My view this morning is from my friends' condo on the third floor with a view of the hills northeast of Castro Valley, CA.
We planned our trip around yesterday's comida at Eden UCC. One of my chosen sisters is the pastor at Eden and twice monthly, their congregation distributes food to the neighbors in need. They have things for children to do and the adults have an opportunity to visit with each other. It's a neighborhood event that brings residents together.
John and Em had fun. They pitched in to help where they could and participated in a music class with the kids from the neighborhood too. Em played ball with the boys who were there with their mothers.
I sat at a table with paper, crayons, markers, and coloring pages. Children came to the table and checked me over. They saw that I was kind of a cool adult because I was coloring, too. It didn't take long for them to warm up and talk with me. The preschoolers wanted to impress me that they knew their colors in English - "yellow", "pink", "purple", their English better than my Spanish.
I'm not sure what made me think of it, but I made a paper airplane for one of the boys. He was so excited. He'd throw it and it would come undone. He'd run back to me and say, "No fly!" I'd fix it and he'd continue. We did this for about a half hour. As the other children saw his paper airplane, they would come to me with the page they had colored, hand it to me and I would make an airplane for them.
A little girl - close to three years, I would guess, brought me a sheet of paper to have an airplane like the boys did. I made it, she ran to show her mother, and then ran back to me. I knelt down to her and she kissed me on the cheek and whispered, "Gracias." For those of you who know me well, you know the Herculean effort it took for me not to be a blubbering gob of goo at that lovely gesture.
Seeing 60 families with a group of kids with them collecting food for the week, puts life into perspective. On Monday, our wallets were stolen out of the car where we were parked at a tourist destination. I am temporarily without access to my assets, to my identification, and for me that's just a pain in the behind. I'm not wondering how I am going to feed my family.
I bonded with a mother who had two little ones. Her older child was simply too cute for words. He was tired and fussy. I came over and brought him paper and two markers and began to draw simple pictures. I drew a house. "Casa," his mother said. "Gato," his mother said. He giggled and his big black eyes disappeared with his broad smile. He got fussy again and I made him a paper airplane. "Avion," his mother said. "Airplane," I said, and he ran to play with the other boys.
John said that he was talking to a group of boys. They all saw him as the cool teenager paying attention to them. "I'm from Iowa," he said.
"Can you take the BART there?" asked one of the boys. (Bay Area Rapid Transit)
"Not exactly," John said. "But I did take the BART to come to see you."
"It is not our differences that divides us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences." - Audre Lorde, Poet