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Kind Gestures


Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.”

The director of Manos Con Libertad, one of my ministry sites, is from the UK.  This past winter, she decided to head home for a few months.  She said it was to rest, but I think she actually spent a lot of her time talking to potential sponsors about the work going on in Bolivia and how they can help.

She was gone for her birthday.  The staff and children at Manos still wanted to wish her a happy birthday, so it was decided we would Skype her that afternoon.  With a 5 hour time difference, it meant we needed to start the call at a reasonable time on our end.

In true Bolivian fashion, we hit all sorts of hiccups.  The laptop had no charge left,  we had no phone credit (which we needed because we were using the phone as our wifi connection),  no one could find the extension cord— you get the idea.  The long and the short of it is that the call started late, but we still managed to connect with Suzanne.

When we finally got through, all of us were gathered around the computer.  I’m talking 20 people.  That in and of itself was pretty funny since she could only see about 3 or 4 of us.  We all shouted happy birthday and asked her how she was doing.

She gave us an update and then decided to introduce us to her Mum who was also in the room.  Unlike Suzanne, her Mum does not speak Spanish.  “Tell her we say hello,” they told me.  At the time, I was the only other person at Manos who spoke English, so I told Suzanne’s Mum everyone sent their greetings.

After a few more minutes of catching up, it looked like the call was coming to a close.  But not before we brought out a cake lit with a candle and sang happy birthday to Suzanne.  I didn’t even know we were planning to do that and I was really touched.  And from a million miles away, I could tell that Suzanne was too.  What a lovely idea.

It made me realize that the world is not that big of a place after all.  That even though Suzanne was far, far away, no one had forgotten how important she is to the Manos family.  And most of all, I realized that the Bolivian people don’t have much, but what they have, they are always willing to share.  It was a lovely gesture that warmed my heart and made me appreciate the people around me even more than I already did.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!  May you always remember to share your gifts, no matter how big or small, with the people around you.  Paz y Bien!

Hady and her Bolivian family

Hady and her Bolivian family

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A self-described “Hija de Brooklyn y Puerto Rico,” Hady Mendez is the youngest of four daughters raised by Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, NY. A proud Jasper, Hady graduated from Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY, before starting a corporate career in technology that lasted for more than 20 years. Hady has a true passion for world travel and social justice and recently returned from two years of mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia.