Passy Cooking at the MindLeaps Center

“Thank you” – a word of appreciation that we use when we feel gratitude toward someone. One of MindLeaps’ top students, Pacifique, is known by his nickname “Passy”.  Passy thinks that “thank you” is not enough unless it comes with action. Here is how Pacifique chose to say thank you…


Country Director Eugene Dushime with Passy’s Mother

While other students we send to boarding school stay with friends or extended family during the vacation periods, Passy always comes to the MindLeaps Center to assist the cleaner and the cook. His brother, Jean de Dieu, is also in the MindLeaps program.  Jean de Dieu told me that Passy does the same when he visits their HIV+ mother; he helps in all ways possible to make her life easier.

Passy organizes tutoring classes for his colleagues whose literacy and numeracy is very low. He uses another part of his time to go to the new MindLeaps’ library to review his coursework and stay on track so that he can succeed in the new year.

I have always been impressed by the courage and strong commitment of Passy during vacation periods.  These times are challenging as the children struggle to find meals and stay safe until they can return to the protected life of boarding school.

I engaged in a conversation with Passy just to know the root cause of his motivation. In a very polite and calm voice, Passy responded that he always wants to say “thank you” to MindLeaps and his sponsors, and he found a way to transform that feeling into actions. He thinks that giving back to MindLeaps by volunteering to do some activities can help his colleagues: “It makes me feel like my ‘thank you message’ matters.”

Thanks to Passy, I have learned in 2016 to say thank you differently. He is even teaching me!

And thanks to MindLeaps, I have learned that dance can make lives change.

Eugene Dushime is the Country Director for MindLeaps.