Sometimes, the likkle things are the most important.
Two weeks ago, Jerome approached me (he walks on his knees when he’s not driving his car – a hand pedaled wood cart). He pushed a piece of paper and a pen into my hand and began telling me what he wanted. His speech is very garbled so it took some time but I eventually figured out that he wanted me to draw a watch.
Inspired by Ishmeal, one of my Ghana boys who once gave me a cell phone, watch, and school of fish (all made entirely from paper) for my birthday, I decided to not just draw Jerome a watch, but make him one.
As I drew a circle and began writing in the numbers, he was right at my elbow, shivering with excitement and laughing with delight when I told him that his watch had diamonds encircling the face. He rocked back and forth as I folded the watch band, happy exclamations pouring from his mouth. I didn’t need to decipher the words to understand exactly what he was saying.
This was the end result:
(Sorry for the blurriness – we were pretty happy.)
He loves it when I take out my cell phone so we can compare the time of day (amazingly, we’re always perfectly synchronized!).
This week, he had one of those light bulb moments and realized that if I could make a watch, then surely I could make a cell phone, too!
I used my phone as a model as I drew screen and keypad and if I thought his joy over the watch was something to behold, his exuberance over the phone appearing before his eyes was . . . well, words fail me.
I told him I needed some small cardboard to make the phone firm and 3D. He took off in his car and 10 minutes later returned with a huge, broken down box. Yup, that would definitely be plenty.
Nardia hand modeled the finished product for the camera:
Later that day, I heard Jerome talking to someone and looked out the door of the boys’ cottage to see him driving past, one hand pedaling his car forward, the other (wrist-watched, of course) holding his new phone to his ear as he carried on a conversation with whomever was at the end of the line.
He actually has a couple of real cell phones (sans batteries) that he found somewhere. But this paper/cardboard/tape model is the one he carries in his pocket and dials numbers into (Shamika and I both had to write down our #s for him) and keeps track of the time with.
And if one cell phone is good, two is better. Shamika has a touch screen phone and today I was commissioned to make him one of those. “Now you have one for business and one for pleasure,” I quoted Bashi as I handed his new phone over to him.
He looked up at me from where he was kneeling on the ground, eyes aglow with happiness.
His “Thank you!” was garbled and probably wouldn’t even have been caught by most people.
But that didn’t matter because there was no mistaking the hug, head burrowed into my stomach, arms wrapped around my waist, squeezing tight with everything he had.