Today’s blog post is written by Charrissa Taylor.
A few weeks ago I arrived at the local shelter for learning centre “clases” and the kids who can’t understand the schedule (ie all of them) start to try to convince me that it is their turn today. I read the names from the schedule and when little Wilson (I call him this as there is another older Wilson) hears his name, he laughs and claps his hands.
I nearly break down in tears.
And I don’t know why. This is a completely normal reaction from a 3 year old.
For the next hour everything this child says and does is rivetting to me. I find his reactions to everything fascinating. Every smile from him cuts me to the core. And I’m not quite sure why I’m finding it so hard to keep it together. He is just so beautiful and I keep thinking “He shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t be here…” over and over. But I don’t think that any of the children should be here so why is little Wilson so devastating?
This feeling of devastation, and I will admit, some hopelessness stays with me for the rest of the day. I can’t stop thinking about Wilson and I don’t know why. And then some time in the night it hits me…
Everyday I see things I don’t want to see. Abnormal behaviours from children in abnormal circumstances adapting to their environment. Toddlers playing with knives, glass, powdered plaster… sitting in there diarrhoea, sleeping face down where they land on a filthy concrete floor… bored children doing absolutely nothing, or scraping at a concrete pillar or doing reckless stunts… thirsty children taking more brown water into their parasitic bellies…
Even if we could get these kids out of this situation it could be another year so I have to block it all out so that I can give what I can to a few kids at a time for a few hours a day. And I’m coping perfectly well until little Wilson enters the scene, acting perfectly normal, looking perfectly normal and suddenly I realise that the reason this bothers me so much is because I don’t believe it can last and this terrifies me. I used to think that all the kids were excited to come to my classes but now I realise that Wilson was the first one to have that innocent, open, excited expression. The rest were mostly just afraid to miss out. The rest were mostly just desperate. Little Wilson is like seeing the before shot of that beautiful beach before the natural disaster destroys it. I expected to be working with “damaged” kids and I prepared myself for that. I did not prepare myself to witness a kid becoming damaged…
Wilson has a mum. He hasn’t been abandoned. His mum simply has no choice but to leave him and his sister at the shelter for 11 hours of every day so that she can work. Starting a children’s home is a logistical nightmare involving lawyers and councils and taking a lot of time and a lot of money. Children in their formative years don’t have a lot of time. They are being moulded right now through every experience. When Emily and I profiled the children at the shelter we found that there were 9 children who did not need to be there – all they need is a day care. So Emily got proactive with the Casita Copan board and the town council and before we knew it we had permission to start a day care.
Now all we need is the funds. $1000 start-up costs and $1200 per month running costs. By Western standards these costs are not huge. But from within Copan raising or earning this type of money is near impossible. We need the support of our friends and businesses back home. Please… consider following this link… and making a donation.