July 3, 2010

A Free Moment (by Anna)

I had a free moment here and I thought I would share a little of the day-to-day stuff that usually gets lost. It's Saturday night, a little before 9pm. That means that David is boiling 2 large pots full of the sweetest tea you've ever tasted. A southerner knows sweet tea, and this tea goes beyond any down-home barbecue version ever created. It's like liquid rock candy. He's also made about thirty baloney with margarine sandwiches. It's a pretty gross creation, but Chilean kids love it. Every Friday and Saturday night, he goes out into the plazas with his tea and sandwiches, sits on a bench and waits. Kids arrive first, asking if they can have some tea. They approvingly smile at the first taste and exclaim, "bien dulce!" (really sweet!). They then invite their older brothers, mothers and friends to come have a sandwich with them. As they share their meal, they sit with David and talk about their lives, ask how to say their names in English. They laugh when he says Juan is John and Maria is Mary.

As the night goes on, more adults stop by and ask for a cup of tea. They're more silent, but eventually share that this is the first thing they've had to eat all day. They're the drug addicts that roam the streets all night, scraping together what they can in order to buy cheap hits of "pasta base" - the junk left over after making cocaine. They're bone thin and have a vacant look in their eyes. They tell David about what it's like to live as an addict, how they've lost their families and that they can't hold down a job. They go days without eating and pass terrible cold while roaming the streets at night. David does what he does best; he listens. If they show interest in getting help, David knows where to direct them. He has connections to rehabilitation programs and has taken special courses to work in prevention and accompaniment of people with addiction problems. Two people have gotten into rehab thanks to these night-time outings.

Of course, most don't end up getting help. But, we hope that through talking to another person who shows them respect and love, they're able to regain a little of their humanity and to remember that they aren't alone. We hope that the words of encouragement remind them that there is hope for their own lives, that things can change. With God's help, we've seen hope restored, lives turn around and families reunited.

It took me twenty minutes to write this post. David has left with his tea and sandwiches. Joshua's in his crib, pretending to burp and saying "excuse me" in Spanish, laughing each and every time. I'm sitting at the computer, catching up on email and sharing a little of our lives with you. It's a good life.

1 comment:

stephanie garcia said...

What a very special opportunity for David, and what a tender heart he shows for the "least of these." Thank you for sharing this glimpse.

And speaking of glimpse, I caught one of the three of you on Vivar last week as I was driving past. You were deep in conversation. :)