My boys are all geniuses, apparently.
The past few weeks they’ve had end-of-term exams, which are always the prelude to end-of-term grade reports, which result in end-of-term anxiety.
But they passed. They did better than pass, actually. They succeeded and excelled against some serious odds. The school these boys attend is one of the best colegios in Guatemala; it’s a fairly rigorous, demanding school with reasonably high standards. To do well in school is one thing. To do well in this school is another. And they did it while needing to overcome some real social obstacles that come from not having spent much time outside the orphanage’s walled, 13-acre compound for much of their lives.
So we’re unbelievably excited. When we got the report cards and saw the good news, the other American volunteer and I felt like proud parents. All the late nights we’ve spent cutting paper, teaching fractions, explaining english pronouns, helping with the computers, feel like they’ve been given a retroactive injection of purpose and value.
And, simultaneously, all the struggles and frustrations that come with sending sheltered, hormonal, slightly rebellious teenagers to a new environment seem more manageable and worth it – because to see these distressingly passionless boys actually reach for something, actually want something and set their eyes on it, and then achieve that goal is exhilarating in a unique way.
It’s thrilling to see these solid manifestations of hope start blooming through the thick asphalt of these past few weeks that have been, at least for me, a bit difficult. And even though I’m leaving before I can claim any sort of significant influence, it’s nice to know that they’ve made a pretty great start for themselves.
And I’m praying each boy will realize his arms are a bit longer than he may have thought, and that he’ll become aware of the host of beautiful things that have been within his reach all this time, shrug off the numbing apathy of his past, and stretch far and high and defy the bitter odds.