Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Balloons - who would've thought?!

One of the somewhat surprising revelations of life in Honduras - or at least life as we experienced it for the 5 days of clinics we set up - was how much kids enjoyed balloons. Mind you, no one who was blowing them up, and that was me close to 50% of the time, was blowing them into animals or fun shapes. They were simply round balloons. And by the second day, there were only the little tiny ones. But these kids, every time we brought out the balloons, they were asking, no, begging for a "bomba." It was kinda fun for me to practice my colours in Spanish - amarillo, rojo, verde, azul, rosario, and my personal favourite - anaranjaro - or at least that's how I think it's spelled.

Anyway, we often blew up balloons after we told them a bible story. Sometimes it was the carrot so they'd sit there, but more often than not, they were as excited to hear a "piquito historia" as they were for balloons (or that's what I told myself...). But what was obvious about the balloons, and they're love of receiving one, is just how little they had. Yeah, kids here like balloons. Yeah, if you pull them out, they're probably going to want one. But, is it a huge deal? Probably not. Chances are, if they're anything like my son, they've got a bag their mom is carrying around with them filled with snacks, drinks, extra diapers, wipes, clothes and yes, toys. So what's a balloon? Just one more toy. But to these kids, I think it was more. Heck, I saw a baby come in one day with an atrociously stinky diaper, screaming to high heaven, probably from diaper rash. And eventually his mom changed him, but I think she changed him into a makeshift cloth diaper that we provided. So yeah, these kids didn't have much. A balloon, or two or three or four - depending on how many they broke or stuffed into their shirts, was a pretty cool toy. Maybe next time I'm thinking of buying myself a cool new toy, their memory will give me pause to ask in what better ways I could use that "toy" money...

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