Taylor stood at the front of the classroom. The kids were all making fun of a little boy named Galvez, interrupting the English lesson Taylor was trying to give. Galvez was developmentally challenged, and Taylor had noticed that he was bearing the brunt of the other children’s jokes more often. In recent classes, he had taken to covering his ears and screaming in an effort to escape the torment. This day, though, he took it a step further. He defecated on himself, earning a quick dismissal from the head teacher, who joined the other kids in laughing at him as he ran out of the classroom.
Taylor had arrived in Honduras just a few weeks earlier. He’d had a rough senior year of high school and wanted to do something meaningful with his time, so he decided to volunteer at this orphanage in rural Honduras.
He had watched Galvez and the other developmentally challenged kids at the orphanage since he arrived, and he noticed that they were becoming more silent as the other kids became more cruel to them. He’d refrained from doing anything about it to this point though, afraid that his intervention would make him seem like a typical, judgmental American. But this was the last straw.
After the class ended, Taylor went to look for Galvez. He found him sitting on a pile of trash behind the schoolhouse, playing with a plastic bag as two girls tossed pebbles at him. Taylor chased the girls off and sat down next to Galvez.
“I care about you, Galvez. I think of you as a brother, just like I do all the other kids here. I want to be your friend, if you’ll let me.”
Galvez sat in silence and continued playing with the plastic bag.
“Can you nod if you understand me, Galvez?”
Galvez didn’t nod. Taylor sat with him for a few more minutes and then got up to leave. Galvez rose with him and looked up at him. They walked away together.
A friendship was born.