Last September, our community took a number of new kids into our Community Center activities. Since we were away for the past months, I’m only now getting to know them, mainly by playing or working together.
A few weeks ago, I and our Moldova servant team were flattening a section of the garden and raking out the rocks so we could plant grass. Before we started to plan the grass seed, Alin, one of our new boys, arrived from school. He asked if he could help, so I picked up rocks and flattened the dirt. Then I gave him the sack of seed and taught him how to spread it evenly over the dirt and then pack it in. Then I showed him how to water it and told him that he was responsible for the plot. Even when I wasn’t at the Center, Alin remembered to water.
One day as Alin was watering and weeding, he told me that he also helps his elderly neighbor with his garden. He said that his neighbor is too old to dig or to carry big loads, so he helps him out. I was impressed because lots of kids need lots of motivation to work. And I know that this is a way that some of our kids, who have very little, are able to earn a little pocket money. So, I asked Alin how much he gets paid for doing chores for his neighbor. Alin was surprised. He said that he doesn’t do it for money but to help his neighbor. He said, “My neighbor doesn’t have a dime to buy bread. Do you want me to take his last dime? Isn’t it better to help him because he needs it rather than for money?”
After being away from the Center for a week at our community retreat, I greeted Alin at our gate as he came from school and took him up to see the plot where he had planted and watered. His face lit up when he saw the green grass sprouting up.