Monday, February 9, 2009

He's Got My Vote.

I heard some information the other day, and I'm not entirely sure if it's true of not, but I'm starting to think it is more and more. I think one of my students had polio.

I first heard from one of the other teachers. We were discussing some of the students that have had the easiest time adjusting to me. I mentioned one boy, Jundie, who probably has the best smile of anyone I've ever met. He's always so sweet, and tries his hardest at all the exercises we do, including the reading remediation program I've started. Anyways, she told me how Jundie's family is from the mountains, and a couple years ago he had polio.

First off, do people still get polio? I am kind of doubting it. I mean I know there are some places in the world where it is still a threat, but here? Second, I misunderstand a lot of things, and I was kind of wondering if I had somehow gotten the story wrong. So I decided to do some investigating. I went straight to the source.

I asked Jundie when he came to the library one day if he had ever heard of polio before. He did his amazing smile, patted his legs, and shook his head yes. Ok, well, that's a pretty definite yes I guess. Jundie's legs are partially paralyzed, making him unable to bend them. So, I'm thinking he probably really had polio.

Jundie told me that when he was 14 he had it, and that's when his legs wouldn't work properly. He was living up in the mountains at the time. When asked if he remembered a lot of it, he told me it was very painful. He's now 19 and in first year. He's one of the oldest in first year, so I'm sure the whole thing took him a while to recover from. He's such an amazing kid. He doesn't let things stop him, and he inspires me to keep going.

I felt kind of inadequate when I was talking to Jundie. I mean, what do I really know about Polio aside from the fact that Franklin Roosevelt had it? So, I decided the best thing I could do was to tell Jundie FDR's story. I got an old encyclopedia and showed him FDR's picture and read him the portion about polio and then pointed out how even though he had things to overcome, he still become one of the greatest presidents in America's history. I told Jundie I thought he could definitely become President of the Philippines. He smiled his amazing Jundie smile.

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