We planned all kinds of games for this event. We had face painting, temporary tattoos, ring toss, pin the tail on the donkey, and a few other games that don't have particular names, but involve ping pong or bouncy balls and cups. Each game was set up as a small station under the cabana, and when it was time to start, the kids would line up and go from game to game.
Each game tended to have one child who wanted to become the helper. I was in charge of ring toss. I had one little girl who wanted to pick up every ring every time one was thrown. Eventually, she and I found a rhythm to how she could be my little helper. She was precious. I loved watching the kids float from game to game, proudly displaying their face paint and tattoos.
The kids had a blast. There were no prizes for them, like you would find at our carnivals here, but they didn't care. They laughed and they played and they took turns and they soaked it all in. I soaked it all in. It was so much fun to watch the joy on their faces.It was busy and somewhat exhausting, but so very fun.
It's the little things that matter. We forget that often times. Watching the children play the games was a reminder of that. Occasionally there would be the typical spat between kids fighting over whose turn it was or who was in line in front of the other, but for the most part, they really did well taking turns. I enjoyed the kids who would come back, trying so hard to get all the rings hooked. Every team member was busy with their task. Time flew by.
When the fun fest came to an end, it was time for our team to give away the school bags we had put together. Our team project going into Brisas was to put together backpacks for the kids full of school supplies. We raised the money ahead of time and got it to the church in Colombia, and they were able to purchase school supplies in their country. Money goes a lot further in Colombia than in in the US. We were able to fill roughly 300 backpacks full of notebooks, pencil, pen, folders, and erasers. The younger kids got a coloring book and colored pencils in their backpacks. We also included a goodie bag in each of the backpacks, which had candy and things of that sort. I was amazed how far our dollars stretched to fill those bags. To bless those kids.
The pastors and Paola came up with a system that worked so smoothly in each kid getting a bag. While it took a little bit of time, what a beautiful experience to give those away. When all was said and done, Pastora sat and shared gratitude for what we were able to do. Her gratitude brought me (and many others) to tears, because again, we take so much for granted here. We were able to be a small piece of blessing this little community, hopefully leaving the fingerprints of God on all we were doing.
The next day, as we were out at the construction site, the kids walked by on their way to school, proudly holding up their folders to show us as they walked by. More moments in time that will forever be imprinted on my heart, with words difficult to describe the beautiful lessons I brought home with me.