Bikes, Bread, and Tears

“Nicolas is a 13 year-old Consuelo boy. He sells 28 bags of bread each day for his mom who bakes it. A bag of bread costs 40 pesos, just over a dollar. Nicolas wants to save money to buy a bike so he can deliver the bread to colmados (small stores) more quickly. He divulges that he didn’t pass 7th grade this year. When asked what he plans to do when he grows up, he shrugs, and admits sadly that he knows he is too small to be a baseball player; he is unsure as to what other options for employment might be. He’d like to help his mom. CCI wants to help Nicolas explore his talents and options for employment in the future.”

We hope to expand in the future, but currently, CCI’s current programming revolves around literacy.  Fortunately, Nicolas is already a reader, and therefore is not currently involved in CCI courses.  Since we launched the website with his story, Nicolas’ situation hasn’t changed much.

I see Nicolas often selling his bread on foot, and occasionally, I buy a bag from him-it’s great bread.  A few days ago, he came to the door and asked me for some help.  I asked him what he needed and he asked if I would buy a bag of bread because it was already 11 am and he still had 8 bags to sell.  I told him I would buy 2 bags, but that I was waiting for someone to bring me change for something else, so we had to sit and wait.

As we waited, he told me, “I’m nervous because I have all of these bags left to sell, and my mom needs the money to start cooking.”  Lunch is the main meal in the Dominican Republic, and for many it is the only meal of the day.  I asked about the bike, he said he could fix an old bike for 500 pesos (about $15).  “Angela,” he uttered, “I’m just so tired.  When the regulars don’t want to buy, I have to search to find someone who will buy the bread.  My mom spends almost everything we make on making the bread each day and cooking.”  Nicolas said, “Los pobres pasan muchas cosas. (The poor go through a lot.)” I was silent, saddened by his situation; I sat staring ahead and thinking.  When I turned, I saw the hot tears in his eyes; he put his head down and wept.

My hope is to develop CCI to the point where it can offer kids and adults like Nicolas the opportunity to serve their community and learn skills for employment and progress and earn simple incentives for doing so like bike parts or a bike.  For now, I’ve paid in advance for 13 bags of bread.

Please consider giving a monthly donation to CCI to help us help Nicolas and others like him.  Thank you for your support!

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