Saturday, 21 January 2012

Chocolatada and sharing toys

Now that we heading towards the end of January, Christmas feels like a long time ago.  For us, it feels even further back in time, as so much happened during Advent and in the month that has past since we landed in the UK. Things are now (in theory) calming down, and it is good to reflect on some of our final memories in Peru. 

It was particularly powerful to take Daniel to the local hospital to give some presents.  Neil and I were involved in visiting the Regional Hospital for a number of months, but we had never taken the children, mainly as it is sometimes a difficult place to be in and not the most hygienic.  During Sophia's Christmas party at nursery, the children received a doll with millions of tiny accessories and a remote control car.  We decided that these would not be great things to fit into our packing at the last minute, so suggested that they could be given to children in the local hospital, along with some other older toys.  I need to stress at this point that our children are not perfect missionary kid angels.  They did not leap at the chance of giving new toys away, and needed some persuading that this was a good idea.  However, they were (eventually) persuaded, and Daniel came with me to the hospital.

Daniel was pretty unfazed by the hospital and just wanted to get stuck in and play with the toys, although we didn't have time to stay for long.  He gave the remote control car to a boy who I think was around 8 years old.  I took a slightly posed photo of the handover of the present, but it soon turned into an impromptu hug, which was just lovely and so natural.  It was wonderful to give my 5 year old the opportunity to give something away, and experience first hand the joy of seeing the gift excitedly received. 

The following day, the whole family joined our church in Huambutio for a chocolatada, an opportunity  to share hot chocolate, paneton, gifts and second hand clothes.  There is more info here.  We will never forget Huambutio, where we visited weekly to teach English.  We will remember the crowded combis, the excited children, hugs and chants of 'Gringos' when we turned up and making Rob and Amy pretend to be animals during their first lesson there.  We loved the school and the opportunity to be a part of things there, and it was therefore great to be involved in the chocolatada during our final days there.  The site of Daniel shouting out 'chicos' to encourage the boys to come to the right place to collect their presents will be forever etched in my memory.  It was wonderful to see Daniel and Sophia playing and joining in with all that was happening, just as they had done with the holiday club a few months before.  Both were great opportunities to share God's love, not just with Peruvian children but with my own children too.

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