It took Brigitte, a very shy little girl, quite a while to warm up to me. But when she did, I was filled with a great deal of joy. I spent three weeks working in this day care with two teachers, who taught 20 to 25 children from age 3 to 5. Although there was a language barrier between me and the teachers, we managed to learn about each other’s life. The teachers, Glady and Cresencia, were both scraping by to support a child. Glady told me that she adopted her four-year-old niece after her sister-in-law died and her brother remarried. Cresencia might be considered more fortunate. Her husband, also a teacher who worked in a different town, contributed money in raising their daughter. Still, money was tight trying to provide for their daughter and paying for school fees. The teachers told me that their salary was about 30,000 shillings ($30 USD) a month.

Once in a while, when I see a child on a bus, that smile brings me back to the children in Ludao. I remember watching the children playing with Lego pieces, building imagery cars, and having so much fun. And I remember asking myself, “How do these children make so much out of so little?”

Date: 5/29-6/20/2004

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