One of our responsibilities here in Jimaní is to turn an empty building into a functioning orphanage and school. Due to legal requirements and paperwork for a school versus an orphanage, it has been recommended by a Dominican lawyer that we not refer to the facility as an orphanage but as a boarding school. We’re in the process of taking the first steps toward getting a school opened. In the very near future we will be starting a pre-school class in the mornings as well as offering tutoring and homework help to middle school students who attend the afternoon session at the public school. None of the students will be living here; we’re just working on getting a school established. (And it seems likely that when the school is fully up and running we’ll have some of our students who simply attend while others will live here.)
I am very excited about the pre-school. I LOVE children…especially little ones! One of the men who works on the property here has 3 sons. The two older ones attend school, but the younger one, Wisgavid, doesn’t. He’s only 3 years old. These boys love to come down to our apartment and play with Kate and Michael. This week something new has happened, though. Each day as I’ve come back from dropping the kids off at school Wisgavid has been waiting at the front gate. He runs up to the truck and climbs in the very back (sometimes diving head first over the tailgate!) and off we go…at about 3 miles per hour. He likes to hang out with me. He’ll draw squiggles on paper for me or “help” me work on the computer or chase the dogs with the fly swatter. One day we rolled a toy car back and forth for at least 30 minutes. It hit me how NOT having 15 minute tv episodes and lots of flashy commercials can allow a kid to have a really long attention span. He likes to play with Kate and Michael’s toys; this gets me in trouble with them because sometimes he likes to hide things in his pockets. Then his older brothers end up selling the toys to other neighborhood kids! One day I looked over and he was sitting in a dining room table chair about to fall out of it—he was sooo sleepy. I picked him up and put him in our bed. He slept for almost 3 hours!
Typically, I drop him back off when I go to pick up the kids at 12:30, but somehow yesterday he ended up back at our house as we were sitting down to lunch. I gave him a small bowl of rice and beans. When he finished he got up and put his bowl in the sink!! We were very impressed since he usually just throws trash on the ground. Because of our experiences this week with him we’re starting to wonder if maybe our pre-school program should last longer each day so the kids get lunch and can take a nap. Something to pray about and see how God provides the funds.