Before we came to Peru, I thought our work in the orphanage would be sad. That has not been the case. The boys are in a great moods when we see them and greet us with smiles, hugs and high-fives. Today was different.
We are suppose to help the boys with their homework; some need it and some don´t. I sat down next to a boy that had his head down on his backpack today and told him I would help him with this homework. He shook his head no. One of the directors came over to the two of us and yelled at him to pull out his homework immediately and begin. He had tears in his eyes. When she walked away he put his head back down. In my best Spanish (which is not terrific yet) I explained to him that I would stay with him and we could do the homework together. He shook his head no. I decided to find out what the hell was going on so I walked up to the woman that yelled at him and asked about him. Here is his story:
JC is a 12 year old boy who apparently used to LOVE school and do well. Apparently his father was horrible to him and everything changed. I did not get exact details; I am not sure I wanted them. JC ran away from home and lived in the streets. The police finally picked him up and brought him to the orphange. Since then, he has been depressed. He hates school. He hates to shower. He hates everything. He has been in the orphanage a few years so, if you do the math, he ran away and lived in the streets when he was likely UNDER 10 years old.
We bring fun activities with us to the orphanage (balls, jump ropes, art supplies, etc.) I had colored pencils and paper with me today and so I sat back down with JC and told him that I would make him a deal. I told him that we would play tic tac toe three times and then look through each of his notebooks to see what homework he had. I drew the grid, nabbed him lightly with the pencil and told him to go first. He looked up, took the pencil and marked an "X". I let him win that first one. The last two games we tied. Then I began opening up his notebooks to see where his homework was. As I flipped through his notebooks I noticed that some of his school work involved pictures he had to draw and color. The kid had some artistic ability! I asked him if he liked art and he said yes. He had about six notebooks that we went through and for the life of me, I could not figure out what he had to do for homework. But I did begin to figure just how much this kid loved art.
As I was going through JCs notebooks Sydney came to sit with us and she began coloring this picture where I had scribbled a bunch of black pen on white paper. She added color to the spaces. The finished product looks like a mosaic. He just sat and stared at her picture. I asked him if he wanted to try it and he said yes. So he and Sydney sat there and he completed about three of them and they were gorgeous! I wrote a bunch of postive notes about his works of arts and told him to keep them. By the end of the day he had done NO homework, but he was all smiles and had beautiful art. Scott and I left him all the pencils and told him he can have them for the night ("JC, you are the boss of the pencils") and we will do more art tomorrow. I would like to think the homework would get done tomorrow, but this is as far as I got today.