Hopefully you have been keeping up with the rest of our blogs about the kids. Today I would like to introduce you to Son Son. He is 11 years old and arguably our smartest child living at Hope Rising. While many of our kids have repeated a grade or passed by the skin of their teeth, Son Son has easily passed every grade with pretty much every thing stacked against him.
First, some background on Son Son. His name is actually Wednerson but he goes by Son Son (this is a very common nickname in Haiti). He is in the 4th grade at Christianville School. Son Son has a brother, Kin Kin who does not live at Hope Rising but we still support through tutoring, meals, and other needs and both Vageley and Yolmenda are his cousins. He has a Grandmother who lives about 10 minutes from Hope Rising as well as some other family members. We have been to his Grandmother’s home which consists of some pieces of plywood with a tarp over it probably the size of your laundry room. Living in this home are about 10 relatives of Son Son including 2 babies. We have met Son Son’s mom 2 times in the past 3 years and never in a setting where she saw Son Son. I am not sure the last time Son Son saw his mother and whenever we have asked about the father we have been told he lives somewhere else.
Since we have known him, Son Son has been one of the most serious children I have ever known. Teams who come down have many times pulled us aside to tell us they are worried about him and we have to explain that that is just Son Son. He takes himself and life seriously. Getting him to cut up and let loose a little is always a victory and that isn’t to say he is an unhappy boy, he is just serious. Even before we had tutors for the kids, Son Son would come straight home from school and begin to study. School books and supplies always stress him out. If you have followed our back to school blogs, you know books are hard to get and this really stresses poor Son Son out. Every August, he asks me on a daily basis when he will get his books and I know this is because he wants to get a jump on things and begin studying.
His approach to things is different than anyone I have ever known. If given a task, he never does it the easy way but he does do it the Son Son way. A good example of this is when it’s Son Son’s turn to wash the dishes. Most of our kids do it as quickly as possible when it’s their night so that they can go out to play…not Son Son. Standing back and watching him wash the dishes can be very entertaining. You would think every plate is special to him the way he inspects and washes them. Son Son just isn’t going to do anything halfway. Give him a task and he is going to take it seriously.
Son Son is not one of our most athletic kids and soccer does not come easily to him but he tries very hard. On the flip side of that, it has been interesting to watch him learn to play basketball. He is really very good and I think it is because he has had someone teach him the fundamentals of the game. His mind is so eager to learn new things and he excels at things he is properly taught. It makes me wonder if someone had ever actually taught him the fundamentals of soccer how good he would be. Son Son does not like to be the center of attention and is very content to let others have it.
Since my Creole has gotten better, I have started to bring down some of my favorite children’s books and try to read them to the kids in Creole the best that I can. The kids love this and there is nothing like them gathering around to hear a story at the end of a day. One of the books I have done this with is “Go, Dog, Go!” After I read it in Creole, Son Son takes it and practices reading it in English. One day about a month ago, he walked past me, looked me in the eye, and in perfect English asked “Do you like my hat?” (if you are a family member of mine I know you’re loving this). I responded with the next line and Son Son without skipping a beat said “goodbye”. In case you don’t know the book, these are lines straight from the book. He proceeded to just grin at me with pride because he knew I loved that he could recite the book. He had clearly been working on this and today was the day he felt ready to try it out on me. A line Matt and I like to use is “Classic Son Son” and this was very “Classic Son Son”. He found something he wanted to know, learned it, then put it to use.
Son Son is extremely unique and intelligent. He is one of the few who is right on track in school and I just know he will go places some day.