortunately for him, this just made me cry more!)
Having experienced these things with him made me even more sad when I found out that he had run away. But he has been part of Proniño for so long that I thought for sure he would be found and brought back quickly. But the days turned into weeks which turned into months and it was starting to seem likely that this was going to be a permanent situation. So discouraging.
Then, a few days ago, I got some incredible news. He’s back! (You knew this was coming, right?) Almost a year to the day that he ran away, he came back. And he came on his own. I don’t have all of the details yet, but I know that a few days ago, he showed up at the gate, asking if he could return.
And I love this so much. I don’t love that he has lost a year of school. And I’m sure he experienced some very ugly things on the street this past year. But I love that he values himself enough to make the decision to better his life and better himself. And I love that he was allowed to return. I can’t wait to see him and talk to him again. I’ve been waiting so long! And I had been teaching him some English. We’ll need to continue this. =)
Now here is my plea that you will help this center and help these kids. Without Proniño they’d still be on the street. I’m so happy that Jairo made the decision to return, and it’s donations from people like you that help to ensure that this place continues to exist. Click here to donate! Since I’ve changed my goal to $5000, it now says that I’m 37% to my goal, which is a sad number to see!