Giving Back

Last weekend, I surprised the Proniño kids by showing up unannounced.  They always know when I’m returning (sometimes down to the day) and my next trip was scheduled for January.  Oh the looks of confusion on their faces as they saw me, had an internal crisis as they worried that somehow they had slept through Christmas and January had creeped up on them, then realized that wasn’t possible.  And the only logical conclusion was that I was a liar.

Lie: noun

1.  a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

2.  something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture:

3.  an inaccurate or false statement.
Ok, technically speaking, I told a lie.  But in order to surprise someone (which nearly everyone would agree is a good thing), one must tell a few ‘lies’.  I mean, I AM coming in January.  Hmm, maybe I wasn’t telling a lie after all.
Now that I feel vindicated, it’s time to move on.
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Soon after I arrived, I found that there is a new pilot program in Proniño in which the older boys have to volunteer a certain number of hours giving back to Proniño before they can leave.  Some will be doing the landscaping.
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(aka chopping grass with machetes.)
Some will be inventorying things (no squiggly red line came up, ergo, inventorying is an actual word).  Probably could’ve explained that better.
And some will be teaching.
I got to sit in on one of the teaching classes and man did my heart warm.  How did you learn to read?  To do math?  For all of us, we had a teacher.  For most of us, we also had a mom, dad, older sibling, tutor, nanny, SOMEONE who read to us, practiced multiplication flash cards, made us painstakingly sound out those tricky three syllable words.
156 Brayan Geovani
Now take that someone away and insert 89 kids your age.  You are one of ninety.  And you’re eleven.  And you don’t know how to read.  What is the natural thing that will happen?  You will one day be a 20 year old who can’t read.  Then a forty year old.  And you won’t be able to sign documents, understand instructions, read the newspaper or get a job doing anything other than labor.
(Side story.  I once went to a child’s home to track down a birth certificate.   Dad brought out a plastic bag FULL of receipts, warranties, old tests, birth certificates, etc.  It was a conglomeration of important and inconsequential documents.  But dad can’t read, therefore everything gets saved just in case one day he finds out that it’s important.)

04I watched one of the older boys teach two of the littlest boys and one not so little boy who still can’t read. It nearly brought tears to my eyes to watch his patience as the boys attempted to sound words out for two seconds before just guessing.  Repeatedly, he redirected the boys to sound out each syllable, or pointed out the part of the word that they stop paying attention.  My presence was quite a distraction, so after snapping a few pictures, I went outside and closed the door.  A few minutes later I could hear them chanting the multiplication tables together.

Small group instruction.
Affirmative attention from a positive role model.
These things could make all the difference in the world.
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I love that Proniño is doing what they can with what they have.  They are coming up with unique ways to use their limited resources to educate the boys.  Will you show your support of this by donating towards their education this year?  They have the desire and opportunity, they just need the tangible costs covered!  To donate, please click here and specify that this is to go towards Ornaments for Education.
We are currently at 39% of the goal with 15 days remaining!
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