Photo from SJB Photography
When I was 10 years old, I spent my free time playing street hockey in our neighborhood, or at soccer practice complaining about sweating. A ten years old, I think I had two chores to get done throughout the week. Dariella is ten years old and she lifted cement buckets with me this week on her summer vacation.
My adorable, gentle friend Dariella.
Dariella was in my VBS (Vacation Bible School) group that consisted of 8-10 year olds. The first day she came right up to me and held her hands up eye level with palms facing towards me with an expectant look on her face, slight smile. Being that I had watched the local girls all of 15 minutes, I'd seen enough to know she wanted to play a hand game with me in which I knew about... um zero of the motions.
She patiently somehow taught me the game, while giggling at me for messing up a few times. Then she'd start me back at the beginning of the game and teach me again. So sweet and gentle in her teaching, I couldn't help but smile each time I laughed with her at my expense. We didn't really understand each others language, but I understood her.
VBS finished each day at around noon and the kids were expected to go home or go play as the Americans moved on to working the construction site to continue work on the school for them.
After a few hours the first day of work, Scott (our leader from VisionTrust who basically ran the construction site) gave me a job to get everyone together to run the cement bucket line so we could lay the cement down in the courtyard area. Moving from the cement mixer to the other end of the site.
I had already noticed that a lot of the Dominican kids had jumped in on a few of the projects; helping us paint or move things. Some of these kids were 14 year old boys, some were as young as 6 years old. As the cement was being put in a bucket and passed down the line of 20 people, each swinging the heavy bucket to the next, people grunted and strained.
At the point where I saw too big of an opening in the line, I moved to the front of the line next to some American boys. While we waited for the cement mixer to finish a load of cement, I see Dariella stand in the line right next to me.
I got a look on my face, thinking of how I could to explain to her that she wasn't able to help, that the buckets would be too heavy and hurt her fragile hands. I didn't know how to say any of that in Spanish. What was I supposed to do?
So, I gave her one of my gloves. I demonstrated how we would both hold on to the bucket and swing it to the boy next to us together. Sort of like a four legged race, but with our hands. The buckets started coming so I smiled at her as we both grabbed the metal handle of the bucket and swung it. She looked up at me and gave me a thumbs up at our accomplishment.
Obviously a REALLY attractive picture of me.
But I'm looking past that to show how sweet Dariella is here as we share gloves.
My heart melted. A good five or six more buckets came by and we worked together, each using only one of our arms to move the bucket that usually took both of my arms and a good amount of strength. Each time, her gentleness would shine out of her through her sweet smile. I don't know if she was proud of herself, if she liked helping, if she wanted to quit the line. But when that load of cement was done and we had a bit of a break, she held her hands up to me, one of which had my glove on and wanted to play our hand game together.
More pictures from the trip:
Photo by SJB Photography; Obviously the kids were all up in the work site, just wanting to help and/or wanting to be around us. I'm not entirely sure we Americans would have done the same in return, sadly.
Photo by SJB Photography of the concrete bucket line. This was supposed to be an effective way to get the concrete down to the other end, but sometimes it just ended up being silly. The buckets were pretty heavy and we needed to wear gloves to the metal of the bucket didn't cut our hands.
Our construction site from a distance. We eventually got the roof up by the end of the week.