In hindsight, this should probably be titled the adorable. Those moments when you just want to pinch a child’s cheek because he’s being so wonderfully unique.
I first met him in Nueva Esperanza. He is a sweet and gentle child so he had a very hard time in the government home. So I was very happy when he was moved to Proniño about six months ago. This child is so very lovable, but, how do I put this…he’s just not cool. When the kids start jostling each other to get close to my camera to make the best “I’m too cool for school” pose like this:
He calls me Jennys – but it’s too cute to correct. There were three pinchable cheek moments with him.
1. The first was when we were doing a puzzle with three other boys. We got into a good rhythm and were puzzling without talking. Out of the blue he says “If my mom doesn’t come get me over Holy Week, I’m going to run away.” I sat straight up and said “WHAT??” To which he looked at me with a completely bewildered look on his face and started stumbling over his words as he tried to explain that it was joke. He had completely forgotten that I was sitting there… (Thankfully this led to a very good conversation about his family and what he would be going back to if he did run away.)
3. And my favorite – when he got locked in a large room in Nueva Vida. Having a large amount of ornery boys in the same place, a child being locked inside of something is a fairly common occurrence. (Often, it’s a stinky bathroom. Gross.) But usually, the child who is locked in will bang on the door and shout until some kind soul will let him out.
What does Juan Gabriel do when he gets locked in?
First, he lines up three chairs.
Then he sits under a table and rolls marbles towards said chairs,
as he patiently waits for someone to let him out.
(Just to let you know, these pictures were taken by Lauren. I’m sure if I had found him first I would have immediately let him out….)
(Another side note – this child doesn’t have a sponsor. If you would be interested in sponsoring him and sending him lots of encouragement to remain his adorkable little self, please let me know!)
I had LOTS of conversations this trip about girlfriends. One of the boys thinks he’s in love for the first time. Another is recovering from a break up in which his friend stole his girlfriend. (Ouch!)
And then there’s Darwin.
I heard a lot about Paula during my trip. Then one afternoon he discreetly pulled me away from the other kids to tell me a story. Apparently, Paula’s in trouble. She’s not allowed to be his girlfriend. (I immediately had a sinking feeling, wondering if she’s not allowed to associate with the kid from the children’s home….) I asked him why. It’s because she kissed him. (Oh, great. Just what we need. They’re 11 years old for goodness sake!!) But here’s how it went down…It was the end of the school day…He was one of the last to leave…He was about to turn the corner to join all the kids in the courtyard when she grabbed his backpack from behind…She then covered his eyes…and kissed him… I mean, this may be the cutest first kiss story I’ve ever heard. Especially as he whispered the last two lines. So adorable.
…..I don’t think Darwin has a sponsor either…..