I’m sitting at the airport in Port Au Prince now about to fly back home to be with Jess and Sophie. I have been away for about 10 days now, and I am really excited about seeing how much Sophie has changed. At the same time, I am really sad that I am leaving the kids and I had a really good time with them this past week. In fact, I wanted to write this blog while everything was still fresh on my mind. As you probably already know, we have been writing this blog series introducing you to each of our kids on a personal level, and it is so much more fun to write these when we are there with them.
So, today, Meet Kervinson! Kervinson is 14 and one of the older boys at the orphanage. He has a sister, Gueline, who lives there also, and the story of how they came to Hope Rising is a pretty amazing one, so please take the time to read more about it here, trust me you will not be disappointed. We will always be indebted to Brad and Katherine Henry (2 of his sponsors) for helping to make sure Kervinson came with us! Before getting too far along in the story, it is important that you understand something about Kervinson. Prior to Jessica and I working with the orphanage, he had never had a chance to go to school. He was 11 when we first met him and could not read, he could not write, and he did not know his letters. This is not to say that Kervinson is not smart because he is. He just never had anyone to teach him how to do these things and he didn’t know how to learn them on his own. He was well-spoken and interacted well with others, he just had no formal education. It was sad, but he had moved from orphanage to orphanage, caretaker to caretaker, and never had anyone to give him the care and training he needed.
Kervinson’s Mom lives in Carrefour which is about a 30 minute drive from Hope Rising. We had never met her prior to our move, and we have not seen her since. She will still call from time-to-time and ask for money or other things, but she has no involvement in Kervinson and Gueline’s lives. Kervinson has actually been living in orphanages since he was little. We know of 3 orphanages he has lived in (based on a conversation we had with the “pastor” who brought him to Audancin) and he may have moved around even more than that. We know that his Mom does not stay in one place very long and purposefully makes herself hard to communicate with so that she does not have to see her children. Can you imagine how difficult this type of life has been for Kervinson? Put these things together:
His Mom lives 30 minutes away and wants nothing to do with him.
He is 14 and just now starting 3rd grade.
He has been moved around from orphanage to orphanage.
He was taken advantage of because of his lack of education by his caregivers.
He has never had a consistent, caring person in his life.
Can you imagine being given these obstacles in your life? Can you imagine having a life filled with disappointments, people who were supposed to care for you that didn’t, and a sense of abandonment that must be in your thoughts every day? In reality, Kervinson is probably our most challenging child right now. He lacks respect for authority, especially women, and generally just does whatever he wants. He gets in fights with the other kids (even the little ones) a lot and he argues and yells at the house moms. It is even difficult now to come up with effective and creative punishments because he has had all of them (luckily our house mom manager, Gina, has some pretty good ideas).
But let me tell you who Kervinson really is!
If you have come down on a trip, you know that he has the most infectious, stunning smile you have ever seen. He has this love of life and an amazing laugh that he can make you feel like you are the funniest, most interesting person in the world. He is really quick with a hug and he is extremely affectionate with those that he loves and those that he thinks love him. He craves physical touch, affection, and really any type of attention (including negative) that he can get. He is actually really smart (even with his lack of formal education) and reads people very well. In fact, I am going to tell you something amazing, and I am going to write it in bold because it is just so awesome…
He is #1 in his class this year at school!
Can you believe that? After not having been in school for most of his life, he is number 1 in his class this year! Thanks to his wonderful sponsors, we have hired a one-on-one tutor for Kervinson to try and help him get back on track at school. His tutor is helping him learn to read and write and helping him with his homework each day. Really, we almost pulled him from school to get focused help at home, but we did not want him to miss the social aspect of school so we kept him there. So he started 3rd grade this year, and we really did not know if he could pass or not…But he is #1 in his class!
Kervinson has so much potential. If you know him, you can just see this quality about him that not everyone has. He is likable, nice, and I mentioned before has an incredible smile. One of my favorite stories is the first time I realized that Kervinson and Gueline were brother and sister. They were standing next to each other, and someone said something funny that made them smile. As soon as they both smiled at the same time, I knew. I immediately asked if they were related and they told me they were brother and sister. Kervinson is also beginning to do really well at basketball. He understands the concept of a layup (which is a much more difficult concept here than you may think), he can actually make a 3-pointer, and he enjoys playing. I hope this gives you a little idea of who Kerivnson is, but the best way to get to know him is by coming to visit! Until then, Meet Kervinson.