In discussions that Giacomo has been having with the older children of Wat Opot, the concern of some is for the future… not only their future but the future of the world as well. They have access now, through their telephones and television, to all of the negative things happening, and like most of us, are not sure what kind of world will be waiting for them when they leave our community.
There is a lot of negative propaganda about orphanages or children’s communities like ours and some of the accusations made are legitimate. Whenever vulnerable children are involved, there are those that would take advantage of not only the children but also the opportunity to exploit them… for financial gain.
I grew up in the ’50s in post-war America and my family did not have much to live on… except for the hope of a better future. As a family, we had to work hard to survive. I remember my parents going out to buy groceries and when they returned we would run out to the car to help carry the bags in, but they told us to wait until dark. I didn’t understand it at the time but the food came from a government program and they didn’t want the neighbors to see the packages because they were embarrassed to have to depend on welfare.
As a result, I had to work hard in a small garden where we grew tomatoes and potatoes. I eventually got a job as a paperboy so that I could help with the family expenses. I didn’t see it as work, however… I was happy that I could contribute.
In much the same way, the Wat Opot community is structured on a similar concept. A majority of the work that is done here, is done by the children.
From catching fish to planting gardens in the heat of the day, there is always work to do and usually workers that want to do it. They are paid of course for their labor… I do not believe in giving things away for free because it encourages dependency, and for that reason, there are usually more workers than there is work to do.
Working and living together is what sets Wat Opot apart from other places and even other normal families. Having the opportunity to be a contributing member of a family or group is something that is missing in the lives of so many children today… and for that reason, I would suggest that our children have it better than many others, who must carry the baggage that comes from living in a dysfunctional family.
I dropped in on one of Giacamo’s sessions and they asked me what they could do to make a more positive future happen… I told them we are already doing it.
THE THINGS WE HAVE GONE THROUGH TOGETHER
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