I believe I can safely say on behalf of both my father and I that meeting Cesar, a six year boy we starting sponsoring just a few months ago, was one of the most powerful, rewarding, and heart filling experiences we have ever had. Upon arriving in San Rafael, I was struck not by the narrow dirt road, hundreds of acres of land, 45+ stray dogs, and one room, run down, tin roof homes. I was instead struck by the love. It seemed as if every person knew every other person and the eye contact and greetings were unlike anything that we would ever encounter in Boston. Everyone wished each other a good day, and to me, that simple gesture was extremely heartwarming. My dad and I are clearly different -labeled as "griegos" and laughed at when we mixed huge, tin pots with wooden rods of protein supplimented leche for the school children, which we later learned may be the only meal many of them recieve all day. But we were too accepted by all.
We sat in the home of Cesar with his loving mother who started the nutrion program at the school, his hard working father who is planning on planting more beans soon, and his four other siblings. A shy yet amazingly beautiful little boy who slowly warmed up to us as we presented him with some books, a quilt made out of tshirt from members of our church, and pencils complete with sharpener. My spanish is limited, but I was able to communicate with him, and his small smile and wide eyes explained it all. I am not sure if he knew what we were doing there or that we were paying for his schooling, family's healthcare, social work visits, and his two room home - to him, we were just new friends.
After we left, we turned around to look at their humble home and saw Cesar, smiling widing with a yellow tshirt, running down the dirt path after me. He stopped and hugged me tightly. Thinking of this moment fills my heart with more than love. Josefina, Cesar's mother, spent the whole visit thanking us for the gifts we were giving her, and all I wanted to do was thank her for giving us the gift of this special little boy who became real today after just being a picture on our refridgerator.
Needless to say, it has been marvelous. It is only day 2, but if we were to leave tomorrow, this trip would of been more than worth it.