Ok (cracks knuckles…streeeeetch) this is about how Roger came back.

Just to recap, the day before, Haley and I watched Roger and Elder ride away in a bus.  We cried.  A lot.  Swallowed that pesky throat lump. Day continued.

Next morning, I head to Proniño and it crosses my mind that it’s just not going to be the same without them there.  Sigh. But when I pull in, I’m greeted by the sight of both of them sitting on a bench outside of the home.  I mean, I hoped that they would come back after a little bit, but 18 hours later?  This was just too good to be true.  Hastily park Feo (the nickname we have lovingly bestowed upon our car) and wedge myself between the two of them on the bench.

“I’m so glad you guys came back!”

Roger:  “We’re not back.  I just need to ask Paula if I can keep going to school so I don’t lose the whole year.”  

Oh dear.  This isn’t as exciting as I first thought…

Dear all plans that I had for the day,

You have been put on hold for the foreseeable future.  I must remain wedged between these two and pray that enough warm fuzzies exude from my ears that they decide to stay.  I will be sure and let you know when I can reschedule.



In an especially emotional moment, I am much less wise and much less bilingual.  So I sat there and I prayed that I would miraculously find the right words or seriously, I’m fine with the warm fuzzies doing their job as well.

An employee joins our group of a handful of kids and I.

“Is it true you left Roger?  What are you thinking?  What in the world are you going to do outside?  You do realize you’re a kid right?  Just tell them you made a mistake, accept whatever punishment you have and you’ll be back to normal in no time.  Don’t be an idiot.”

(This is all delivered with just the right amount of “I care about you, man” mixed with “and when you do this, we can chest bump or fist bump, you know, whatev”.)

“Nambe”, says Roger.

(Nambe = “Pshhhaw” or “no way man”. For the first 6 months or so I thought they were saying ‘hombre’ or man.  I corrected them every.single.time reminding them that I’m actually a woman.  Oh how far my Spanish has come….Back to Roger.)

I notice two things about this ‘nambe’.

#1 – There is a small grin fighting to get free in the corners of his mouth.  (It feels good to be wanted.)

#2 – He’s listening.  Looks like someone’s on the fence.

Then one of the oldest boys joined us.

“You coming back?”  (Naw, just here to talk to Paula about school, replies Roger) Why aren’t you coming back?  Come on, Man.  You afraid of what your punishment is going to be?  Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been sent back to the beginning?  You go, you do whatever you’re supposed to do and you’re back up in the mountain.  There’s nothing good waiting for you out there.” (Brotherly slap on the shoulder.)

“I’m just….going to talk….to…Paula.”

There I sit exuding my warm fuzzies and listening to these two doing all the work and feeling my encouragement tank refill.  I’m not the only one who cares about him.  I’m not the only one who gives good advice or wants the best for him.  I can sit here tongue tied and wishing I had spent more hours with my flash cards but all that doesn’t matter too much because I’m not doing this alone.

Dear all plans that I had for the day,

Looks like we’re back on.



I leave.  I pray that his resolve would continue to erode.  I find an excuse to return at the end of the day and on my way in, I’m flagged down by these two as they leave the foundation.


Bessy: “Roger decided to stay!”

Wonderful news made extra special since they found it important enough to stop my vehicle in order to share it with me.  Yeah, we all think he’s pretty great.

Find some shade for Feo and then track down Roger.

Bear hug.

“I’m so so so SO glad you didn’t leave.”

“It’s just so I can finish the school year, then I’m gone.”

I nod my head as though I believe him, but we both know the real story.

He’s here to stay.

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