By Fernando Martin OAR, ARCORES Spain
“- Look, family, they just sent me some photos from Guamote [Ecuador]! They are from the communities and the people we are going to be with.
– Let’s see, Mom.
-I want to see them too. I want to see where grandma will be going.
-Calm down, Olimpia, we’ll show them to you now.
-Here they are. Look at the landscapes, the houses, the people…
-Grandma, why doesn’t this child have shoes?
-Which one, my child? It’s true. I don’t know. The older ones do, but he doesn’t.
-Grandma, please, when you go there, buy him some shoes.
-My darling, be sure I’ll look for the boy and buy him some shoes. But who’s going to pay for them? Are you going to pay for them?
-Yes, Grandma, when you come back, tell me how much they cost and I’ll pay for them out of my piggy bank.
For a six year´s old girl, it´s unbelievable your daughter´s feelings!
This conversation is as real as life itself. Real as the greatness or misery, evil or goodness, solidarity or indifference that people can develop throughout their lives.
Attitudes that can be transmitted, learned or lost according to personal life experiences. Life is real, sometimes it is hard and complex; sometimes it is simple and happy.
Shining shoes without wearing ones
Complex as the life of that other child that grandmother Julia (ARCORES Spain volunteer) saw when she arrived in Quito. He was bending down, cleaning and shining the shoes of a man with a haughty, hard and indifferent look.
A boy who had to struggle and work to help his family in the daily sustenance while someone with no compassion read the newspaper and was not able to put himself in his shoes.
Simple as the end of the story of the little shoes. An excited grandmother who shares this story with everyone to locate the child.
A grandmother who easily finds collaboration to make her granddaughter’s wish come true.
A grandmother who was surprised when she discovers that the child was a girl. Her head was so covered up that she couldn’t make it out.
Meeting the mother
The day arrived. It was more than two weeks in the making. Finally, the mother, a young teenager, showed up at the cooking workshop and the training workshop on domestic violence.There they both were. Inseparable. The mother carried the little girl on her back. Almost three years together. Neither of them imagined the surprise. An insignificant photo made them the protagonists of this story.
Surprise for the little one
It was after lunch. They had already served the stuffed rice, the cornstarch and the bones. They were sitting on the patio when sister Irma and María Lorenza and their grandmother came to surprise them. They were very grateful and agreed that, when they finished, they would go to buy the little shoes.At a slow pace they walked up the streets of Guamote to Sarita’s store. There was not much hesitation. The little girl wanted some shoes. She didn’t like colored sneakers. Little black shoes were her dream. Small, simple, but with taste and a lot of dignity.
The dream is fulfilled
The grandmother willingly bought the little shoes along with a little green stroller for her to play with her cousins in her community.
Without further ado, and with a big hug, they said goodbye in the street. Some on their way to their little house. Possibly to go barefoot again. Not as an expression of poverty but as an indigenous experience of remembering their roots, of being in contact with the earth and of being aware of human reality.
Love of neighborGrandma, heading to another task. Another task that reminds you of universal brotherhood, that leads you to live universal love for anyone.
Another task that demonstrates the greatness of people, while awaiting their return to Spain. A return in which she will carry a suitcase loaded with memories and experiences to tell in first person to her granddaughter.
A return that will mean a loving reunion with her granddaughter, where the least important thing will be the value of the shoes and the most important thing will be the shared life lesson that Grandma and Olimpia have given each other.