“I don’t like dresses,” Iris told me. “Pants are way better.”
Like Iris, I’ve always preferred pants. At about age six or seven, I gave up dresses completely. After dresses came the ex-communication of everything pink. Maybe I always knew I wasn’t ready to accept all the baggage that comes with being a girl. But then again, who is?
When I asked Iris what she wanted to be when she grew up, she looked at me, surprised, and shrugged. She hadn’t been asked the question enough times to have her practiced response ready to go. Instead she looked up at the ceiling and started thinking.
A lot of kids around here, especially the girls, don’t daydream too hard. The pastime isn’t quite so endearing when the light at the end of the tunnel is barely flickering. Iris was born when her mom was only 17 years old. Her mom couldn’t read or write so when she left her village to find work, all she could find was a job making tortillas. She makes about $100 a month (about $3 a day), working 10 hour days, 6 days a week to take care of Iris and Iris’s little brother Wilson. No one in Iris’s immediate family ever finished school but Iris remains committed to finishing 6th grade and even dreams about what it would be like to go to high school. (Education is only required by law in Honduras through 6th grade.) Iris doesn’t seem put off by the obstacles that practically push her over. Once when I asked her if she wanted to have kids one day, she shook her head. “Maybe,” she said. “But I think I’d rather just take care of them.”
When she finished thinking, her eyes brightened and she smiled at me. “A doctor,” she said. “I think I want to be a doctor. If I can finish school.” She tightened her grip on Allissón, the youngest child at Casita Copán who Iris holds, coddles, teases, and cares for like a sister. “Maybe I can be a doctor who also takes care of kids.”
Iris is one of the lucky kids at Casita Copán who has found a sponsor. But her 4-year-old brother Wilson is still waiting for one. Our sponsorship program is unique because if provides daily care, food, medicine and vitamins, educational support, and love to a child in need. Our sponsors change lives. To find out more, click here.