My Spiderman has grown into quite the little man. I no longer feel like an overprotective mother hen who worries about him getting through the day or being successful. He is no longer the baby of EDD and I am thrilled to report, can now wash his clothes by himself and get along just fine on his own! He is off and running. It is a joy to watch how confident he has become, he is self-assured and now helps the littler boys navigate the center and their daily routines. I no longer see him off in the field sitting alone reliving his horrific memories. I know this early experiences will never leave him but it seems he has found ways of coping and no longer let them dictate his life. His English has improved so much and he is eager to soak up information. He happily informed me that his mother told him he will be an English teacher. Today, I sat on the football pitch and watched in awe at how far he has come. He wasn't afraid to jump right in, it is obvious the other boys respect him. He is the "keeper" of the little boys football team, something that obviously brings him great pride. And he has become a keeper of the center. Today he stayed to help me clean up the library and he looks after the little boys with kindness and care. His little light is now shinning so bright.
E, is a newer boy at the center. He arrived, not long after I left, from another street child center in Kigali that was closed by the government for mistreating the children. He is around eight, though just a guess since age is not well recorded here. His day to day existence is a struggle. He truly is just bursting with love. I watched as he tenderly moved hair out of someone's face and saw his face light up as he waved at a butterfly that flew by. But some of my most frustrating moments have come as I watch him intentionally hurt himself. He will stare directly into the sun or hit himself with a rock, as if he isn't worthy of not feeling pain. I try to explain to him that it hurts me when he hurts himself, but it seems to be lost in translation. But then he will come grab my hand and hold it so gently. And moments later he will bite me. He yearns for attention and any attention is good attention. He will stare at nothing and I wish I could jump inside his little head and remove all of the toxic memories it stores. He is just a little boy who wants what every human being wants, to love and to be loved.