Samuel is an extremely intelligent kid with so much potential. However, he has had some trouble at school in the past and is currently taking the year off. Because of this he has a lot of free time and spends it with older guys who seem to be anything but a good influence on him. He is also very susceptible to this influence because he lacks the self confidence necessary to make his own decisions and be his own person. Upon leaving, some of last year’s PD’s told me to watch out for Samuel and said that he was on the edge and could either become one of the “guys on the corner” or could actually realize his potential and become a productive, contributing member of society. The prospect of staying with Samuel and the opportunity to potentially be a positive role model for him was very exciting for me. I felt as if I was actually trying to accomplish something during my week at their house.
In short, my stay with the Davila family was great. Samuel’s mom, Doña Norma, is one of the sweetest people I’ve met. She is also a fantastic cook which certainly made my homestay even more pleasant. Although Samuel’s dad wasn’t around very often during the week due to his demanding job as a security guard I did get to meet him and spend a short amount of time with him and he too is a very quiet but welcoming man. They run a “venta,” or little store, out of their home that Doña Norma usually tends but that Samuel assists with. Each evening after dinner Samuel and I would watch the news at 7:00 and then an episode of House, one of Samuel’s favorite shows, at 8:00 before going to bed. One day it rained all day and we weren’t able to leave the house at all so we just sat and talked for hours. We talked about a variety of subjects including school, nature, food, sports, and science. In all, it was a fantastic week.
I feel like I was really able to connect with Samuel throughout my week at his house. I don’t maintain any illusions that I will be the determining factor that causes Samuel to go more consistently to our programs, do better in school when he returns in February, and become a successful member of the community here. However, I do think that my stay there did some good. It at least laid a stronger foundation for a relationship that I hope to maintain and expand upon. Hopefully our friendship will grow throughout my remaining time here and I can continue to provide an extra little push that could help him take a step or two in the right direction. And at the very least, we both had a great time.