There are too many things that happen here to possibly recount them all, but a few really touch my heart, here’s a sampling:
An Hogar (girls’ home) little girl that comes to the Kinder always seeks me out during recess to hold my hand and wants to be picked up. I told her she needed to act like a big girl and go make friends and play with the other kids. She said, “I don’t want friends, I want my mom.” She’s been at the Hogar since Christmas. I don’t know what her situation is or if she’ll ever be able to live with her mom again but she doesn’t stop talking about her mom and her house. Just the other night she was telling me about how any day now she’d be going back to her house. For her sake, I want it to be true.
On the playground today at the Kinder a little girl who knew me from last year because she did pre-kinder with us walked over and so I said, “Hi, how are you?” She pauses for a minute and says “My mom doesn’t recognize me. She’s in Spain.” After the shock settled, I said “Well of course it’s because you’ve grown so much this summer.” I know it’s a reality in many parts of the world where one or both parents goes to another country to work while the children stay behind with an aunt or grandma. It’s an accepted part of society here and I can understand the desire to have a better life. However when I see the effects in the children, I’m convinced it’s not worth it.
On the Monday of Carnaval, the happiest, smiling 5-year-old at the Hogar got her finger smashed in a door. Apparently the cuts were pretty deep so they took her to the medical clinic. Unfortunately with it being Carnaval there was no doctor there and the doctor on call either couldn’t or wouldn’t come in. They went around to the few other free/low cost hospitals in town and none of them had any doctors/surgeons working either apparently. So they finally end up back to the first clinic with her at which point a doctor does show up and says that the wound is too old and can’t be stitched up because they hadn’t put ice on it. Therefore, he amputates the whole first digit of her middle finger. And for what? Because no one involved, not even the nurses at that clinic, had the wherewithal to give the poor 5-year-old some ice? Because the doctor took his sweet time arriving at the clinic? I have no word for the mixture of anger/sadness/frustration I felt.
To end, another Kinder story. I was sitting after class talking to a little girl about the noisy boys at her table. I said “Oh those boys are so bothersome, they like to hit each other right?” She says “yeah,” and I say “They’re bad.” She says, “My mom’s bad.” I’m confused and say “I’m sure your mom’s not bad, why do you say she’s bad?” She replies, “Yes she’s bad. My dad hits her because she’s bad.” I said, “Does he hit you?” She said, “No but he’s doesn’t hit her now.” I said, “Ok good, hitting is bad.” She says “yeah….” looking thoughtful and our conversation trails off.