She looked out her door waiting for us to walk by. She had a smile on her face. I wasn’t sure what she wanted, but I had this feeling this woman had a plan. As we walked on the sidewalk approaching this woman’s house, she stood there outside her door waiting for us. As soon as we were next to her home, she gleefully handed me a cup. It was filled with a warm drink made of corn and cinnamon. Our country staff person looked at me and said, “she wants to offer you and the group this drink. Please take it, so you are not rude, but don’t drink it for it might make you sick.” It’s always awkward to take food that you know you can’t safely consume, but I smiled and thanked this woman with my most enthusiastic voice.
I was rather surprised thinking this random woman would offer us something. After all, we had just finished visiting the home of Lisa-Jo’s sponsored child and were making our way through the neighborhood back to the bus. Who was this random woman who sweetly gave me this cup?
I looked inside this woman’s small home and I watched her run back inside to her small kitchen area to prepare something. She skipped through her home as if she had a happy tune playing in her head. I was felling horrible that she would use her resources to prepare something for us. We were strangers! It seemed wrong, especially as I looked around at this impoverished neighborhood and knowing I could not drink what she had prepared (unless I wanted to spend the rest of the week in my hotel bathroom).
After a couple of minutes in her kitchen, the woman skipped back to us with an entire pot of this creamed corn drink. She gave us plastic cups and her entire pot and sent us on our way.
Today we went to a project where 195 children sang to us at the top of their lungs. The church project we visited today began 16 months ago and has dramatically changed the lives of the children who are attending. One of the major problems in this area is malnutrition. At the project, the children get fed. Today, I saw happy children dressed up,
wearing bright colors and beautiful smiles.
As we drove to the neighborhood of Lisa-Jo’s child, I recognized it. I recognized the smell; I recognized the dirt, the garbage, the metal roofs, the flooded streets, and the mangy dogs.I recognized poverty. This is where the children live. This is where poverty takes hope away.
So who was this woman?
She was the mom of one of the children from the project. A mother who simply was grateful for what Compassion had done for her child, and through this cup, she said thank you.