Everyday I try to spend as much time as possible with the boys from the boarding school. After doing my part of the chores, working at the high school, and eating whatever I can find after mom and dad have done their way with the breakfast/lunch/dinner, I head out to find the boys of the boarding school. To do such things as:
- Talk about how I couldn’t sleep the night before because several of the boys told me scary stories.
- Eat lunch with the boys and listen to them talk about how bad the food is and get scowled myself when I say “I think it’s pretty good”.
- Play a couple of card games with someone to either boast or get boasted. Most times it is the other player who does the boasting.
- Drive the bike a couple of times home and back to get pills, band aids, malaria tests, or whatever a sick boy needs since they’re apparently too lazy to walk to my house, or don’t want to bother my parents so they have made me a delivery doctor.
- Practice singing with a friend or (in the respective nights) practice with the church choir, which is comprised of the boys from the boarding school and me.
- Rehearse for theater, in which in most cases I get to be a mother or wife who gets to cry and wail because her child got shot or because her husband never took a bath and got sick because of it. Moral of the story being “You need to take a bath every day.”
- Spend time teaching some boy something about the English language that he was curious about.
- Sometimes DJ for the boys by bringing the only CD player in Quessua (mine) to the boarding school and put music for them to dance to.
- Some days I go appreciate the most famous soap opera around these parts, called “Savage Cats” (Mexican soap opera) on a very small TV, in a room crowded with boys and 4 chairs, maybe.
- And finally go home with a group of bodyguards (boys who walk me home) singing hymns and laughing about the day’s events.
While teaching in high school takes a lot of my time, and at the end of the day I am very tired from the hitting attempts of students and teachers alike, I find that it is all worth it when I go out to find a boarding school full of boys who always have a smile on their face when they see me. To be someone who any of the boys can come up to and lay down their doubts, fears, problems, and sadness makes me feel as a big sister to them all. To be able to share, laugh, play, teach and learn, help in any way, and just spend time together has formed a great bond between us.
All these memorable moments are going to make it hard to leave this place, but at the same time I thank God for the opportunity to live an amazing experience that would’ve never been possible without Him. I am very thankful to the Florida United Methodist Church, and to many brothers and sisters who made my ministry in Angola possible. My time here has made me a better person (I think at least… right?), thanks to the many hardships (getting water from the well to take home to bath with), trials (everyone getting sick with a cold at the same time, me included), and most importantly fun times (lots and lots and lots of making fun of the adults, not my parents though, not by the boys anyways, hehe).
I will miss them terribly, but I know I’ll see them again, each one with about 8 kids most likely.
See pictures of my time here at www.pbase.com/arodri3/amandas