* I’m serving overcooked rice in a dirty, fly filled kitchen at an the Adlea Infantil Orphanage in Peru. There are 89 children that need to be served as well as about 10 staff. The rice is overly cooked making it hot and sticky. All I have to serve with is a 3 inch long metal scooper. The scooper is burning hot because it has been left in the bowl of rice far too long. Every scoop of rice I work to dig out for the children burns my fingers beginning to form little red blisters. I scramble for a wet cloth to wrap around the spoon but it falls into the bowl of rice and I quickly grab it and throw it to the side hoping nobody saw. I feel the impacient stares of the tias or house moms waiting for their kids to be served and I remind myself the rule that no child can eat until all 89 have gotten their food and said grace. So I serve rice as fast as I can, trying to ignore the pain, scooping and passing, scooping and passing, scraping the sides of the very bottom of the bowl- scooping and passing, and then I realize a thought so glorious.. So this is what it’s like to feed the orphans in Peru!
*The “special” children - who have disabilities I cannot even begin to explain or diagnose- have a corner of the room where they lay on two black mats. When I come in, their mouths are open revealing crooked teeth and mouths that reik from not being brushed. They are laying down with one arm awkwardly reached up into the air, gawking at me. I was given a bowl with “normal” foods (rice,mystery meat, and an egg) as well as a cup of water and told to feed them their lunch. As I looked down on them- dirty and rotting in their own waste- I couldn’t help but be disgusted. I finally worked up the courage to get down on their level and sit on the mats with them. Alright I thought let’s get this thing done.. and I whipped out the food ready to stuff- unfortunately for me though the girl refused to open her mouth. “Oh brother” I sighed. But then a sweet nine year old girl who lived in the house runs over, yanks the girl into a sitting position, and begins to kiss her cheek. I look at the small girl with awe and admiration, saying gracias, and trying the food game again. “Put the plate right under her mouth the girl says, and pour in a spoonful of water after every bite.” Taking my spoon the young girl begins to show me and then hands it back to me. After her teaching and demonstration, I can’t be a coward, I begin to spoon feed this special girl her lunch. I pray for God to change my heart and help me to love, even when it’s not pretty, like the young girl.