In the combined 7 months that I’ve spent with Kweku, this is what I’ve learned. He is what I would define as “preciously cheeky” meaning he is capable of being a really big brat, but he’s so cute, half the time don’t even care. Even when I want to smack him on his particularly round behind, he could just smile at me, and I would give him whatever he wanted. I’m pretty sure he’s aware of this, which is why he continues to laugh and be a little poo whenever anyone is trying to discipline him. Many volunteers claim Kweku as their “favorite”, and after you meet him, it’s easy to understand why.
Kweku is the smartest of all the kids his age, and will quickly demonstrate his counting skills if asked. He can count to 100 almost without taking a breath, and every time he sits on my lap, he counts my bracelets multiple times. He also likes to inform me of how many I have, multiple times. He has a big belly, and a round booty, and enjoys dancing to ghana music (like most of the kids) and is a better dancer than I’ll ever be. He can bath and dress himself rather efficiently, especially if he is competing with Kevin as to who will finish bathing and dressing first. Kweku is pretty competitive, so he usually wins. Unfortunately he is also a sore loser, and he pouts and cries when he doesn’t get his way. But within 10 minutes or so, he’s over it, and goes back to playing. He recently told me that his best friends were Joe and Kevin, and they have a new fascination with toy cars that Chelsey recently brought for activity time. They have races (of course) and for some reason, Kweku’s car is always the winning car. This could be because he likes to give himself a head start, and because of his sneaky intelligent advantage, Joe and Kevin don’t always notice.
This past weekend we went to the beach again, and Kweku sat on my lap in the tro tro on the way there and back. For some reason this happened the last time we went too, so I’ve had a bit of time to observe his behavior when we leave the orphanage. While many of the other kids fall asleep on the way home, Kweku stays awake until the last possible moment, till his eyes possibly can’t stay open any longer. He doesn’t just sit, he looks. He looks at everything. He observes everything that passes by, sometimes without blinking for what seems like forever, and takes everything in until his eyes can’t stay open anymore. As he sat on my lap and I fed him plantain chips, he didn’t stop for one second to look at me or anyone else in the tro tro. He was looking outside, taking in all his surroundings.
This made me wonder, what else has Kweku seen? What else have those precious little sneaky eyes observed? I’ll never know. What I do know, is that he’s probably seen and felt things that we have never seen and felt, and that we would never wish upon a 5 year old. And there is no denying that his life has been different than probably any child you know, and his eyes have seen things that you will never have to see.
But I can tell you what Kweku sees now. He sees 3 meals a day, and his big belly going to bed at night nice and full. He sees his best friends Kevin and Joe, and 23 other brothers and sisters, who look out for him and act as role models. He sees toys, clothes, and a safe bed. He sees school, where he learns more and more everyday. And he sees a new house, a new house that still isn’t finished, but is on it’s way to being his new home.
And this is all thanks to a pretty great man named Pastor Elisha, some really great orphanage staff, some willing volunteers, and people like you, who have donated to build him a new home. I’ve said it 100 times, and I’ll say it again: Tell everyone you know about Kweku, and all these beautiful children. We owe it to them.
~ Lauren Wright