This is our last day. It's been very bittersweet. Many of the students were missing this week because of extended vacation and a holiday week. Also, as much as we enjoy our brief time, it is even harder to leave. Yet, we know that without the sponsors and the pottery sales, none of these children would have access to a basic education. It does make the buying, wrapping, hauling and selling pottery worth every minute.
We have a student, Ana, who is 16 and has been placed in a regular education classroom her entire life. She has no auditory/oral skills and is just now learning sign.
Another student, Alexander, just joined who is 17 and has just been kept at home all these years. He doesn’t even have any home signs. He does the classic “smile and nod” behavior and doesn’t cause any trouble. He had difficulty following basic visual/spatial directions.
One of the girls that I’ve been especially attached to, lives in a home with an actively alcoholic mother. The father left long ago and the house is full of empty bottles. This student is extremely intelligent but is left home alone often.
Another boy was not in attendance this week at all and we really missed him. He has AIDS and has been sick. He has been part of the school since opening day and is quite bright.
Most students travel a long distance, including one who rides in a hot van on dusty roads for an hour each way. Most families cannot afford to pay the $40/month tuition and struggle to come up with transportation. None of the family members are fluent signers and the students only come to our project for 3 hours/day.
Yet, the teachers are doing the best they can with what they have. Ann and I buy pottery, wrap it and bring it back to Nebraska to sell it in order to pay the teachers. The students are resilient even in a culture that is oppressive. My life is enriched in infinite ways from loving all of them.