Today as our team barrelled down the rough and dusty roads, I noticed a group of small young boys that could not be more than 10 years old. As I watched the boys run beside our bus, I couldn't help but smile because one of them looked exactly like my 10 year old cousin Zyrus. Short dark hair, slightly tanned skin and a smile that was different from all the rest. Later in the day after the baking heat slowly started to die down, I came across the same group of boys. It was obvious that they had been waiting in line for hours because they were all squatting and taking turns drinking water out of a nearly empty one litre bottle of mountain dew. I greeted them, talked to them as much as I could like saying "Namaste", "Mero Nam Evan" (My name is Evan), asking them their names and how they were doing because it was important. It was important to let them know that we cared about them and our team would do as much as we could to help them. When I came across the boy that looked like my cousin, he greeted me with a huge smile and I did the same. As I got to the age part of the registration, my interpreter told me he was 14 years old. I asked the interpreter to repeat the question again because I could not believe my ears. This kid was no more than 4ft 9. and he was older than me. It was definitely one of the most shocking things I have seen so far on this trip. All the kids my age look like 8 or 9 years old.
I tell you now the scorching heat was definitely not the hardest part of being in registration. Over 500 people standing in what you cannot even call a line, holding on to the person in front of them for dear life is something I had to deal with for the whole day. As I started to register the first person, I was already getting frustrated. It took me ten minutes to finish because every two minutes someone would tug on my shirt and ask for a registration form. And every few moments, someone would cut in front of another person and I would have to tell them to go to the back of the line. The frustrating part is that the same people kept doing it. They tried to find everyway to wear me down and get a registration form. I guess they thought it was okay because I was a young kid compared to everyone on the team. One elderly man was so desperate he tried to grab the form from me. Usually I would get mad but I understood their circumstances. Their government is corrupt, no one listens to them and everything they loved was taken from them last year by the earthquake.
|Evan in registration-controlling the line|
|Men insist on forming a separate line from the women|
My parents asked me what I enjoyed about the project. To me, besides meeting kids my age, I enjoyed being with this team. Everyone is so fun and they invite us out for dinner with them and give us candies, doughnuts, cheese balls and Fanta pop. They are funny and really make me feel like part of the team.
By Evan March