Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Gueline. She is 17 years old and the oldest child living at Hope Rising. She is tall, beautiful, sweet, and very capable. Her brother, Kervinson, also lives with us. Of all of our kids living at Hope Rising, she and I have battled the most since moving in. Those of you with 17-year-old girls living at home know why! Gueline can be very strong-willed, likes to take charge of situations, and does not always like when rules are imposed on her. These are qualities that I love about her and also qualities that can make her challenging.
We have met Gueline’s mom 3 times and have never met her dad. I do not think he is living. The first time we met her was when she came to our house at Christianville before we moved to Hope Rising. On that day, she informed us that she did not believe what we were telling her and instead she believed Audancin’s side of the story. During this time, she was the only person we talked to that said that to us. The second time was when she miraculously showed up at Hope Rising on moving day and decided her kids would live there. The third was on a visitation Sunday when she came to ask for money. Each time both Gueline and Kervinson were very excited to see her and each time she was completely indifferent toward them.
Gueline is in the 5th grade at the school we call “Kay Riko.” This is the remedial school that the kids who are several grade levels behind attend. Since we began getting tutoring for the kids, Gueline has done very well in school and her 5th grade class is actually a 5th/6th grade split. This means that if she tries really hard she could do 2 grade levels in 1 year. School is important to her and this has helped her to progress more quickly. She was so excited on the night before school started this past year, that she kept chanting “I’m wearing my uniform tomorrow”.
Gueline loves to be in charge of anything! Give that girl a job and she will take it seriously. This can be something as small as asking her to help hang clothes on a line or something as big as asking her to cook a meal for 30 people. She loves to be given responsibility. If we let her, she would completely mother the younger girls (not always in a nice way) and she oftentimes has to be asked to stop doing just that. On the flip side of that, she is wonderful at helping them learn to do laundry, and she loves helping to braid their hair to get ready for school the following day. When the kids still lived at Audancin’s Sundays were the only day that Marjorie, our cook, had off. This meant that on Sundays, it was Audancin’s wife, Rosie’s, responsibility to cook for the kids. This very rarely happened. Rosie was either not there, sleeping, or “sick” and refused to cook. I cannot tell you how many Sundays Gueline cooked for the kids. She did this without complaining and most times it meant she missed out on watching a movie with the rest of the kids or even taking a Sunday afternoon nap. This is the kind of girl Gueline is.
Gueline loves to sing and oftentimes can be found in her bedroom on her bed with her hymnal. She has sung many solos in church on Sunday mornings and has made it very clear to me that she would be willing to lead the church in worship on Sunday mornings. She loves participating in everything the church does. This past August, we got the amazing privilege of seeing Gueline baptized in the church and this is something she has taken very seriously ever since.
Gueline has already mentioned to us that she would like to attend cooking school one day. Our goal is to make sure all of these older kids at least make it through the 6th grade (this gives them a good reading and writing foundation) and then see what comes next for them. With some more maturity, time, and education, she would be a huge asset to any organization needing someone to cook or do other things and this is something we will help her pursue when then time is right. Those of you with those headstrong, beautiful, and emotional teenage daughters, any pointers would be welcome!