Over these past two weeks I have had several awesome reminders of why it is I packed up my Honda Civic and drove 4 days to live in Monterrey, Mexico. But, I thought I'd share two of these moments with you.
Last Tuesday I spent the day helping my roommate Caroline give one of the caregivers at Casa Hogar Douglas a day off by taking care of her dorm of 10 little boys for her. In the afternoon after school and lunch they have homework time and I got the opportunity to do homework with Jose. He is in second grade and school for him is quite a struggle, especially reading. Slowly but surely we worked together to read the assigned page in his textbook and compose a sentence about his favorite part. When we finished he closed his book and yelled across the room with a huge smile, "Caroline!! I read a little bit! And Sammy said I am smart!!!".
For me it was a reminder of why I am here. To look these sweet children in the face and tell them that they are smart, that they are important and that they matter. To sit beside them and struggle through their homework with them and maybe teach them something along the way.
Reminder number two for me came in the form a conversation with Miguel. I was sitting in the outdoor picnic area at Douglas and had just finished doing homework with Tonito. I was packing up to leave when Miguel joined by table and wanted to chat. We started talking about why I was here and what I'd been doing and we got on to the topic of what I had studied in school. Which I though to be the perfect moment to talk about Miguel's hopes and dreams for his future. So I asked him "Miguel what do you want to do after middle school?" (high school here is not mandatory and costs money to attend) His immediate response was, "Well of course I want to go to high school, and then college and then I want to have a career." "A career in what?" I asked him. At this he didn't have a response... instead he sat and thought and we talked about other things for awhile. Then finally he said "I want to be a psychologist, I want to help people talk about their lives and their feelings and to feel better." I thought this was a brilliant response from a fifth grader and I told him I how much I love psychology and how interesting I think it is. And the topic changed course again and we talked about other things and to some of the other kids that were sitting at the picnic tables. And as I stood up to leave Miguel hugged me goodbye and said. "Do you think I can be a soccer player psychologist?" To which I responded, "Of course."
I love that I get to be a part of a ministry that instills in kids the knowledge that they can be anything they want to be... that God has a plan for them that can include high school and college or even a professional sports career. I love that I get to be someone who is lucky enough to have these conversations... it makes living here feel not so scary... and totally worth it.