Saturday, May 22, 2010

The rules and why they are hard to keep

Since the first booklet from CSS there has been a page in every communication with lots of large type instructing us not to give any thing to or buy anything for the day care or the kids in the day care. I thought I knew that from traveling in South Africa and understanding (a bit) the concept of partnering rather than donation. There are lots of good reasons (spelled out in detail, signed off and reinforced verbally): it is unfair to other children so breeds jealously, the parents/day care center will take whatever it is and sell it to use the money for themselves, once the volunteers leaves the supply is cut off and they look for other ways to get it. Yep - I agree. It all makes sense.

Until this week. There are 8 little duckling in my day care, and each brings a backpack with his/her food dish (which are filled once to eat there and filled again to eat or share at home) and whatever else children have in backpacks. (In this case, not much, although one kid does have a plastic pencil sharpener.) I KNOW at Walmart I can get 8 brand new backpacks = probably featuring that great literary character Sponge Bob Square Pants - and ship them here for so little! So little for me - one new special thing for them! I know they would smile. And heck isn't a New Backpack a rite of passage for every kid every fall?

And the rules? - oh hang the rules I think! But to think that the joy of a new backpack for a child would fade if family or teacher takes it. They would almost certainly get it stolen by another older kid. And when it wore out who would buy the next one? My heart aches at that reality, even as I realize it is my feeling of generosity that would benefit rather than their situations.

So I'll leave what I brought: time, energy, English, the Hokey Pokey, my presence and attention, and it will have to be enough.


  1. Oh, wow. That is so good Robin. And so true. I remember from Brazil in the 70's we were constantly faced with the same thing and had to learn, with difficulty, to only give food that could be consumed right then and there. I did have my favorites who worked my stop sign corner and from the car would give this old man a cruzeiro every day.

  2. I got all teary at this one. So hard!

    I'm so jealous of your adventure and so glad you're having a such great experience! Can't wait to see pictures when you get back and come visit me in St. Louis! ;)