Archive for June 2, 2010

The Things He Knows…

*This is a tribute to my 13 year old foster son who began to stay at my house a little over 3 months ago. He is incredibly rough around the edges to most people, but has become the heart and soul of my little unconventional family. As he sleeps on the couch next to me, my heart aches with the weight of all he knows. His reality, both the positive and the negative, is not uncommon to most boys in his community. They are incredible, they are inspiring, they are the boys who will become the men who will change the reality of the next generation.

Things He Knows…

how to lose a fight, how to win a fight, the sting of a beating  with a coconut tree branch, what his brother looks like when he’s high, what his dad looks like when he’s on coke, that his dad will probably be tortured and murdered like the rest of those involved in the drug deal that recently went wrong, that they might come after him to get to his dad, that his older brother is being sexually exploited by a 42 year old woman and the community accepts it, that he is poor, what it feels like to go 2 days without eating, how to cook just about anything and make it delicious, how to build a chicken pen out of scraps around the backyard, how to build a contraption to stop the sewage from leaking out of the septic tank, what a porn movie is, to stay away from C when she’s drunk because she tries to make the boys put their hands down her pockets, how to get C out of my house when she’s drunk and pushes her way through the door to try and hit him, how to get S away from her mom and dad when they are high and forget to feed her, how to make purge, how to make bush medicine, all of the urban myths of the Island, that there is a 30% chance everyday he walks to school that his teacher won’t be there to teach him,  that at age 13 he is just beginning to learn how to read, how to speak two languages, how to fix just about anything, where to catch the biggest iguanas in the jungles, how to roast cashews, how to pull out intestinal worms, how to fix a bike, how to make a tombstone, what it feels like to watch one of his best friends die due to a treatable sickness, just about every rap song ever written, how to fish with nothing but a pop bottle and some line, how to catch crabs, how to get the rooster out of the mango tree, how to slaughter a pig, how a gun feels in your hands, what a cuss word feels like on your lips, what it feels like to walk past your mom without even saying hi, where you can find sharks in a cave just off of the reef, what if feels like to hit a girl, how to train a rooster to fight, what cocaine looks smells and tastes like, how to steal with no one noticing, that he wants to be a police officer,  how to run out of the bus when you don’t have enough money to pay for the ride, how to make a basketball hoop out of a cut up bucket and a board, that the Celtics will beat the Lakers in the NBA Championship, what it feels like to have the second largest reef in the world as your backyard, the cool of the Caribbean Sea on your skin after a hot day, not  to swim too close to the reef at The Rock because that’s where all the sewage runs into the Sea, how to catch and cook a blackbird, what it feels like to pass his first exam (yeah!),  how to do laundry by hand, how and where to collect water when there is none in the pipe, that chicken sells for L24 a pound but if you talk to Mr. Z instead of Mrs. Z you can get it for L23, that after he graduates 6th grade this year he is so far behind there is a good chance he will be unable to attend 7th, that his teachers have passed him every year even though he has never learned to read and understands almost nothing of what they teach, how to plat a pole, that homemade coconut oil makes the best hair grease, that he is loved, that his life has started a new chapter.