So I was working on a different post about other things, but after the last couple days I changed my mind on what I was going to write.
When you work with children a lot, you get to see the ups and downs, the ins and outs, what makes them tic, and so forth. The past couple of days God has been showing me through a few of our children what the heart of a child really looks like.
This past Saturday, Steve had asked me to accompany him into town with some of the girls. Sintia had lost some of her princess stickers in the Camby, and was very torn up about it. So, Steve had decided to take her to town to buy some replacement stickers and that she could invite one or two of the other girls to come as well. However, it turned out she had invited about 5 of the other girls, thus why he needed help. So, we drove to town, parked, and got out in search of stickers. Steve wanted the girls to be able to do their own shopping, and pick which stores they wanted to go into. The store we went to first- that I knew had stickers- was closed. The next store the girls decided to stop at, the lady said she did not have any stickers, but by that time the girls had been drawn into the two sides of walls that were covered in toys.
Steve then decided that he would give the girls each S/. 10 to spend on whatever they wanted, but it could only be ten each. So, then the girls started picking up all sorts of things and looking at the prices and comparing items- which it ended up being a pretty good math lesson and such. Some of these girls are really good shoppers, trying to find the best deal, and what they really wanted compared to something else. Each girl changed their minds at least 5 or 6 times. The store owner gave them each a bag to hold their things in while the shopped. Greisy one of the youngest of the group, 6, first picked out this big wooden Disney Princess puzzle for S/. 7.50, then she found a rubix cube for S./ 2. She eventually decided she would trade the big puzzle for a smaller Shrek puzzle that was only S/. 3, so she could also get herself a fuzzy pink headband. She showed me her choices to purchase, and I told her they were all wonderful things and would be so much fun.
Greisy, walked away and I began to help another one of our wonder shoppers. Every once in a while I would check the store to make sure we still had all of our girls, this time I noticed Greisy was over by the section of toys for boys. She was again comparing prices and had her items laid out so she could see them. I walked over just as she was making up her mind. She told me she was going to by a Ben Ten wrist toy for her little brother, Doane who is. I told her that was very sweet of her and Doane would love it, as I did I noticed the price on the Ben Ten toy was S/. 9.50, and she decided to put back the puzzle and the cube was still putting her over 10, but Steve said it would be ok, because of her choice.
So, when we walked out of the store purchases in hand Greisy was the happiest little girl she could be, and one of the best big sisters I know. And even as we went to other stores for some of the other girls to finish spending their 10, Greisy was completely satisfied in her choice, and couldn't wait to get home to give it to Doane. Doane, is indeed loving his toy, all the other boys want to play with it too. And all in one day Steve and I were witness to the heart of a child change from me, me, me and what I want, to giving and loving and remembering her brother who doesn't get to leave as often because he is so young. She chose to do this even in a time when the adults had said it was ok to be thinking of yourself and what you wanted.
Greisy made my day Saturday. The rest of the day was crazy I am sure, but it was a beautiful day because later I saw Doane with a crowd of boys around him, face beaming, with the others asking him to press it again.
Which leads me to what made my day today. Two weeks ago, I had gone to the Monday market with Abby and some of the other girls and I had bought some earrings for myself. The earrings I actually needed, one thing I forgot to bring, so I bought a pack of 9 earrings, that are a medium circle with different prints on them, some floral, others pattern- and the whole pack only cost S/. 2- ridiculous. Anyways, the girls at school are just absolutely in love with these earrings I bought. And Norma, one of the our older girls- who has been staying with Maribel (the orphanage director) at her house really wanted some. And the whole week she was begging be to go the next Monday to get her some. I finally decided that that would be fine and I told her I would meet her at Maribel's after lunch. But then we ended up having parent/teacher conferences so I had to cancel on her and tell her that I would take her this week.
So, at 3:30 today I went to get the older kids from school (every once in a while the older kids have an afternoon class) to take Norma to the market. While we were walking to the house Karol and Azucena asked me if the could go to the store across the street. I told them no, one because I really didn't know if that was ok, and we are about to have 4 days off from school, because it has been mandated that all the schools have to be fumigated- there goes the school week. Anyways, they kept begging me please to go to the store, and I tried to explain that we would probably get to go to town over the next few days, then Azucena finally said, "but today is Merly's birthday!" Merly, is Azucena's daughter who is four today. So, I then decided that it would be horrible of me not to let a mother buy something for her daughter on her birthday, and I asked her if she had any money. Azucena replied no. Then Karol stated," but I do."
For Karol to be willing to buy her friend something for her daughter's birthday is a big deal. Our kids don't often have money of their own. For Karol to have money means that during family visits yesterday, her dad brought her some money. Her dad sells popcorn on the street and is only able to give her S/.5 to 10. So, she didn't have much but was willing to give her money to her friend. I couldn't let Karol spend her money so I asked Azucena, "if you had money, what would you buy your daughter?" "But Ms Sam I don't have money!" "I know but if you did have money what would you buy her?" "Shoes, she needs new shoes, her feet hurt in her shoes cause they are too small." I decided then and there I was going to get Merly some shoes for her birthday at the market, not from me but from her mother. I asked her wast kind of shoes she would get her, pink velcro tennis shoes. We went to the house to figure out what size she would need.
Norma and I went to the market and we searched for shoes for Merly. Some of the vendors prices were too much, others didn't have velcro, but we finally settled on two pairs. A pair of pink, purple, and white tennis shoes, that had butterflies on them and lit up in the back, along with a pair of cute tan and pink ballerina flats with a single strap that buckled. At the market shoes are really cheap, but now Merly has new tennis shoes and shoes for church.
I brought the shoes home and as soon as I walked into Azucena's room they all screamed so excited, we rushed to my house to makeshift wrap them in colored paper I had and made some cards for Merly. Karol and Irma were so excited to help Azucena wrap the shoes and help make Merly's birthday a special one from her mother. When the girls got back from church tonight we rushed to the girls house to sing to Merly and have her open presents before she had to go to bed. I think Merly was a little overwhelmed- everyone crowded around her in anticipation. She opened her shoes and tried them on, and Azucena had her model them for me. They were both excited I think that Azucena was a little more excited to be able to have something to give to her daughter than Merly was to have new shoes. But after she went and hid them and the boxes under her bed and watched her shoes light up every step of the way.
The house was happy when I left it, and I know the shoes will get some great use out of them. But whether is be a 6 yr. old girl who decided to buy her 4 yr. old brother a toy instead of herself, or a 14 yr. old friend willing to buy a 16 yr. old a gift for her daughter's birthday with the few coins her father gave her, deep in every child's heart there is so much love and selflessness that encourages everyone around them to mimic those characteristics and step back into that child like faith.