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Faces of Los Laureles

don't let the halo fool you.
an angel he is not.
little mateo is kind of a brat.
and the only vocabulary he seems to be able to manage is variations on spanish curse words.
this one still isn't growing on me.
he does call me papi though.
papi might have to do some disciplining here in the near future.
ok, these people are not from laureles.
obviously.
but i liked the photo.
taken by tati.
soplo and manuel after a soccer game.
both, in their own way, think they're too cool for school.
it's been my mission to teach them otherwise.

here's a kid that thinks he's from laureles, acts like he's from here, spends all of his time here.
but he's not
william lives down the highway in a nice home with a stable family that has steady and reliable employment.
he discovered our soccer team last year, joined, became a star forward for the u-14 team and slowly began making friends here.
to the point now where he practically lives here.
sometimes he stays so late that his mother has to physically come and chase him back to their house.
he's a good kid with a good heart though.
some of our high school group has been struggling in their classes.
what else is new.
last year we had organized tutoring for the kids with our youth from church.
we don't have that luxury this year.
what we do have is girlfriend and her willingness to come out twice a week and help the most desperate.
melvin is so grateful
oh duke.
i could go on forever about duke.
i shan't.
i will say that in every way, be it on the soccer field or in the classroom or in his personal/spiritual life i see growth and a deepening maturity.
i'm truly hopeful for this one.

finally there's anuar.
funny how life goes aroud in cycles.
3 years ago anuar was the first child i befriended here in los laureles.
he went everywhere with me.
he was my door to meeting other kids, exploring the community, developing contacts with adults.
and then we kind of drifted apart.
he was always there - just not in the intense way he was for the first 6 months.
more recently and now that we're neighbors he's back in my life again in a profound way.
he's at the house all day, helps in whatever project we're invloved in and always involved in the conversations here.
i'm a big fan of anuar.
and he grinds a mean coffee mill.

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