Tonight I went to dinner at the Saint Miguel house in the boy’s dormitory. The boys were all between the ages of 11 and 15. This was my second night in San Miguel because I enjoyed the night before so much. Before dinner I got jumped on and scratched and gave close to 300 piggyback rides.
After everyone calmed down and dinner was minutes away, I was approached by a young boy named Osman Diaz. Osman showed me his schoolwork: art, geography, biology and Spanish were the subjects he proudly showed me before dinner was ready. For art class he had drawn geckos and birds and other small things like leaves and twigs. He drew cross sections of animal and plant cells for biology and labeled every part, your average worksheets with vocabulary and diagrams for geography, and whenever we got to an assignment of his he was suspiciously quick to cover up his grade – probably not his favorite subject.
When we got to Spanish he pulled out a poem and prompted me to read it; seeing as I don’t speak or read Spanish I tried to get him to read it aloud. Finally I convinced him. When he began reading he was calm and clear. When we went on his voice began to crack and tears welled in his eyes, certain words carried a certain weight to them and his emotions began to take over. Five stanzas with four lines each on them and I have no idea what any of them meant, but as Osman’s attitude changed and his demeanor softened and became somber I could see that behind his teary eyes was more than just stage fright. He was sharing something with me that I could not understand but could feel and when he was finished we sat. Dinner was served and we went back to slap fights and soccer. I played goalie.
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