Today her story became full circle……
They were running down the hill towards our van as we came to a stop. Two little girls. One set of bare little feet. One with dirty shoes. Two big smiling faces. They waited as we slid our van door open.
She immediately embraced them in a big hug. I held back tears. I could see the similarities in their faces…. a perfect blend of all three. Those were her sisters.
With the three girls walking hand in hand, Alison and I followed behind up the short hill to their house. Her mom walked out and embraced us with a hand shake and a hug…. her mom welcomed us inside. I sat down the bags of food that I brought for them on the small table inside. Seemed like such a ridiculous gesture.
Sitting on a dirty foam mattress in the corner of a small room. I watched the chicken walk past the door to the outside. The sun was shining through the small door onto a pile of corn shucks that laid across the floor. One table, two dirty foam mattresses and a small bookshelf. That was it. What appeared to be a toilet seat dug into the ground, was just outside the back door. I assumed this must be where they went to the restroom.
I sat and watched as she showed her sisters the stickers and coloring books that she brought for them. They giggled like sisters do. But her face was different. One that seemed a bit reserved. A bit quieter. Of course she was happy to see them but her face was of an older much wiser girl. Not a seven year old girl. In some ways she looked a bit nervous. In so many ways I don’t blame her.
Not wanting to leave without seeing her father we decided to walk down to visit her dad at work. Her mom locked up the house with a matchlock to the outside and we all walked down to the futbol (soccer) field where her father worked the grounds. Her sister with her hand around my waist skipped towards the field.
At first sight of her father, I knew exactly who she looked like. Her dad. (just like me). I could see it in their eyes. Made my heart melt. She gave him a big hug and I stood watching their embrace as her sister let go of me and ran to go play.
I thought to myself. ‘This was her family. Her mom, her father and her two sisters.”
This was their house. It was the house she would have grown up in. The house she left because she was sick. The same house that was unable to provide the nutrients for her to grow up to be strong and healthy. At two years old she left this house. She then lived in the public orphanage. She left the public orphanage to live with Alison at the Eternal Family Project Home. Where she lives now. And every week she sits at a desk in my class. She is one of my 22 second graders.
Aracely my dear, you are stubborn, charming, beautiful and healthy. Thank you for taking me to meet your family. I loved seeing you and your sisters play, giggle and take pictures on my phone.
|Mom, Oldest Sister, youngest sister, Aracely and her Dad.|
Today I was privileged to meet Aracely’s family in person. We drove around 1 hour and half into the mountain of Santa Barbara to visit for the morning. Her two sisters still live with her parents. Her family now receives assistance through an organization that provides support to families like Aracelys that make around $1.00 a day and are unable to provide food for their kids. Her sisters are healthy (thank goodness, unlike Ara was when she was her sisters age). Aracely currently lives at the Eternal Family Project home. This home takes in girls from all over Honduras that have similar stories as Aracely’s. I told Aracely’s story first here. Just one year ago Aracelys mom regained custody of her and asked that she return to live with them in Santa Barabara. Aracely only stayed one week before her mom decided she did not want her to live there with them, so she returned to the Eternal Family Project home. It is always a difficult visit for her as she has not forgotten moving back. As Alison shared with me, Aracely knows that it could happen again should her mom decide. But today Aracely went home with Alison and I in the van. She calls Alison Mommy. We said goodbye to her sisters as her youngest refused to get out of the van. She always wants to go home with Alison. I turned my head to keep Aracely from seeing the tears that fell from my eyes. Aracely said goodbye and see you soon.
If you would like to help Alison and her mission to provide a loving home for her girls you may visit the website here.