The weather is cold, and it is hard to get out of the bed. It’s 7:30 in the morning on a typical day, and despite his wanting to stay under the blankets, Renan has an appointment he wouldn’t miss for anything.
Lilian, his young mother, enters the colorful room. “Wake up!” she says.
The children’s bedroom used to be the family’s kitchen before the improvement they made after receiving a Christmas gift from her son’s sponsor: a new floor and new paint on the bedroom’s walls. The children decorated the room.
Renan stands up and starts making his bed. The boy goes to the bathroom and brushes his teeth — just like he was taught at the child development center where he is enrolled — and combs his hair.
He carefully puts on his student center uniform before leaving home with his older brother Jean, who also attends the center. The church gives each of the children a T-shirt to wear.
He has only three minutes to be at the student center in order to eat the first meal of the day with his brother and friends. And three minutes is all he needs to get there; the family’s house is right next door.
The big yellow gate opens and all the children start to enter. On the table are delicious salted cookies, and milk with chocolate.
After the children eat, they go to the bathroom and brush their teeth using the hygienic kit they received from the center; it is kept there so the kids won’t lose it.
It’s almost 9 and the classroom is silent … just the voice of one of the kids can be heard praying to the Lord.
When it is 9 o’clock, it’s time to learn about Jesus and His disciples. It is also time to begin reading the Bible and writing to the sponsors.
Before leaving the classroom, the children pray again, thanking God for the privilege of being at the student center and asking Him to be with their sponsors.
It is 10 o’clock and Renan can barely breathe. It’s soccer time! Renan loves playing soccer, and he also enjoys playing board games with his brother and the other children. Running from one side to another in the yard, he plays and learns at the same time about teamwork, strategies and respecting different opinions and points of view.
The student center works with the children on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; one group in the morning and another one in the afternoons with the same activities such as educational support, Christian education, games and a library where with books and toys. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, staff workers meet with the parents and plan activities.
The smell of food starts filling the rooms and the yard: rice, beans, sausage, bananas and lettuce salad — a typical Brazilian meal.
It’s 11 o’clock and Renan goes to the sink and washes his hands before enjoying his second meal. Thanks to the support Renan and his brother get at the child center, Lilian spends less on food.
She is employed now, but her husband is only employed once in a while doing odd jobs. Lilian works as a cleaning lady at the student center.
After lunch each day, one child is chosen to help Lilian put everything back in the right place, practicing the Christian principle of stewardship.
It is noon and Renana will soon be at home to grab the notebook his mother bought, also with the Christmas gift his brother’s sponsor gave them, and head to school. Lilian watches her little boy until he disappears along the dusty street.
The school is not far from home, and Renan walks alone for about 10 minutes and arrives at at 1 o’clock. He is now in fourth grade.
At 4 he goes back home, takes a shower, and has dinner with his family. He is given basically the same food he had at the student center. Then he will do his homework, play with his brother, paint or draw, and then brush his teeth before going to bed.