Thursday, June 9, 2011

This is what it is all about

Sometimes my heart gets very heavy.  Sometimes it seems we lose sight of where we need to be going.  There are issues and problems, grief and sorrow: things both within and beyond our control.  But then something happens to bring it all back into focus.  Thank you God!
Yesterday, we went back out to visit La Llanes –if you remember, La Llanes is that little community comprised of 20 families who are actually all one big extended family!

And if you remember – a week or so ago, all of us went through our ‘closets’ and came up with BAGS of clothing.  I later learned that it wasn’t just Blanca, Idalia, Cecilia and I that went through our closets – but all of their families did as well. And since we didn’t have much clothing for children – I went out and bought some.   We ended up with a good amount! 

So yesterday we went out to deliver.  We asked the Leadership Committee to meet us at the community ‘center’ at 3 and the community to be there about 4.  The idea was that all the clothing would be spread out and the Committee, using the census we had, would divvy up the goods.  This is because they know the relative sizes of people.  They started with one article of clothing for each person.  They bagged up by family (using tape to put the names on the bags).  After everyone got one item they went through the list again.  And again, and again.  I’m not sure how many rounds they were able to make, but it looked like everyone got several new (slightly used) pieces of clothing. 
Blanca explaining the process

She found a knit hat and loved it!

This did not come out of MY closet. 
And I don't think this ended up in his bag!

When the families showed up a little later we had more of surprise.  Alisha’s church sends her a little money now and again to be used at her discretion.  She decided she wanted to get a little toy for each child.  Prior to going out to La Llanes, we stopped at a little store that has such goods.  We went by the census and chose items depending upon age and gender.  The average price of the toys was about $2 each.  We got dolls, cars/trucks, little badminton sets, jump-ropes, etc.  Things that would hopefully last more than a week.

As the families received their bags of clothing, Alisha handed out toys.  We had a couple extra children who were not on the list – but luckily, Alisha’s parents had brought down a bag of stuffed animals so we were prepared!   And it all worked out well!  There were lots of smiles.  Alisha and I were not sure the children would know how to use the badminton set, so we gave a little demonstration.  I’m happy to announce that I did quite well!  I love that game. 
The vehicles were quite popular!

Look mom!!

Kinda like Christmas

We finished up and prepared to leave.  Of course, there were people who wanted to say a few words; expressing thankfulness and reminding us that we would always be welcomed there – with or without gifts!  They would be waiting with open arms. 
What we did yesterday was truly a ‘band-aid’ in that it will not solve anything nor make the realities of their poverty change.  But beyond the physical gifts – I saw and deeply felt a much larger gift.

We have only been there a few times – but since the very first visit, I felt a warmth and friendliness.  And it almost feels like family.  Maybe because they are one large extended family – and overall, a close family – and that carries over to how they treat others.  We are welcomed.  We are offered coffee (good, strong, residue at the bottom of the plastic cup coffee!!) and we are offered a place to sit and rest a bit. We are invited in.  And not just their homes.  But I think we are also in their hearts.  I know they are in mine.

I was humbly reminded why we are here.  Why we chose to do what we are doing. 

The parked truck is always a piece of playground equipment

Very cute and very fat babe!

THIS is how coffee should always be prepared!

Home made Capiruchi

Sod walls

Some final words

Doves at my feet

Gramma and my fat little baby

Every family received a "Trinity" bear!

Good and strong coffee!

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