Anahi, la timida

Today we held the first day of VBS for the church in Ojojona. I was pumped during breakfast, but as time grew closer I became very tired. Josue, Joel, Karol and Kelin performed the Spanish skit and puppet show. Kristin, Andy, Meredith and I acted as support.

I think Karol and Kelin did a wonderful job. Kelin played the part of Rehab. Karol controlled one of the puppets. They are normally soft spoken, but they put on quite a show. During the two separate sessions, their personalities shined and they kept the group moving.

I got the chance to meet a lot of the kids and had a great time. Each of them own a different part of my recollection. Perla arrived before the everyone and had the opportunity to see rehearsal. She also helped me with Spanish. I met Helen and her brrther, Omar. Helen simply loved her brother and obviously has a knack for taking care of him. I also met best friends- Nazerete and Elvia. Haley was there as well and played with anyone that was around. Karla Isabell Amaya Alverado and Alexandra Martinez Alonzo gave me a challenge when it came to remembering names.

Of all of these, the one that stood out was Anahi. Upon arrival, it was obvious that she was quite afraid and did not want to stay. She came with neighborhood friends Katia (16) and Brayon (1.5). As Katia was trying to get Brayon settled, Anaya was standing outside of the building wanting someone to take her home. She was I tears and pretty scared because as cars whisked by on the street. I saw her and kneeled down, beckoning her to me. She slowly made her way into my arms. I hugged tightly, picked her up and brought her to safety within the church. She buried her face in my shoulder and didn't want to go anywhere else.
I asked Katia but she did not know how old Anahi was. Her size she could have been 3 or 4. However, developmentally she was no older than 2. She spoke, but not much. I attribute part of this to fear. However, as time went on, she opened up to a few people. I think she may have a form of autism.

At one point we were playing with the other kids on the playground and she fell. When I checked her out, she had a cut on her toe. With no bandages on site, I had to create one from a napkin and a sticker.  I was happy that she took to me right away.  We had fun together, though we didn't say much.  We just played.  The planned activity was beyond he grasp (or she just wasn't interested) so we played with stickers.  I found it funny that she thought she had to lick them before placing them... all over my face.  Now I shudder.  But I didn't care before.
Looking at the condition of her clothes, hair and callused skin I speculate her living conditions are among the worst. I don't think I will ever forget her and our time together. I can't wait to see her again tomorrow.  I pray that she is alright and that she has someone there to love her. 

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him."- Luke 15:20

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