“Hurry! You’re going to be late for school! They’re going to close the gate on you!” Yoha yelled as her 6-year-old daughter ran up the hill headed towards the school, struggling to slip one of her school shoes on. She disappeared around the corner and Yoha and I fell back into the conversation we were having. Suddenly I saw her reappear out of the corner of my eye.

“Mami!!!” she was running down the hill, pencil in hand, “It broke!”

Yosandres, her 19-year-old brother, ran into the house and came out with a huge knife. Yadelin brought him the pencil and we all sat quietly, thinking of the time passing, waiting while Yosandres sharpened the pencil with the blade of his knife. Then she was off again, running.

How absolutely strange for a 6-year-old to have a single writing utensil for school – to be late for school because the tip of said writing utensil broke – and to fix it with kitchen knife.

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