Buying Shoes Today...
In America, when we go shoe shopping we look at a variety of shoes...here there is little variety. In the states we would have shopped for a couple pairs of shoes of different colors and styles...today, it was one shoe with one color: black for school. Another dynamic that I was aware of as we shopped, was the fact that these children are getting SHOES. After being around the children of Prosperity City who go barefoot or wear slippers (flip-flops)- even to school, it changes you!
We took a big job and made it small. Where one person would have to shop for 20 children and spend half of a day, we were able to divide up the sticks with the children's initials and find four shoes each. It was nice to give Jenny, the RCHCC staff person, a nice break to enjoy the experience and be there to answer our questions.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning the process of buying in Guyana. It was fun and different. It is not much different than our own process, but yet it would confuse you if someone was not there to direct you. Today I learned that:
Step 1: You choose your shoe and then go to the counter to get your size.
Step 2: You take your written ticket and you walk over to the cashier to pay for it.
Step 3: You walk to a different place to pick up your purchase and check to see if it is correct.
I also loved the fact that I was doing this shopping for someone else...and that it was for the children at the home! We all got a chuckle at the thought of telling those in America that we spent $40,000 "dollars" on shoes today!
Shoe Shopping in Guyana
Sticks measured to each child's foot with their name or initials on them.
Today was different from yesterday in a few ways. Yesterday, we parked in a different place and entered the area from a different way and stayed in one place. Today, we parked in the front area and as soon as our bus pulled up to the wall and parked, smiles met us and kind voices greeted us. A woman I did not even remember said, "Hi Sister Angie! How are you?" I was shocked that she knew my name. We started our afternoon by walking the Jetty Wall to the end and handing out 6 bags that were not collected on Tuesday. The smiles followed us there as well. It was amazing to literally feel the light breaking through in that place. As we returned to Georgetown, I asked the team if they noticed a difference in today and they shared these thoughts:
- Gary said he noticed that the kids wanted to be around us the minute they saw us. People were acknowledging Angie more and more. She was becoming known there and it brought smiles to the people's faces.
- Joy found herself trying to understand more of the creoles' and if hearing someone say, "White People, White People", was a good thing. It turned out to be a real good thing. They were getting our attention to help us find someone so we could leave them their bag.
- Becca found it incredible that the children never lost interest to learn. They would literally finish one book, or flashcard set, or one educational game and run for something else to work on. They lost no interest in learning and it showed her that all they need is time and someone to encourage them.
- Rhonda was taken up by two small boys probably around age 5 and 3 who latched onto us immediately and stayed with us down the entire jetty wall. She was struck by their persistence in asking for a white bag. And would not believe us when we told them we just dropped one home by their granny. The flip side of that experience is coping with the reality that no one came looking for them. They walked right down to the Jetty wall, jumped on the mud and hit the water to swim. They subsequently got out when we began to walk back and followed us to the end. Rhonda was also encouraged by the people's honesty. When we were looking for people and asked them if they had a bag "like this", they told us the truth. Yes, they had a bag like that and the person we are looking for is two houses down. There is a general sense of looking out for one another.
- Colin took note of a small step that could lead to another small step and another. As they went to leave a bag with a strong Muslim man, he actually came to the gate and took it from Colin and Gary. On Saturday he had locked the doors and stayed inside. We gave him a bag anyways and we'll see what God will accomplish!
- As we were preparing to leave we had one more house to go to on the Jetty. We decided to walk quickly and not allow the dark to catch us. Becca shared tonight how that made her nervous. Then she checked herself and realized these children walking with us are so incredibly happy to be with us and they live here every day, all day.
It was our last day in Prosperity City and we did not walk with our cameras. We wanted this day to be just about the children. As the time ended I knew a picture would be a great thing. The children were happy for it, so we took a "big big picture" as it was called, with the future generation of Prosperity City. The moment was sobering, but not as moving as Ginny, my Vreed N Hoop partner pulling me to the side to share her deep appreciation for this past week of partnership. I cannot convey her words in their fullness, but suffice to say, God's body came together this week and those who remain here have been strengthened by those who have come.
Last Day in Prosperity City