Saturday, January 07, 2006

Eager Greeters

Traveling to Haiti makes one feel quite popular. When I flew in a few weeks ago, there was a small crowd waiting patiently at our grass strip airport for us to arrive. One of the group was a little boy named Ben. Ben is about 9 years old and had a vested interest in us coming back. Earlier in the fall my husband had told me that the students who were having the most trouble in school all came from broken homes. He referred me to Ben as an example.
Ben lives in my neighborhood and in fact his mother works for me helping with laundry and ironing three days a week. He has a younger sister named Katey. Ben's father has not been in the picture for years and noone seems to know quite what happened to him. Ben is an active little guy and has been hanging out at our house more and more often over the past year. After being told that he was really struggling in school, I asked his mom if I could try to motivate him.
She agreed and I made a deal. I told Ben that if he could show me two semesters of passing grades when I came home from our fall trip, I would bring him a toy car. He agreed that was a fair deal so that explains why I was suddenly so popular at my arrival.
I had to laugh because literally the first face I saw running out to the plane was this little guy. He was pretty dissappointed when I told him that my bags had been lost. Anyway, I told him I needed to see his report card. Sovereignly, the report card and lost luggage arrived the same day later in the week. Sure enough....he had passed both grading periods thus far. I produced the promised battery operated 4X4 pickup truck, fresh from Wal-mart. It was pretty cool, it made all the expected noises and would drive off and the return to the operator. Ben's smile told me he thought it was the coolest thing since electricity in town.
Maybe that enthusiasm is what motivated his sister's expectations....

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