"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Monday, June 01, 2009

sponsored student: nelson

Now that you have met some of the young artists from the orphanage, it's time to introduce you to some of the students we sponsor. Change the Truth currently supports twenty three secondary school students (high school) and one nursing school student. Each one is special in his/her own way; each one has a unique (and sad) story that brought him/her to St. Mary Kevin's. I'm going to start with one amazing young man, an eighteen year old named Nelson. He is a natural leader and was one of the hardest working among the kids who helped us repair and paint the dorms in December.

Nelson prides himself on his thirst for knowledge, his computer skills, his love of literature, his curiosity about all people and all aspects of those people's lives, his gregarious nature and his... well... smarts. He's got a great sense of self and a great sense of humor. I visited his room when I was there. Among his very few things were books - his most prized possessions. He is currently studying Physics, Economics, Math and Fine Arts in school. He'd like to become an engineer.

I asked him to write about one of his dreams when I was at the orphanage this past December working on the Dream Series. He sat down right away to begin working. Fifteen minutes later, with a satisfied look on his face, he handed me this nicely crafted creative writing composition. I was very impressed. This is what he wrote:

“In a nick of time, having lay down on my bed, I was caught up in a deep sleep down in the forest where we fetched water in the village. As I dropped the bucket down in the well, an unknown sound from the forest started shouting loudly in a scary voice: ‘I have you today.'

Before I could fill my bucket to the brim, my sister Sarah had left. I knew now that I was in for it. I started hearing a voice coming from all sides of my slim body: ‘I need you.' That’s what it said.

Trees around me started shaking. I shuddered, then my voice started dying out. However much I could call for my twin sister, Sarah, for a rescue, it was all in vain! My heart drummed against my chest; it felt like my hair was off my head. I opted to run, but the legs could not make it to their best.

After all this shivering and scary moments, I heard the voice of Sarah saying, ‘Nelson, I am dying. Please come and help me!’ I tried to follow where the voice was coming from, but I was disturbed by the echoes in the forest. I ran following the background of her sound. I saw her. She cried at me with her tears flowing like a faulty tap. ‘Nelson, can you do something?’ I now started crying as I saw this: an unknown animal I have never seen before. I came close to her only, only to see her belly being cut and made open. This gave me much fear and proved little chance of survival. Genuinely speaking, I had no way to help Sarah, and there she died. The animal then came close and ran after me. I ran backwards calling out for help. Tears of melancholy cascaded down my muddy face as the animal jumped and caught me up.

I woke up only to remember that it was just a dream. I felt relieved!”

In a recent email, Nelson expressed his gratitude to Change the Truth supporters for his scholarship. Here is what he had to say:

"I feel I owe in my heart beyond measure to you that you enable me to enter a class, be able to look at the chalkboard and above all, attain the education I cherish most in my life. I have no doubt that with your good love, care and devoted support you render to me in addition to the transformation and enlightenment of education, I will be able to make my dreams become a reality. I solemnly promise not to disappoint you but to work to the best of my ability and be the best you want me to be. I am very grateful for your support that is putting me in the literate world of the intellectuals. Today I am one of the millions of children in the world who attain an education. This wouldn’t happen if you didn’t come to my rescue. Thank you very much. May God bless the work of your hands.

You are always in my prayers,


This is an unusual young man with a vast array of talents. (He's a heck of a chess player and even has some killer card tricks up his sleeve.) It is exciting to witness the development of such an extraordinary mind, and it will be interesting to see what Nelson ends up doing when he completes his education.

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