Yesterday was a fun day at the project. Many of the 57 children were missing since it is still only two days past Carnaval Week and lots of the children’s moms remain out on drunken binges or are recovering from same. We all worked on school homework for the first hour, then I taught a flannelgraph Bible lesson with object lessons on seeds and plants, music and other supplementary activities. We broke out my new Crayolas from the States for them too.
Later, a cute sturdy little dark girl from the intermediate group, above the littlest ones where I’d been yesterday, poked her head in the doorway, black eyes just DANCING with excitement.
“Tía N., your…..uh…ohhh……ummm (she seemed to be searching for a word).
She pounced on the word with relief. “Yes! Your HUSBAND. He’s HERE. He’s out at the street, in an AUTO!”
As I asked her if she had another minute free, to return to the street and ask my HUSBAND if he wanted to come in, and she accepted and ran off with alacrity to do so, another tiny girl, R., from next to me in the youngest children’s group, grabbed my hand and looked up with wide eyes, full of wonder, into my face.
“Tía N., you have a HUSBAND (UN ESPOSO)?? I thought you didn’t!”
P. then appeared in the doorway to the room, already with about 12 little kids hanging on to him. The kids chorused a respectful greeting to him, then S. and most of the children escorted him all around the place to show him EVERYTHING, while I finished gathering things up and straightening the room in order to leave.
Out at the car (I was amazed to see P. had dared to leave the car, even for a few minutes, in THAT street) the children piled around the car. P. opened the hatchback in order to put in the carry-bag and the bulky flannelgraph board. Immediately 8 kids melted into the wayback of the vehicle together with the flannelgraph board! But when P. gently asked them to please get out, they all did!
R. said to me, big eyes shining, “It’s a LUXURY AUTO!!”
Inwardly, I was just dying because our vehicle is a 27-year-old Mitsubishi short-wheelbase “jeep” model!
When I gravely told R. and the other children that the “auto” was 27 years old, E., a gentle boy 10 or 11 years old, marveled, “But, it looks like NEW.”
It’s amazing and humbling to me to see these children’s perspectives on things – to glimpse the world through their eyes. Our vehicle has scratches and dents and faded paint, but yesterday it was not in its normal state of being heavily coated with dust inside and out, since we had just sprung for a good washing, over last weekend.
When we said goodbye to the children and carefully started the engine to drive away, I turned around peering out the back window to make SURE no more children were still clinging to the back and sides of the vehicle to “catch a ride”, so I saw that one young obviously drunken and hung-over mom had strolled out behind the car from the ale-house across the narrow road, and was glaring suspiciously at all that was going on. She was puffy-faced and bleary-eyed. A waif of a slim braid-headed girl child from our project, ran over and put her arm out to her – “Hi Mom!”.