Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kenlove and Rueben

Dinah was here seven months running an after school homework program that was part of a grant funded program for hurricane relief. Look what has she left me with!

School started last week. Everyday we have had a troop of kids stop by the museum. Everyday I have to tell them that we do not have an after school homework program.

"Why does Kenlove get to come in?" they said.


I am trying to remember what Bryan and I were called at camp that was meant to be derogatory...the "favorites." I don't ever remember thinking I was a favorite of anyone, except maybe mom. I always just thought I had talents that made me more interesting than the other kids. Does that sound mean?

When I leave here, one of the things that I will take, I will remember, and I will miss are the relationships with my young friends who are drawn to the museum. Kenlove and Rueben have been coming almost everyday this summer. I finally gave Rueben a job and told him that if he was going to be here he might as well be productive. Kenlove is a different story.

When I first came to the museum Kenlove was hanging around. Kenlove has a way of... well lets just say he talks fast and loud and peaks English as a second language with an incredibly strong island accent. People would ask me why I kept letting him come in. I would say, "Why does he want to come in?"

One day, I picked up a notebook he was working in only to discover Kenlove's other world. It was filled with poetry. Well crafted poetry that is very visually constructed. Now, I have a program where Kenlove has to write one poem a day. Next month in the Astrolabe we are publishing an article and a few of his poems.

Before I went to the states a couple weeks ago, Kenlove came to see me. "I need some things for school."

"Just give me a list," I said.

His list was everything you would need to go to school from shoes to pencils. Tuval came to see me and told me to bring him back an Iphone. I have seen both the best and worst of handouts and dogooders here after the hurricane. But in my world there is a difference between a humble request for what you actually need; who's your neighbor.

When I gave Kenlove his supplies Tuval was beside himself. But Kenlove has been writing poems everyday. Stinky kids.

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