When I first started the rabbit project in Canaries every neighbor kids was climbing the fence to see the rabbits or open the hutch for a quick peak. This was making the rabbits very nervous so eventually I had to lock the hutches for the bunnies protection.
Well, Handy would climb over every morning for the first month to watch me feed and water the rabbits long after every one else had lost interest always asking if he could help. He started assisting me on his own by sweeping the rabbits droppings from under the hutches and he would gather banana leaves and other tasty treats for bunnies. I could tell he really bonded with them. I started to give him the key to feed the rabbits and help with them. Seeing his dedication I decided to bring him on as an assistant.
(Here is a picture of Handy. This was his birthday picture last week when he turned 9 years old. He is wearing his new birthday cloths in this picture. All of his other cloths are hand me downs from his other 7 nieces and nephews with shirts that are so small it looks like he is wearing a muscle shirt.)
I pay him around 5EC a week for his assistance to help him out. This provides him money for lunch at the local school where he can buy a Popsicle and biscuit. His grandmother is taking care of him on her own. With all her children living in her house unemployed with their children it is very difficult. Since Handy's mother or father abandoned him and do not provide support he tends to get the short end of the stick when it comes to food, attention, and love.
Most of the mothers money is made from burning wood into charcoal and selling it in the village.
The young man has to really fend for himself. I have to commend him though. He sells a small cooler of Popsicles for .25 EC cents (.09 cents US) every day on the main street to help pay for the food his grandmother provides him. He also takes care of the rabbits with great care and attention every morning. With those strong straits at such an early age he will go far.
When I was training him on how to raise rabbits I gave have him some handouts explaining how to feed rabbits, take care of them and so forth. The little guy flipped each page looking it over carefully. When he was finished I asked him what he thought, he could not tell me, and to my horror I realized he could not read.
I worked with him for a few hours teaching him to sound out letters but it is going to take heavy tutoring to bring him up to speed and with me having no teaching experience. I do not know if I can really help but of course I will have to try. In fact the entire family (my neighbors less then 3ft away) cannot read. How could Handy have a chance to learn to read and break free when he is the last in line when it comes to resources, when the rest of the family is illiterate and finally when he has no support except for what little his grandmother can provide.
Despite all this I have high hopes for him, my childhood was no honeymoon either and looking at his hardworking attitude and his maturity demonstrated clearly by him taking two part time jobs selling Popsicles and caring for the rabbits when everyone else is playing I know he has the inner qualities and strength to make it.
I would like to ask two things of someone out there who feels their heart go out this young man after hearing his story. 1. Send me a really good workbook to teach him how to read. 2. Help me repair a hutch so he can raise rabbits with me.
The neighbors have an old rabbit hutch up in the rain forest they are going to let us have. However, it is in extremely bad shape with only the frame being usable so it will need some heavy, heavy repairs. Send a check for $50 for Handy and we will fix it together so he raise his own rabbits in my backyard with it. With them reaching maturity at 9 weeks providing $9-12EC per pound this would be a real way to help him and his grandmother out long term.
Anyone who would like to help Handy please let me know,
Take care everyone, love you all,