- From the first time we went down to La Chimbomba there has been a boy that I connected with named Nelson (18, the same age as Darwin). Nelson is a mess and he was especially difficult at first. He would often try to intimidate Darwin into giving him things. But there was something about him that just seemed sad to me and really struck a cord in my heart. Nelson no longer trys to intimidate Darwin and often spends some special time talking to me after we've finished feeding. Early last week Nelson was stabbed three times in the back. Doctors without Borders took care of his injuries and they were bandaged so I never saw them but knew he was pretty weak. I saw him once after that happened then he's not been around. I had asked some of the kids about him and no one knew where he was. Tonight Nelson was there with a neck brace on. He showed up right as we were getting ready to leave and I just turned around and he was standing really quietly, close beside me. I asked him what had happened. He had tried to commit suicide by hanging himself. When I asked him why he said "I was disappointed and desperate". Then he just kind of leaned into me and put his arm around me and cried for awhile. This is a kid who rarely touches anyone. We stood there for a while like that then I told him how much he was loved by me and by God and that we didn't want to lose him. We talked awhile about how relationships pass (his girlfriend had broken up with him) but how there are other girls and he can always talk to God. He is in counseling at Doctors without Borders and promised to come by on Saturday but he is definitely heavy on my heart tonight. There is so little hope in their lives, many of them bear the physical and emotional scars of failed suicide attempts. It is nights like tonight that I am reminded of how truly hopeless we all are without God.
- On Tuesday we pulled up to La Chimbomba and Paola walked up and gave me a hug. This is becoming typical of everyone there. We share a lot of hugs now. Anyway, Paola is usually putting on a tough face and acting mad at everyone, occasionally she's laughing and joking. I have never before seen her sad. But on Tuesday when I asked her how she was she said "I wish I could say good." I asked her why she wasn't good and her eyes filled up with tears. She and I walked over to a place away from everyone and she cried for a while while I hugged her. I asked her what was wrong and she said "some days are just hard, I can't always be strong." At that moment I identified with her in a very real way. I have no idea how hard the things she's dealing with are or even really what she was dealing with that day but I know exactly how she feels. We all do. Sometimes we just have a bad day, regardless of the scale of days we're on, and we need someone to give us a hug and tell us it's all going to be okay. I thank God I have so many people willing to fill that need in my life and I feel so honored that he has allowed me to fill that need in the lives of some very special people.
- I have talked about Maniqueso before. He is usually very helpful and easy to love. When we had Leticia's birthday party one of the shirts I got her was way too big and I told her mom I would exchange it. Well in the midst of the party craziness Maniqueso picked up the shirt and was walking around with it. I asked him to give it to me and he said he would take it to the car where Darwin was. Well long story short he ended up walking off with it and we didn't notice until we got home that it was gone. So the next time we went I told Maniqueso that he didn't get food that night because he had stolen the shirt and he needed to pay me back. He didn't deny it he just went over and sulked for awhile and we went on with the night. Well after that he refused to take our food so on Saturday I decided it was time to sit down and talk with him. I wanted to make sure he knew that we still loved him and wanted him around. So I told him as much and offered him a plate of food. He refused the food and said "no, I stole from you, I'm not going to eat your food for the rest of the year. I'm sorry." Then he looked at me and smiled and said, "I would take a glass of water though." It was so good to see him smile again. He has imposed a punishment on himself and we are chosing to honor that. I definitely respect that in him. As soon as he realized I wasn't mad at him though he became his sweet joking self again and started teasing me about Christmas presents. Their idea of love is so tenuous that I think they find it hard to believe we don't reject them at the slightest offense. They are so relieved to learn about and receive forgiveness.
- A couple of nights ago, maybe Monday, several of the guys at the park had minor injuries that needed attention so I got out my first aide kit and started fixing everyone up. In the mean time they had started giving us nicknames based on our jobs that evening. Alli was Aguatera (watergirl), Darwin was Sopero (Soup Boy) and Tess was Tortillera (Tortilla girl). Then Darwin asked them what my nickname was and one of them said Doctora (doctor) then another said no Curadora (Healer). Since then they've gone back and forth between calling me mom and healer. I pray that I can be a little of both to them.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Stories from Breaking Chains
I'm not positive what this is going to be but I have several stories in mind so we'll see where this goes. If it gets too long I'll break it up.