Today was spent delivering water into City Soleil at four different water stops. Its initial impact is overwhelming for all senses. The blended smells of dirty water, garbage, feces and sweat fill the air. The buckets line up almost as fast as the kids and you can't climb down from the tap-tap quick enough. My teammates were very efficient. Some grabbed the hose, others swopped buckets out and the rest just gave some lovin' to all the ones that wanted it.
These children who materialistically have so little. In fact in many cases their basic needs aren't being met but they somehow find it necessary to remove the piece of hair that is stuck to your cheek. One sweet girl dusted of your bottom after standing up off the ground with her. Their smiles could light up a room and the warmth you feel from a hug is indescribable.
Specifically today for me it was a little girl named Joelle. I spotted her before we even got out of the tap-tap. She was standing on the side of the curb jumping up and down with her hands in the air. She was dressed in a little red Christmas dress, fuzzy with a white collar. I was determined to get to her before anyone else. We locked eyes, I squatted down and put my arms open for her to run into. What a gift it was for me to spend time with the most adorable child. I couldn't even put her down while attempting to carry water with the other hand. We goofed around and smiled together until the water ran out. If it were possible I would have already packed her in my suitcase to bring her home with me.
While we were waiting for the water truck to be filled there was plenty of time for the neighborhood kids to congregate. Some of the crew was snacking and it was impossible not to notice the hungry eyes staring into the truck. Guilt quickly rose in my stomach. Another little guy brought up his baby brother, he started crying after a bit and wouldn't stop. Deb tried rocking him but his sweet brother finally took him back and rubbed his tummy. Could you imagine not having the means to fill your child or siblings needs- Heartbreaking. In that same waiting time we noticed there was a goat that had lost its kid and kept 'bah-ing' as it was trying to wake it up. For an animal lover this too was horrible to witness.
With all the ups and downs of the day I can truly say I'm blessed to be back with this inspiring culture and inspiring group of women. It was hard for me to take a risk and come with a bunch of strangers but I can honestly say when a group has made up their mind to be completely selfless and vulnerable it makes for a life-changing week.