It’s been a Christmas kind of week! We arrived here on Monday night and got right to work celebrating children and Christmas at Manos de Amor.
First let me say that our 6 bulging suitcases full of miscellaneous ridiculous and yet vital crap made it through all of the screenings and security and red/green lights. While sitting in Calgary on a layover, we heard that the Regina airport was shut down because of a ‘suspicious object’ that had been found in a bag. I can’t lie – my mind raced through the rather long list of suspicious objects, powders and liquids in our bags and I wondered if we were the cause of the shutdown. I mean, who travels with a BBQ, potato peeler, box of Borax, guacamole spices, bathroom scale, hummingbird feeder, sugar bowl, a giant tub of protein shake and 84 cold sore pills. Oh, and a Christmas moose.
We waited patiently as our bags were almost the last to come around the turnstile and after assuring the security guy that I only had some clothes and a couple of things for our home, we were in a taxi headed HOME.
On Tuesday, we headed over to the orphanage to reunite with ‘our’ children. I had been worrying for quite some time that we had been gone too long, that our relationships might have been damaged or their trust broken. But I forgot that children are not like grown-ups. They just love really easy and hug really hard and we were welcomed and kissed and dragged to the swings to get the party started.
On Wednesday, we helped accompany the children to a party hosted by Walmart. After a fight about who would get to drive in the convertible, we were off for the first of many sugar fests held over this season. The Walmart employees had each bought a gift for a child and the sorriest looking Santa I have ever see handed them out. I realized that children are pretty much the same everywhere. Brayan put up his hand to inquire if he could get a sandwich without onions cause he hates onions. Zimbry held his hand to his head when he looked in his bag and didn’t see the truck he wanted. Many tiny hands grabbed Grant or myself to run to the bathroom. When they discovered the hand dryers which they had not seen before, they washed over and over, giggling like crazy. It was just a fun day of mayhem, fueled by sugar and juice boxes.
The next day, a family from Canada came to the home with gifts for everyone (yay more sugar!) and face paints and balloons. I love how the children at Manos de Amor are so open to entertaining strangers. And I loved how every few minutes they would run back to Grant or me to show us something or give a hug – assuring themselves there was a familiar safe place nearby. I love how Carlos and Brayan asked for their faces to be painted with mustaches “similar a Grant”.
During this festive season, many people are eager to share with those less fortunate. There are many tourists who will come over the next 2 weeks to bring gifts and donations and we welcome them all. Not because they will bring toys and candy and other gifts that every child wants. But because they will step outside of their own comfortable lives to be part of the very difficult story of a lost child. Even if just for a couple of hours, their own hearts will be broken and transformed just a tiny bit. That is the only way we can really change the world – by allowing ourselves to be broken enough that we are willing to give it forward. So thank you Walmart. Thank you generous tourists. Thank you.