A six year old boy stole my heart.
See, this isn’t your ordinary six year old. By our standard, he should be in what, p1 now? But no, we only started school last term…and like two weeks to the end of the term.
He’s my little gem, somewhere in the village. And I write about him today because he stole my heart.
Until I think a year ago, I didn’t know him….then one day when we’d gone to the village, I found this little man. The shyest boy I ever saw. And yet, the kindest and warmest. His story, his mother became insane and a danger to him so he ended up with his grandparents.
In his first home, he’d been raised in a very rural way….told to stay away from visitors, and basically not get near ‘abantu abakulu’. Adults. I guess his care takers imagined his mother had rubbed off on him and he’d be a nuisance or something and tried to ‘program’ him in a way that he just sat by himself and would get punished if he was found ‘near’ visitors.
I couldn’t believe it. Or even take it. He was just a little boy. And well, each time we were there, I had him sit right next to me and we would talk and he’d tell me all the little things in his little mind. So much that on a certain all-day event, he clung to my dress for the whoooooole day. I had to walk around with my handbag and then a little boy holding my dress and walking around with me.
So anyway, before the last school term ended, I decided he needed to go to school. He’d never been to one and I realised if he was going to become an ordinary child, then spending his day with other children was a good idea. And he also needed to learn the basics like counting and writing his name and generally being social.
I believe one of the most random things I’ve ever done is that; sending someone to start school two weeks before the close of the term. We had nothing to lose, so we went ahead with it.
Yesterday I went to see him, and he was so excited about the new term that started today. He doesn’t even know it is a new term, he just knew they took a break for a while and have to go back today. Eventually he’ll understand the system. We went over his report and I was amazed at his 24/48 position……someone who joined school two weeks to the end? Had never been in a class before or even held a pencil to write???? Either I had struck gold ‘discovering’ this little man or the nursery kept admitting new ones till the last day! 🙂
He knew his 1,2 and 3. Apparently they didn’t write 4 in class. I just allowed that explanation. He knew how to draw a table and a pencil. All this he learned in two weeks of school. And his teacher went ahead to write, ‘Begin earlier next term’ on his report because us we thought it was cool to just wait till two weeks, yes? *rolling eyes at report card* LOL. We actually thought it was cool to start before the second term ends so that when we come back for third term we’re not totally new! 🙂
Anyway, it then hit me, this boy and many like him live among us everywhere! All around us. And usually, all they need is someone to show interest. To notice them. It’s not even as expensive as one would imagine. At that stage at least. Yes, if God allows and you go all the way over the years, things will get pricier but at this stage, this early stage where a child just needs his 1,2,3s and A,B,Cs and coloring and learning how to relate with other kids, all you need to ‘change’ a child’s life is foregoing a 40k meal. And you’ll have guaranteed this little soul at least 3 months of learning.
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you. ― Mother Teresa
I don’t know how far we’ll go….if he’ll eventually learn to write his name, or count to 10 (in English) and identify pictures (in English also…he knows them all in luganda)….if we’ll advance to primary….secondary….and even graduate some day; but for now, this is my little project and I intend on holding his hand for as long as I can. 🙂
Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts. — Unknown