Last week the centre took in new boys from off of the streets to come and stay. There are about 12 new boys, ages 6-14. I have been spending about every other day there, and every other day at the other centre. (Staying busy during my school break!) I’m only there during the day, so I’m not there at night when their glue cravings are the worst and when they try to sneak out. I have to say that I have been super impressed with the local staff and how loving and firm they are with the boys. And in just a week you can already see changes in them. One younger boy, he is about 8 or 9, when he came to the drop in centre would usually come in with his salicioon (glue) rag hidden, and get really angry when it was taken from him though he knew it was against the rules. He had a lot of anger and always had a sort of scowl on his face. Today he was laughing, smiling, joking. He was being pretty ornery…but in a cute brotherly way instead of to make them mad and resulting in the throwing of rocks. Like, him and another boy spent the greater part of the five hours I was there burping in each others ears. The other boys joined in too. At one point while we were drawing there was a chorus of little boys burping all around the table. Little boys are the same in every country it seems. 🙂
There were also 3 brand new boys there today, too. They had just come yesterday. It has been interesting to see the boys drawing. The first day we did it at the drop in centre, with only a few exceptions, they all were really into the drawing. Concentrated, focused, and enjoying themselves. The same was true of the brand new ones today, too. They were super focused and into what they were doing.
Remember Oj? The 8 year old who wouldn’t even hold a pencil during activities when I first got here? The last few times I have gone to the centre, I kid you not, the first words out of his mouth have been “Daayir risaam!” (I want to draw) or “Barnamij allela?” (Is there a program today?) The first drawing I ever saw him do was kind of indistinguishable shapes and really oddly shaped people. Today he drew a house, a church, and a realistic looking saw. Then when he started to get bored and bother other boys, I went back to drawing him some basic shapes and pictures and had him color them in. He was having a grand ol’ time and we sat there doing that for probably another hour and a half…until long after the other boys became bored with it. At first he told me to draw anything and had no ideas, by the end he was suggesting all sorts of things. It was awesome.