The photographer’s caption tells me the image comes from a place where Food for the Hungry works called “Rio Azul,” or “Blue River,” in Guatemala’s Ixil Triangle region. But I see a story far beyond a young child poised to draw something.
The green in little boy’s sweater mirrors the thick vegetation I remember from visiting this village two years ago. The air in the early morning must be chilly, and he may have walked through drizzle or thick fog to arrive at school today.
I can’t tell this child’s age. You might say he’s about five years old, but with malnutrition so rampant in Guatemala, kids can be very, very short for their age. He could be as old as seven or eight, in reality.
What really catches my eye is the ball point pen that he grips in his fingers. He holds it incorrectly, so I think that perhaps he’s used to crayons. I see he’s drawing boxes and lines, so he may not know how to write yet. But because people care about his future, he has access to a pen and paper. Teachers will help him read and write and Food for the Hungry staff will reinforce what he learns in after-school programs. With a pen and paper, he could change the world.
Yes, his shy smile and his beautiful eyes reflect his precious soul. But I see the future for this boy, too. It took courage for him to experiment with that pen, to pick it up and see what it does. I pray that his courage continues and that God will bring people into his life (through Food for the Hungry, through his church, through his school) who will encourage him not just to start his education, but to finish it.