17.5.12

Playing favorites at Lifebridge

I was thinking about a girl in my school today named Umar Hair (pronounced Hei-yer).  She's probably my favorite.  I was also thinking today about how I shouldn't have favorites, but they are the ones that make the more difficult ones....more tolerable for me.   I can go to school more eagerly knowing that Umar Hair's bright and happy face is waiting for me.



Umar Hair loves to read.   It's as if she's seeing the world for the first time on every page.  She reads out loud with a gigantic grin on her face, and after every line she looks up at you brimming with excitement.  It makes my heart melt.  Reading with children is probably one of my favorite things in life.

I've increased my time at the school and I've taken on additional responsibilities.  I'm now in charge of the entire literacy program.  Their future love of reading is in my hands!

But the school is hard, at least hard for me (who "suffered" in portables growing up).  It is HOT.  Or in Malaysian-speak, it is PANAS.  No air-con (or air-flow, for that matter).  I have three giant stand-fans that attempt to get some circulation going in my room, and I still sweat the entire day.  Not the glistening kind of sweat, but the drenched/embarrassing kind.  The poor girls have it even worse, they have to wear long skirts, long sleeves, and head scarves.  I can't imagine!

There's cockroaches.  I wonder every day if I'm coming home with lice.  I'm always starving.  I don't have a break.  Some kids are chronic liars.  They have also discovered how to play Pinball on the computers, much to my dismay.  The toilets don't work.  I obsessively sanitize my hands, and the kids obsessively love to give me high-fives.

But I love it.  It's one of those things that I could not do without the grace of God (which is always the best kind of thing).  Because without this school, these kids wouldn't have one.  Girls like Umar Hair would never get the chance to hold a book, wear a school uniform, or even use a computer.


Maybe, hopefully, they'll be resettled to somewhere in the U.S. or Canada.   Maybe, hopefully, they'll end up with a normal life.  Maybe they'll find me someday on Facebook.  I hope they do, because that will at least mean they learned how to read and type!

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