holding out for more

There's at least a little bit of Andrés in most of the people who will take the time to read his story, and so it will really mean a lot to most. Still, I sure wish I had more of this guy's courage.

Mr. Zambrano, who left Ecuador when he was 14, is now a 19-year-old junior at Bard College, a liberal arts school 90 miles north of New York City. There, he revels in the works of new writers, and writes poems of his own. With a probing mind, he questions everything from politics to religion.

And he fears nothing. Because at Bard, he need not worry about being called names, or getting beaten up for reading under a tree. Nor does he worry that others might chastise him for writing poetry in his room.

Since he left Ecuador, he says, he has had to live with such fears in the places you might expect to be the safest havens from them: at home and in his community.

His stepfather, whom Mr. Zambrano described as macho, often belittled him for his intellect. He was told time and time again, he said, that a real man works.

If you have access to today's NYTimes, look for the wonderful picture which accompanies this article in The Times Neediest Cases series.

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Published on November 18, 2002 11:07 AM.

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