Interviews - by Joseph Starzl, Volunteer

 Interviews - by Joseph Starzl, Volunteer


My work here is centered around the relationships I develop; with the staff, the other volunteers, but most importantly with the kids.  I teach classes during the day, but outside the classroom I work with the kids in a less formal but much more encompassing way.  We play, we talk, we listen, we explore, we argue, we laugh, we share all the unimpressive activities of everyday life, but it’s then when I think I’m making the most important impact on this community, and also where I’m learning the most.  I’m becoming a more loving person because of all the small things that I live through with these kids.  Likewise, as a role-model, what I hope to give can only be given by a subtle process, patiently (but conscientiously) exemplifying maturity and responsibility.

So here are just three of the kids that I live with, hopefully giving you an idea of what my everyday life is like.  I decided an interview format might be helpful, allowing them to describe themselves in their own words.  I translated the interviews to English, taking a few liberties to keep the spirit of the conversations as true to the original as possible.

José Antonio
8 years old


If you could be an animal, what would it be?
(No hesitation) Lion.  I’d be a lion. [Why?] I like lions because they’re carnivores.  They eat deer and cows and horses and all sorts of animals.  They eat… did I say that they eat deer? [Yes, I have 'deer' written down]  Ok. Yeah, lion. I’d be a lion.
What is your favorite class in school?
I like to read.  I like to write.  I like to study.  I like to draw things.  I like to read. [What do you like to read about?] I like science.  My favorite is learning about planets. [What's your favorite planet?]  Earth. [Oh.]  Earth is the best.  I like Mars too though.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a teacher. [Why?]  Because I want to give people homework.  Also, maybe I could work with you, Mr. José?  We could teach a class together. [That would be awesome.
What are you really good at?
I like to share.  If I have something, I like to share it with other kids.  I like to be obedient.  I like to survive. [Wait, what do you mean?]  I mean I like to eat.  I like to eat food. Understand? [...I do like to eat. I also am pro-survival.]  I like to study… Did I mention I like to eat? [Yep.]
If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
I would buy cookies.  And chips.  And condensed milk.  Lollipops. (Long pause) [Should we move to the next question?]  No, not yet.  I’d buy gifts.  I’d buy tomatoes.  I’d buy a box full of food.  I’d buy potatoes.  Ice-cream.  Vegetables.
What is your favorite part about living at Amigos de Jesus?
I like to be happy.  I like to live. [And what do you like about living here?]  I like eating dinner.  I like washing my hands.  I like forks.  I like to wash my hands.
What makes you happy?
I like having time to myself.  I like going to sleep.  I like waking up in the morning.  I like to go to school.  I like to change my clothes before breakfast.  I’m happy when I’m sleepy and ready to go to sleep.  I’m happy when people aren’t bothering or name-calling.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
I would write… words. [What would the words be?]  ‘José Antonio’.  [Would you be a character?] Yes. [What would you do in the story?]  I would… read. [What would you read?]  I would read… a book. [You would write a story about yourself reading a book?] Yes.
What is the best thing about yourself?
I’m good at paying attention in class.

Hector 
15 years old




If you could be an animal, what would it be?
Really? [Well. Yeah...] I don’t know.  What would you be? [A wolf.] Hmmm… (long pause) I’d be a dog.  They like to do their own thing.  They’re carefree.
What is your favorite class in school?
Math.  I’m really good at math.  I like working with numbers.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
An Investigator. [Like a police detective?] No.  Like a scientific investigator.  Who are the people who work with microscopes? [Uh, biologists, I think.]  Oh yeah.  And we were learning about cells in science class.  I really like science too, I’d like to do that stuff when I grow up.
What are you really good at?
Math.  I always get good grades in Math.  I’m good at playing goalie in soccer.  I take care of the dogs here at Amigos, so I’m good working with dogs too.
If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
I wouldn’t spend most of it.  I’d save it.  I’d buy new shoes though.  Clothes.  Sandals too.
What is your favorite part about living at Amigos?
I like our vacations. [Your days off from school?]  Yeah.  I get to wake up late.  I like being free to choose what to do those days.  I’ll play soccer, wash clothes, clean my stuff.  Hang out with the other guys.  Just have fun.
What makes you happy?
I’m an independent person.  I’m happy when I’m taking care of myself.  I like finishing my chores, and knowing that I accomplished those things.  Washing my clothes, fixing my radio if it breaks, just taking care of my stuff.  That’s when I’m happy.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
The history of Posas Verdes (the local town). [Huh?]  Our class took a field trip to Posas to research its history.  It was for my social studies class.
What is the best thing about yourself?
My success at school.  I get good grades.

Oscar 
15 years old




If you could be an animal, what would it be?
I’d be a lion, so I could be king of all the animals.
What is your favorite class in school?
I like social studies. [Why?]  I need to learn new things, and those are the things that I like to learn about.  People and different countries.  And I like geography too, how some continents are really big, how some are not so big, like Australia.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
(Long pause)  I don’t know. [I didn't know either.]  Yeah, that’s a question I’ll think about later.  I just started high-school.
What are you really good at?
I’m really good at soccer.  I play midfield mostly.
If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
I’d buy a house.  And a car.  I’d get a job too. [Sounds like you'd be setting yourself up?]  Sure.  Getting ready for life.
What is your favorite part about living at Amigos?
I like the dorms.  Where we sleep.  I like being close to my work. [Your work?]  Yeah, on the weekends I work in agro (farm-work).  I clean the corn-bins, take care of the cows, stuff like that.
What makes you happy?
When I’m joking around.  I like humor.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
I’d write a book about different countries.  [Like a travel book?]  Sure.  And about nature.  It’d be a non-fiction book.
What is the best thing about yourself?
My intelligence.  I’m smart.