Луба (Luba) is one of the most infamous girls at the Internat. Based on what I had already heard from alum Valerie and Sarah while still in Waterloo, I knew she'd be giving us a run for our money. In the past she had a reputation for being quite violent with the other girls, as well as the volunteers - Sarah had been bitten by Luba more than once.

Luba is 17 years old, and we never know what to expect from her - some days she is nearly manic, wildly trying to catch our attention. This may involve a dramatic scene on the balcony, in full view while we take a minute to eat our lunches in the courtyard, or fighting with someone for using her markers. Yet other days I have been pleasantly surprised after spending an hour or so quietly drawing together (no language barrier there!). Yesterday we sat together when Gayla visited, singing along to an old praise and worship video made for kids, totally relaxed. To say the least, my 'Luba experiences' are lessons in patience.

As I am getting to know Luba, I guess I'm expecting the unexpected. Frankly, some days she drives us nuts and we are unsure how much attention we should be giving her. Other days we may not see her, and still others she will greet us with hugs, beaming and excited. She is a talented artist, she could dance for hours, and has brute strength like no other (push ups happen to be another interest of Luba's). She is expressive, and moody, and rough. She can amaze us with her energy but also worry us with her temper. Luba, like the rest of us, is a complex work in progress.

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