Of course I didn't push him and I changed the subject.
I am sure you are wondering what happened now. What could have been so bad that he didn't want to talk about it? I still don't know. I may never know. And I have to be ok with that. I have to be ok knowing that I will probably never know the boys' histories. In a way, I am glad. I don't think I could handle knowing. But in a way, its also strange. Our past is so much of who we are. All of our experiences shape how we view the world and interact with people.
But truth is, I don't need to hear the stories to know. I have started reading books on trauma and abuse lately. I was just telling a friend today if I could go back and do life over, I would go to school for counseling and fashion. Weird combination, huh? I feel very inadequately prepared to deal with the aftermath of the boys' previous lives. It is overwhelming and I don't know where to begin or what the right thing to do is.
Because of the books I am reading, I am able to start putting the puzzle together. I read about the visible symptoms of the effects of abuse and trauma and it finally makes since why he does this or that. Not just Ronald, but all of the boys.
In a way, I think that the past can weigh us down. How many times have you run into someone that used to know you when... And you feel like they are silently judging you and are in disbelief that you are different now. Or something terrible happened to you and everyone just looks at you with that pitying look.
Yeah...me too. It stinks.
The boys all have a lot of stuff weighing them down. Their lives before the streets and on the streets were not filled with happy memories. But when they come into the home, they can leave it all behind. I don't need to hear their stories to know I love them. I don't need to know their past. In the home, we are starting over. It is a new beginning. A chance to leave their old lives behind and have a future filled with hope and love. Sometimes it is difficult but at least they are trying.
The first time I met Ronald was to take him to the clinic. I didn't know him but noticed he had a huge infected cut on both of his legs, I think one of the other boys actually took me to see him. It was obvious they hurt him and he should be on antibiotics. So off to the clinic we went. I sat there with him as they tried to get the infection out of his wounds. He tried so hard not to cry.
From that moment on, I knew I loved him. I prayed many prayers for him, begging God to help him trust me. Of course God answered.
Ronald is very talkative. He loves to just run his mouth. He doesn't need to be talking about anything in particular but he just loves to talk. If he isn't talking, you know something is wrong. He is also very charismatic. The other boys look up to him. He isn't a very big kid, but he has respect and is very likable. He is a leader and some days this is very problematic for us because he leads the other boys to trouble.
Lately, he has become obsessed with boxing. I tried to talk him out of it but he wouldn't give up. I told him he wasn't disciplined enough because boxers were very serious and the training was difficult. He said he could do it. Ronald has had more problems than normal in the home lately. He has outbursts of anger and becomes very quarrelsome. He will fight and argue with anyone that annoys him in the slightest bit. I told him boxers don't behave like that and he said he would change. So we made another deal. He promised no more fighting and arguing at home, he would be a good leader and example to the boys, and he could no longer, for any reason, step foot in the slum. For the holiday, he has been a different kid just like he promised, so soon he will start going to the gym.
My hope is he will learn discipline and it will be therapeutic for him. My hope is it will help him process whatever has happened and begin to heal. My hope is this is what he needs to make a fresh start, to leave his past behind and look towards the future. Who knows, maybe he will win the next gold for Uganda!
|when he was still on the streets|
|with Uncle Lawrence and David|
|me and Ronald|
|with Richard on his first day back to school|