Sun Sponge

The Blue Pumpkin is where she’s sprawled out slowly digesting chicken fried rice. She’s taken the hot sun and left it out on the porch. It sits there, outside the restaurant, waiting for her to obnoxiously slurp the last few moments of ice redberry coconut from the bottom of the glass, walk out the door, and become a sun-sponge for another afternoon. She loses focus and drifts off into mindlessly picking at dried paint on her arms. Paint that did not get on the bamboo wall. The bamboo wall of the school. The school with some children inside and some children outside.

Kindergarten - Painting

The children inside learn and, when they are done learning, they take their back packs and go home to families. Families that can provide an extra dollar or two per month to send them to school.

The children on the outside learn that they are not allowed to learn. They go home without a back pack, to families that can’t afford a back pack; families that don’t care about back packs. Even if a back pack means that their child goes to school and has a chance to learn. So these children linger and play outside the school, watching and helping us paint bamboo siding. They help us paint a school that they aren’t even allowed to enter.

She paints and soaks up the sun at that school for two days. But they will be sun-sponges everyday because they are not allowed inside the school.

Loudly, she sucks up the last swallow of the coconut-redberry milkshake and heads back to continue painting the school where there are some kids inside and some kids out.

Jacoba Bulthuis



2 comments so far

  1. Ann DeRooy on

    Nice perspective in this post!
    I wonder if there is a way that we could sponsor the outside children so that they have the same opportunities as the inside children in their native land?

  2. Reka Jellema on

    A beautifully written piece, more effective in its punch, perhaps, because of the 3rd person POV — the way you pulled back from the piece in order to place the emphasis on the children and their situation. Because it comes through. What they are up against. You with your many-years-old backpack, Jacoba.

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