During my week in San Lorenzo with Leigh & Noah, we headed to a Wichi village about 4 hours away to deliver donated goods, meet with them regarding the ongoing project of building a community garden, and spend some time with the kids doing a little art project. When we told our contact that we had an activity for the kids, he said he would gather them and he disappeared on a bike for about 10 minutes. When he returned, we headed to the "church" (made of wood, rocks and dirt bricks) where he had rounded up the kids so they could work inside and avoid the strong wind that completely coats you in dust in a matter of minutes. We walked in to find around 40 kids sitting almost silently with eyes full of anticipation. It's a funny thing, I can't remember how many times I have stood before a room of VPs and SVPs and given presentations or led a meeting without a second thought, yet standing there with those 80 eyes glued on me I actually felt nervous. I thought about that later and realized the difference was - I cared more about the outcome in that little dirt brick building than I did in a conference room of executives. I didn't want to disappoint these kids who, having no idea what to expect, were still full of excitement. Ok, back to the story - we separated them into smaller groups and distributed paper, markers, crayons, stickers, scissors, and glue. I explained what to do, and no one moved. I demonstrated, and no one moved. They all sat there holding their colorful sheets of construction paper, staring at me. Given the fact that Spanish-Nancy is not as secure and confident as English-Nancy, I instantly assumed they didn't understand me. It turns out they were just really, really shy. Something that is such a normal rainy day activity for most kids was basically foreign to them. Once I walked away and pretended to busy myself with something, they started whispering among themselves and little by little they started drawing, cutting, pasting, coloring, and suddenly they were lost in their artwork.
By the time we wrapped up, some of them were even shyly showing us their finished projects while clutching the new treasures of markers and crayons.
Every once in a while, it's good to be reminded to enjoy the little things. Maybe, even if it is only for a minute, the little things can make you forget about the big things.