Last night our host family cooked us a Korean style barbecue. It was similar to fondue in that you have all these items from vegetables to fish and meat all cooked on a grill in front of you then dipped in an amazing soy based sauce. To top the night off we finished with fresh mango……my absolute favorite fruit. It was the best meal yet! As I woke up this morning I was still feeling full as I went to my placement.
I started off after the weekend fresh and full, although the children were happy as usual, something was different. I noticed that the kids were adamant about having some water before the shower. I gave out a little water but mindful they weren’t playing around so they didn’t have to shower, as most kids would do. I quickly realized this was not the case. As we started the shower process, I noticed that the kids were opening their mouths to have water to drink from the faucet. They were so thirsty. It then dawns on me, the last shower they got was the one I gave them on Friday afternoon. And the last good water they had was probably on Friday afternoon as well. Today was full of these reminders that the life these children live on the weekends is dramatically different from how they spend their time during the week at day care. Today they ate more, they drank more, they slept more….all signs of things they didn’t get while at home this weekend.
I asked what the rest of the family does during the day while the children are at day care? I didn’t know what answer I was expecting but wasn’t hoping for this one; the family rummages through the landfill looking for items to sell. Maybe this is what the children do on the weekends as well. What sometimes little I have thought the day care provides has turned into what could be saving these children. Each day my eyes are opened more and more to the subtle differences in life that we take for granted: a house with 4 walls, clean water or even water at all, a place to lay my head, different clothes to wear, etc. These children showed up today malnourished and with a lack of sleep in their usual clothes but with a HUGE smile. Here I am feeling more than full after our feast the night before and what were these kids eating while I had more than enough? How could I be so full while they are so empty?
The truth is they may be more full than me. They are full of what matters, the little things. I asked myself if I was really fresh and full from my weekend or better yet was I grateful for those things that let me feel that way. To be honest, most days I probably do forget how blessed I am which leads me to ignorantly question the thirst of the children this morning. Tonight as I go to bed I wonder how they are sleeping and on what kind of surface and with how many people. This calls me to want to appreciate, love and be more as a human being and for them tomorrow. Counting my blessings….