One benefit of being at Lake Bacalar for a week was that we got to know one of the women who worked at the campground where our friends were staying. Nancy, the worker at the campground, is a single Mom with five beautiful children, and attends the same church as us.
When all of the laundromats were swamped the day before we were to leave, we found ourselves overloaded with dirty cloth diapers and no way to wash them (yes, we really do travel with cloth diapers)! Nancy’s kids came to the rescue for us! They washed our laundry for us, and hung it out to dry. They were so proud of themselves, and we rewarded them for their work. They were beaming!
Also, the last night we were in town we asked Nancy to babysit our kids so that Jared and I could go on a double-date with our friends in the nearby town of Chetumal. The movie was going to go pretty late, and we knew all of our kids would all be tired before we returned (we have three kids, our friends have five–and Nancy agreed to watch all of them).
So, we dropped off the kids with sleeping bags, hoping they would get some shut-eye and not stay up too late as they played with Nancy’s five kids. Before arriving, I expressed concern to Jared about the kids sleeping on the ground in Nancy’s home. I had seen the outside of her home, but didn’t know what the inside was like. It was very humble on the outside, and I realized that at best she might have a concrete floor.
When we arrived, I entered her simple two-room house (if there was another room–I missed it)! It had running water and simple necessities, but it is nothing like you would see in the US (do people know how spoiled they are?). I saw that the floors were a rough concrete, as I expected. Her kids all share a couple of beds in a bedroom, so with her 5 kids sleeping on the beds, our kids most certainly would be napping on the ground. I tend to be a bit of a germ-a-phobe regarding floors, specifically…but I assured myself they’d survive the evening (unless a scorpion joined them)!
Off we went to the mall in Chetumal, stopping first by the food court to get some yummy Chinese food. The movie was really memorable (strong sarcasm: I can’t even remember what we saw)! However, I DO remember that we enjoyed a night with friends, and without kids! Such a treat! Especially when traveling!
When we returned to Nancy’s house the kids were all fast asleep. Nancy showed me a little video she took on her cell phone of all of the kids dancing all around the kitchen for half of the night. All that dancing certainly wore them out, and not one of them was awake when we returned (out of 13 kids, total)! The kids were sprawled every which way on the floor and beds.
We carried them back to the van one-by-one, and after dropping off our friends down the road, we returned to our rental about 10 minutes down the road. On the drive, Ella woke up, and exclaimed “They’re not poor at all!” It took us by surprise! Had we discussed them being “poor”? No, most certainly not. I turned to Jared and we both smiled. I had not expressed my concern about them sleeping on a dirty floor in front of her, and we had certainly not discussed their financial or living situation, in general.
We responded, “You’re right, they are not poor.”
By United States standards, they most certainly are very poor.
However, Ella saw beyond the concrete floors, bare threads kitchen, and simple living situation.
She saw that they were content, healthy, and very happy.
Don’t you love how children can see past labels and circumstances…seeing people just as they are?!
How do you define poor?
Is it possible that those who are defined as “rich” are possibly some of the “poorest” of us all? And that some of the “poorest” among us are truly the “richest”?