Lageso’s Children’s Corner – Martin

We finally got the Children’s room ready. Our first little visitors came in on Monday. We mind the children while their parents get on with the administrative procedures at the LaGeSo.
When you’re a teacher, you often have a favourite kid, although you never mention it in the classroom. Here, it is the same, only the experience is more intense because you’re never sure you’re ever going to see this child again. At first, you think “don’t get attached, don’t get attached”, and then you give up, because it’s impossible to keep a wall between your heart and children.
Today, I saw one of my favourite kids again, Martin. He stands out because he is witty, helpful and isn’t afraid to speak out. I like him because he is resourceful, always happy and polite. I haven’t met his parents, I just know they’re around. They come from Turkmenistan. Another country I knew so little about before it all began. Martin must be around 10, maybe a little more. He’s skinny and doesn’t even have a T-shirt under his yellow tracksuit jacket. He doesn’t seem to mind.
When he first came a week ago, he immediately started playing and built himself a little home with polystyrene beads. He beams with delight at his composition before dashing off as quickly as he arrived.

Martin’s house, 10th September, 2015, LaGeSo

Today on the newly assembled shelves, he finds a 3D jigsaw he’d like to do, he’s over the moon when I tell him he can build it. In a fraction of second, he’s gone, sitting at a table way too small for him, focused entirely on building his jigsaw. For an hour, nothing else exists. I look over every now and then, he looks so serious but smiles all along. And then he finishes, comes over, gives it to me with a radiant smile. This smile is worth the thousand worries we have over the situation endured by refugees here. At this moment, he is a happy child. “It’s for everyone!” he says, “for the classroom, we hang it here please!”.
The jigsaw is a Christmas ball, I wish I could keep it because it would always remind me of Martin. Instead we hang it to the top of a play-tent, and Martin goes away.

 

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