She was probably three or four. Her jet black hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail, and her tiny toes were covered with dust and grime from the uneven, dirt floors of her home. Around her waist was a traditional corte, a skirt woven by hand by someone in her community, the beautiful threads and patterns difficult to distinguish because of how much time had passed since the last washing. Slung over her shoulder in a loose knot tied by her little hands was a fleece child’s blanket, posing as a baby carrier just like the ones she saw her mother and other women in the village wearing day in and day out. In her arms was a cream teddy bear, fur tipped with mud, dressed in a corte just like hers. She cradled him kindly, caring for him in the street, where there was no adult present to care for her.
As I watched this tiny girl play “mommy,” I was flooded by a mix of emotions. I knew that my own daughter was back home, taking care of her baby dolls the same way, putting them “ni-nite” with her blankies and feeding them milk from her sippy cup. For an instant, this little girl and my daughter seemed one and the same. But quickly the resemblance faded. I remembered that my daughter’s toes are clean, because we live in a home with rugs and hardwood floors. Her clothes might be dirty, but that’s only because my husband or I haven’t taken the time to change her into one of the countless clean outfits that is hanging in her closet. Her pretending never happens in solitude, because an adult in our family is always right by her side, making sure she is safe and out of danger’s way. My daughter and this little girl live in drastically different worlds, with drastically different lives, and if something doesn’t change, they will have drastically different futures.
And then my thoughts turn to someone else. Somewhere behind that dilapidated wooden fence, in the labyrinth of connected homes, is this little girl’s mother. I wonder what her story is, what her struggles are, and what the world looks like through her eyes. I wonder if her life has been touched by the amazing work our VisionTrust Guatemala Director Rut Chamale has done in her community. And I hope and pray that her daughter is one of the hundreds of children that are a part of the VisionTrust Learning Center that is just minutes from their home. I hope and pray that she is one of the many that is eating nutritious meals, drinking clean water and getting a good education. I know full well that this little girl’s mother cannot provide these things on her own. And for some reason, God has given me more than enough. As I watched that little girl playing in the dusty road, I knew exactly why I was there. She and her mother are in need of a helping hand to be able to thrive and live well in their own culture. I’ve been called to love, serve and support them. Where is God calling you?