SPOTLIGHT ON: Jesus David, or ChuCho
Chucho (a nickname which actually means “mutt” – nicknames, by the way, are VERY common here) is an 11-year old Dominican boy who lives in Las Zayas with his grandmother and sister. We live in a neighborhood called Urabanizacion Maria O that is walking distance from and is located in between Las Zayas, which is mainly a Dominican neighborhood, and a predominantly Haitian village called Batey de La Union. We are one of two “gringo” families that live in the area. We met Chucho through some other local kids and right away we fell in love with his exuberant and fun personality.
It didn’t take long for him to become an instant friend of our kids. We can probably count the number of days on our hands that Chucho has NOT been to our house to hang out. We just love this boy.
Here are a few key aspects that we love about Chucho:
- Chucho attends our older children’s Piedras Vivas Club, a before and after school youth outreach program. He is one of the most well behaved kids and is eager to participate in all the games and activities (including all the crafts).
- Like all the other kids, when he comes over to our house he has the opportunity to play with our toys, something which we take for granted. Children here just don’t have access to toys like in the States, so when he comes over, it is almost as if he regresses to a younger age, as we’ll find him playing make believe with Gabe and Addie (Avengers are a favorite right now) or crawling around on the floor pushing Matchbox cars around.
- A few weeks ago, we took him out to eat at a local American-owned Tex-Mex place called Gorditos. It was his FIRST time ever to go to a restaurant (crazy, eh?). His family just can’t afford it. Like so many kids we know, he probably only eats one solid meal a day. Needless to say, he loved it. The owner of the restaurant, whom we know well, even gave him some free desserts to take home and comped his meal. It was a special night that I won’t forget.
- It is very common for Chucho to ask Jenni what she’s preparing for meals. The boy is genuinely interested in cooking. We are hoping that maybe this love of learning to cook will translate into a future employment opportunity for him. The good thing is that we know someone starting a culinary school here for kids just like him. We are just praying he’ll be eligible to attend one day. We just might have a future restaurant owner and chef on our hands.
- Chucho has a gift at being able to play and chill with kids, yet also have the maturity and friendliness to speak with adults. We have had plenty of incredible conversations with him.
- He’s our pseudo neighborhood Spanish tutor. He is very patient with all of us regarding our Spanish vocabulary and even helps our kids to learn the language without making them feel stupid when they say something wrong.
- His grandmother takes care of him and they are quite poor, so they don’t have much. This was evident one day when he came in wearing a pair of broken, two sizes too small flip flops, which he had creatively tried to “repair” with a paperclip. It always amazes me at the humbleness of families like his and how genuinely happy they are even though they have so little (in terms of material possessions).
- We love the boy, but he has a propensity to accidentally break things.
- Jenni and I attend a Spanish speaking Bible study in his neighborhood (which is usually for adults) but he often will come with his grandmother. It is very typical to find him drumming on the chair, nearby pole, or even his grandmother’s Bible during the worship songs.
- Chucho has not accepted Christ yet, as he’s shared with us. He attends a childrens’ Bible study in the neighborhood with our kids (which Jenni helps to assist with the Dominican woman who organizes it), and knows a lot about God, but he just has not taken that step to put his complete faith in the Lord.
He’s such a super kid, one whom we have fallen in love with. There are so many stories we could tell about him, but you just have to meet him in person to fully enjoy his spirit. Please pray for Chucho and for the Lord to continue to strengthen our relationship with him.
Photos of our friend Chucho