We are just back from the swimming complex next door and all the boys are in thier units getting cleaned up for supper and the evening. It is amazing how quiet it is when they are all in the units. It is like after lunch there is a rest time until 2 PM. It was quiet. All one could hear was the cicadias and a passing car. When the bell rang at 2 PM, boys exploded out of the apartments,yelling in thier excitement to go swimming.
Of course, before they can go, they have to line up by thier units and be quiet, which is always interesting. There is the usual talking and kidding of each other, and ribbing of those that have to delay swimming for a few minutes due to misbehavior.
Then one of the boys realizes that Mr. Jeremy Boucher is just standing there in front waiting for them to be quiet before they can proceed to the swimming complex. The boy usually starts screaming for them to shut up. This rarely has an immediate effect, so he begins to single out indiviuals...."Mahmoud, be quiet.....Foulan, quit talking.....Matta, why are you bothering him? ....I wasn't bothering him, I was helping him adjust his cap!!!.....well, why is he crying?.....I don't know, I was just helping!!!!
"Who made you boss?" One of the boys yells to the boy who started it all. "Why are you shouting?.....I'm not shouting!!!! I'm trying to get everyone to be quiet and so can go swimming......Well, you be quiet.....Me,you be quiet or I will come and hit you.....Mr Jeremy he said he will hit me......No, No....I said for him to be quiet or I will help him be quiet.....I would never hit him....he is my friend".....Mumbling under his breath, "just you wait".
Finally the boys quieten down and off we proceeded. The lesson learned about being quiet in line has a shelf life of exactly the length of time between this line up and the next one. For by then the chlorine in the water will have seeped in and destroyed all memories of how to line up quietly and the process will start all over again!
These are just boys, no different from so many we know or know of, or were.
We are continuing the theme of "Being a Neighbor" from last week. Today we talked about King David and the neighborliness in the story of the rich man with many sheep and the poor man with only one lamb that the rich man took. Then we talked about Abraham welcoming the three guests. One a story of not being a good neighbor, the other of being a neighbor and showing hospitality. These boys know all too well the story of not being treated as a neighbor, of being raised by a single mom who has 6 sons and was living in a shack on the beach. When high tides come, the water come in the house.
These boys, that know all too well what the lack of having a good neighbor looks and feels like, know that they are loved and cared for here at Dar el Awlad. The ordinariness of Calvary being here at Dar el Awlad yet again, is beginning to tell me that the boys are starting to believe and accept, that there is a church called Calvary Baptist Church that loves them very much.
Pray that out church on 18th and Bosque continues learning to be a Good Neighbor, as our Neighborhood expands.