One of them is the cutest kid, chatty as hell, and completely comfortable with waltzing up to me one day – “Are you Jody’s mother?” - to tell me how Jo is the best.
We end up talking. Eventually, after we run out of conversation topics, and after most of the class has gone off, I ask the kid: Eh, who is fetching you?
Kid doesn’t know, then volunteers: My papa is in jail. He cannot fetch me. He’s inside for a few years. He did a lot of bad things. But I don’t know if my mummy is fetching me today.
Later, Jo tells me it’s really difficult helping her friend with work. The kid’s father, she says, threw things at the mother.
Kid doesn’t regularly go to school, she says, maybe two or three days in a week, cannot catch up, is very slow work-wise, and gets scolded a lot.
I ask Jo a lot of questions. I tell her what I think, and she tells her friend: Come and talk to my mother.
The kid does. Comes straight up to me as I am picking Jo up and states: You know why I don’t come to school? Because I hate it.
I kneel down, look the kid in the eye and say: You hate school because it’s difficult. But you must come to school and learn so it will get easier. OK?
Kid nods. I’m sure my words won’t make a dent. But I really, really like this kid. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed.