Today was an amazing experience and truly eye opening. It was Mercy Day. Because I have not been able to blog up until this point I feel the need to give a little background information leading up to this eventful day. The staff here is AWESOME, sorry need for caps on that (teenager impulse). The staff at the orphanage and not lodging with us is as follows (apologies for misspelled names to come): Eddie, Germon, Leo, Ulga, MariCruis, Sandra, and Starfish.
I cannot seem to get the pictures in order as I wrote this. The first picture is of the kitchen ladies, the second has all three of the guys (depicting Leo), and then a picture of Germon playing the guitar and the last one is of Eddie.
As I am sure you have heard from others already Eddie is one of the staff members who helps with the manual labor. He plays the drums at the church we went to on Sunday. His English is impressive and he is overall a great guy to be around.
Germon is also one of the staff members who helps with the manual labor. He plays guitar at the church we went to on Sunday. His English is good and he also is overall amazing to be around.
Leo is the clown of the bunch down here. His English is poor but he is able to be understood just fine. His personality shines through no matter what. All three of the guys are extremely funny but Leo's humor sticks out to me I guess. I don't have a good picture of him but in this one is the one holding a coffee mug.
The kitchen ladies down here make great food. Breakfast is American and so is dinner, lunch is Mexican (yum, spicy!). This is a picture of all of them together after a meal.
Now that you have survived more of the information others have surely given, time for Mercy Day information (crowd applauds in background). Before we bought food for the giving at the plaza, we stopped by a local market. Sad news, we were the only ones there as far as I could see. There were children who quickly gathered around our group when we arrived selling necklaces and bracelets and all sorts of things. Once we were able to escape from the children (after buying goods of course) we walked through the market. It was dead. The people were desperate for us to buy from them, we were the only ones supporting their families. It sadden me because markets should be full of people and lively and joyful, laughing and having a great time.
It was hard to say no to them. Even after repeating "no thank you" they insisted that we have a look at their merchandise. These people, trying to earn a honest living, were being put out of business because of the violence showed on the news. These people's families were going hungry because of the violence on the news. Children are suffering because of the decrease in tourism, because of the violence on the news.
After enjoying ourselves in the market and helping the families that we could, we most of us ate lunch at one of the local restaurants. I had a fabulous cheese enchilada and chips with guacamole.
Our group left the market and went to a local grocery store to buy the food to give out to the people. There we bought food if we hadn't already eaten (and if we had). My dad (Stan) and I had some wonderful frozen custard, I had cookies and cream and he had strawberry. We also had some wonderful bakery goods, a churro and a custard filled pastry.
Once the loading of the food was finished we headed to the plaza. We began setting up the food stands, one side had things for children to keep with toys and such, the other side had food for families. Each person was given a post and had to hand out the assigned object. I was assigned to crayons in the children's line.
As the children walked through the line with their smiles I handed them their crayons and talked (with limited Spanish) to them. There was one little girl who sticks in my memory, Martia. As she came to my spot in the line she got this huge smile on her face, eyes wide open, and softly whispered "crayons" with such joy on her face it hurt my heart. When I was a child I did not think so much of crayons and here Martia was and I had just made her year. There was a little boy, not sure what his name is, who had tears in his eyes as he came to me and as I gave him his little box of crayons his smile widen (I didn't think it was possible) and he held those tight and I am sure no one would have been able to snatch them away.
Almost every child that came to me didn't want to put the crayons in their bag, they wanted to hold on to them as if they were afraid they would lose them. They would grip them tight and hold it close to them. By giving them a simple box of crayons I had just made their day, or week, or year. Growing up always having crayons available when I wanted made this experience even more touching.
We had bought enough food for about 350 people, many more had come and each gone away with food, everyone was touched. God answered my prayer, and I am sure many others, I asked Him to multiply the food and toys so every child, woman, and man would be blessed with our supplies.
Throughout the day not only were the people blessed, but I was blessed. I got hugs from children I had never met before I got smiles as wide as the sky, and tears of joy from little ones. Today has been amazing, no, it has been more than amazing, it has been indescribable. It has been God's day.
God Bless You All,