Some years ago, my husband and I had the great opportunity of joining a program of long distance adoptions in Paraguay. The idea of helping the minors of the poor countries and  their families providing them with an economical help, so that they may receive the primary goods, education and the medical care they need, made us feel, I don’t know, better people if possible. However, once subscribed, after few weeks we received a letter with all the personal data of the adopted child, which, unexpectedly, turned out to be a very exciting moment, because we hadn’t had the name of the kid yet. I still remember my husband slowly unfolding the letter, looking at the picture and saying with a big smile: “it’s a boy”. His name was Wilfrido. In the picture, a little brat of about five was doing his best to show us his gratitude with a big toothless smile, even if he seemed a kind of uncomfortable in his brand new school pinafore, maybe too large for the age. Once our adopted son had materialized in that picture, we started to be pervaded by a strange sort excitement. We began  to think that we might do many things for him, for example providing him with a high school education and even more, Harvard, Stanford, why not? At a closest inspection of the picture, the boy didn’t really look like the student type, but maybe I was wrong. Wilfrido didn’t pass the first grade that year. We were shattered. The following years went much better. He learnt to read and write, even Maths. One day he wrote to me, telling that he reached school on foot – seven miles!!!- or sometimes on horseback and that he liked studying after all.  But one day,Wilfrido and his family left the village and I have never heard from him since then. I was disappointed , maybe I could have done more to give him the opportunity of having a better future, maybe. Few years later I would have seen the whole experience from another angle. I  was in Costa Rica and I needed some directions, one boy offered to write down the address for me.  He picked a pen and slowly started to move it on a piece of paper as if he were drawing. It took him five endless minutes to write that piece of information, but somehow we didn’t dare hurry him. Eventually he handed me the note. His handwriting was incredibly neat and elegant and when I met his eyes I could clearly sees a sparkle, I saw his satisfaction, pride and dignity. He might be one of the many Wifrido that people the world. I had done something good after all.That’s why I teach. Because I think education can make people conscious, stronger and free and even because I feel useful every time I see that sparkle in the eyes of my students. Wish you a great new school year. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Wilfrido

  1. Thank you very much 🙂 not only for wishing me a great school year, but especially for what you did and what you do everyday doing what you do love. You opened my mind and you allowed me to see a new world around me, and that is why I thank you.
    Now I am at Politecnico di Milano studying aerospace engineering, but you taught me that literary and umanitarian culture is very important too, maybe it is the most important, and that is why I am performing it every day also with readings you proposed us during last year!

    Ok, I’m stopping ***-licking, I just wanted to thank you for “giving me a dignity”, just like Wilfrido. Like him, I do really appreciate it 🙂 You helped me to find my way and to get up in my pick-up, like I said in one of your posts.

    Ps Oh, I’ll be always there reading your posts!

  2. That is why any of us teach and reach out to students. That is why, even though my school downsized my librarian position from full-time to one day a week, I work as diligently as ever to provide meaningful and stimulating class sessions and lessons. Thank you for following my blog.

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