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Testimonial from Janis Gilbert

The extreme heat was challenging for me, but of course those memories fade with time and only the good memories stay.

My favourite part was working with Jeferson, who is about 10 years old. He was “slower” than the rest but Jeferson had talents all his own, and he wasn’t really slower, as it turned out. He had attention problems just like my own son. One day we were doing his “special math” when he suddenly just started working hard at it. He finished all the problems and I looked up and suggested he do the work on the blackboard, with the other students. He balked, but I said, “Why not?”  So he did that work too. He was very proud, I could tell. Jeferson had other great talents too. He has the best penmanship I think I’ve ever seen - really beautiful. AND he can climb a tree like nobody’s business and grab coconuts for people as he did for us at Casa del Sol right after that good day at school. Being an older person in the program was difficult, but it also came with rewards. I think some of the kids responded to me in a more respectful way and when I had a broken bone they were careful to be gentle with me! I was able to be a kid with them, a “teacher” figure, AND a grandma! The extreme heat was challenging for me and I often didn’t feel well, but of course those memories fade with time and only the good memories stay. Being four decades older than the other volunteers had its drawbacks as it was a bit lonely for me, I stopped myself from trying to be one of them! I did not stop myself before getting on the banana boat that resulted in a broken rib, however!

- Janis Gilbert