Someone asked me last night – challenged me really, over dinner while talking about the Finding Corte Magore project. “Why not do all this in the U.S.? Why Nicaragua?” My answer? “I grew-up dirt poor, living below the poverty line. But, books, education, teachers, welfare and our American laws saved me. I had hope. And, everyone deserves hope.
The poorest children in the U.S. have so much more hope than most of the kids in Nicaragua, one of the poorest places on the planet. Kids in Nicaragua are forced to eventually choose work over school, if they ever enrolled in the first place. My goal is to teach kids in the U.S. that no matter how bad they have it – someone, somewhere, has things worse. And, in Nicaragua, my goal there is to let kids know that it’s okay to have hope and dream for a better life.” – Tonia
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On Saturday, a box arrived on my front porch, and I remembered an old friend back home in Indiana recently asked me for my address. The package was fairly large and perfunctorily, I pondered what could be inside; the box felt as light as air in my hands when I stooped over to pick it up.
Curiously, I tore off the tape and peered inside. On top of a pile of various, vibrantly shades of fresh autumn leaves, rested a note that read:
I read a post of yours about missing the fall leaves of the Midwest & I thought I could help with that! I hope these bring a smile to your face and you’ll enjoy them for a little while!
Love & Miss Ya!
One lone tear rolled down my cheek. I was surprised by how overcome I was with raw emotion. After all, it was just a pile of leaves, wasn’t it? But, on the contrary, the gift was more thoughtful and meaningful than anything ever given me by a friend. It was a gift so powerful that it left me forever touched, because it was so simple. Regina knew I was a bit homesick for the Midwest and sent me a piece of HOME – vivid, reminiscent hues from my youth – all raked-up, and packaged nicely and left waiting for me on my doorstep by the mailman on an average, sunny day in California. Where Autumn never comes.
Regina’s gift is a reminder that giving isn’t about spending or going through the motions; giving is about getting personal and evoking feeling from the recipient as a result of the kindness bestowed by the gesture. If the gift is heartfelt, it will surely be richly treasured, in a way much like I felt about my wonderful, crisp pile of leaves.
As for me and my colorful treasures, I will discover fun ways to use them this fall. And, when autumn first turns to winter, I will seal them back up in Regina’s carton and use them again for another reason in a different Autumn season.