In the past, I have given candy to the students who brought their homework as a way to reward and to motivate them. I tell them that I can’t bring candy every time, but they should always remember to do their homework, because they’ll never know when I have candy to give out to the good students.
The other day, they asked me to bring them candy if they did their homework this time. (I’ve noticed that the kids here are a bit selfish/piggish/greedy when it comes to candy.) I reminded them I couldn’t bring it every time, and some of them started whining that they wanted me to bring them candy.
“You guys! I’m so poor. I’m a volunteer here. Do you know what a volunteer is? It’s someone who does work to help people, without getting paid. The rest of the teachers are paid each month and have money, but not me. I spent all the money I had on a plane ticket to come here, so now I only have a very little bit of money. When I buy candy for you, that means that I can’t buy something for myself. So I’ll buy candy when I can, but I can’t bring it every time.”
I only told them this so they wouldn’t selfishly expect candy every time and so that hopefully they would better appreciate the candy that I did bring them.
This morning, little Brian came to where I was sitting at my desk, saying he wanted to give me something in secret. He slipped something into my hand and pushed my fingers over it. I peeked inside, and saw a one cedi note and a few ten pesewa coins.
“What is this for? Do you want me to hold this for you?” I asked.
“No, it’s for you! It’s for you to have,” he said.
“Because you said you’re poor. I want you to have some money,” he said.
“Oh, Brian! You really don’t have to. Here, take it back,” I said, but he refused to take it back. I asked him where he got the money, and apparently it’s from his own nine-year-old savings. He absolutely insisted that I keep it.
“Brian, that is so sweet of you!” I said, quite touched by his generosity. “Thank you so much! I’ll use it to buy candy for the class sometimes.”
So, while it’s true that I don’t have tons of money, somehow, with the GH¢1.40 in my purse, such a thoughtful gift from a loving, giving, unselfish student, I feel very rich right now. :)