Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spinning around in Shanty town.

You never know what you’re gonna find
when you take a trip to the other side
but you can be sure that you’ll be surprised
by what you see and how you change your mind.

And if you open your heart to the people you meet,
you won’t expect what or how much they’ll teach
you, so get ready to treasure all your moments
as they come to you.

I got to spend Wednesday playing with the kids of women in Nacario who have formed a group with Lupe, Robin and Wilber. We sat on the dirt floors in Erica’s house, playing with clothespins and jacks. We ran around for hours. They taught me their games, like gallinita (marco polo on land, with a blindfold). And we played chase. And we laughed. The two oldest girls, Estrella and Joci, captured my heart. I spun them around in circles and they taught me their dances and we danced them and laughed together— so much so that between laughing and running I was constantly out of breath. Estrella was a little girl but she watched out for all the littler ones. When something went wrong, the maturity of a girl much older shone in her eyes. At the end of the day, as we were leaving, I said, “Do you know that you are a special chica?” She asked me why. I told her that God loves her, and that since God is the King, and she is His daughter, she is a princess. Her shy and hopeful smile when I said that melted my heart and made me so thankful for the opportunity to be there and share that small but profound truth with her.

Friday night, we had a “fogota,” a bonfire, in Nacario with the women and all the kids from the churches and from Wednesday afternoon. We sat under stars in the dirt around a fire made with the same kind of straw as their homes. After we sang and played, and prayed, we ate as a community. And it was one of the sweetest nights of my life. Though those moments will never again enter my life but through the path of memory, I hope I will again cross paths with those hearts.