Aaron is eleven years old, in Grade 1 and wouldn’t be in school right now if it wasn’t for the Child of the Community sponsorship program. Aaron’s father died during the civil war in Liberia and his mother passed away last year. After his mother died he was sent to live with his grandmother. His grandmother couldn’t afford to send him to school. When I asked Aaron what he did all day, he responded by saying he would walk around and visit his mother’s friends.
An uncle who lives in Royesville took Aaron in to live with him and his family. When UOF heard the story they put Aaron’s name on the list of student’s waiting for sponsorship and in no time at all Aaron had a sponsor. Aaron says he is happy to be back at school and he really likes living in Royesville. His teacher says he is a bit behind in his abilities but, as they say in Liberian English, he is “picking up small” and will be caught up with the rest of the students soon.
After school Aaron helps his uncle by going into the bush to collect sticks for making charcoal and helps his aunt by hauling water. When that work is done its straight to the soccer field where, for a brief period of time, he can forget about the loss of his parents and be a carefree child.
I asked Aaron about what a few of his favorite things are and I got some interesting responses. Aaron say’s his favorite food in chocolate. This may not seem like an unusual response to you but in a country that lives by the motto “Rice is life” rice is the only answer I ever get to that question.
The other interesting response I got was when I asked him who his hero was. Hero isn’t a common word here so I rephrased it by asking “Who is someone you respect, someone you love?” All of the other kids I’ve posed this question to say their father or their mother, but Aaron responded by simply tapping on his chest and saying “me”.
It’s heart breaking but it’s the reality of life in places like Liberia. We’re just glad Aaron is in a good community, getting an education and living with people who care about him. Thanks to all of our Child of the Community donors for giving kids the gift of education and a future.