This entry has taken me a few weeks to write. It is not because it is particularly long or that I have been procrastinating, but rather it has been on my heart and in my thoughts frequently over the past month.
About a month ago now, I happened to be online at the same time Patty, who is the wife of the director of the Girasoles abandoned boys home in Puerto Alegria – the home I spent 2 months at during the 2009 summer work team season. We connected via MSN Messenger and were catching up with what had been happening in each of our lives over the past few months since I had left the home to return to the States. I asked her if any of the boys had left the home and were no longer living there. She replied that a few new boys had come and gone since I left in mid-August, but one boy had returned to the city of Iquitos and was no longer with them.
It is not unusual for boys to leave Puerto Alegria (or one of the other Casa Girasoles homes Scripture Union operates) to return to their home. Some of the boys just become bored with the lifestyle – the new structure in place, new rules, and having to go to school – or they just simply want to return to their home. This sounds like a great thing, they are returning to their parents or family and life will be great. Unfortunately, in most cases, the boy was visited by somebody in his family who said how much they loved/missed them, how much they (both the family and boy) had changed and how they would love to have the boy back home. While this sounds ideal, it usually is lies and nothing has changed, or it hasn’t changed enough.
So when I heard that one of the boys had left the home, it seemed natural. During the 8 weeks I lived in Puerto Alegria, there were a handful of boys that came and left during that short time. But this boy surprised me. Every time I think about him, I can only remember him smiling and in a cheery disposition. Even though on the outside he seemed like any other teenage boy, I cannot imagine the life he led before coming to Puerto Alegria. In his free time, he enjoyed to dance and invent his own choreographed dances to songs on my iPod. He was helpful and respectful, and just a fun, good kid.
Since it has been at least a month since he left, I do not know if he has returned or what he is doing now. Maybe he has returned to Puerto Alegria, maybe things are better with his family than they were before he first left, maybe… It makes me sad to think that he left a great place to return to a dangerous life, but there is nothing we can do besides pray for his safety and good judgment.