On Sunday night some of us had dinner and conversation turned, not surprisingly, to the kids. We talked about a number of them, which is helpful for me because I come in blind to their history before I arrived in January. It helps guide and explain my interactions with them knowing one is HIV+ and basically deaf, due to chronic ear infections, or knowing that one girl is really old for her grade not because she failed many times (often times the oldest students are the worst, because they’ve failed the most times), but because she only recently came to us and started school. There is one girl who is particularly needy for attention. Every time I see her, she will express this strong need for attention, but sometimes it’s through hugging me or holding my hand, other times it’s in a way she knows will provoke me (hitting another child when she knows I’m watching, or grabbing my phone when she knows she shouldn’t). She also really loves the baby, which is great for the baby to get that attention, but when I’m around the baby usually only wants to be with me, so when other children come in close while I’m holding her, it only provokes and upsets her. I asked about this girl and learned that her 3-year-old brother, who many people say the baby reminds them of, died in January when their house collapsed on him during a storm. When you really take a moment and think, it’s impossible to ever be mad at any of these children, because they all have pretty horrible life stories like this. It’s hard to remember in the heat of the moment when they are being little shits, but their nastiness comes from hurt inside them that I can’t even begin to imagine. You just wonder if you could ever give them enough love to make up for all the hurt. But hopefully the little bit you give helps.