It was to be a visit to a ‘garden of biblical stories’. I had no idea what I was in for and I certainly didn’t tell Joshua what was on.
The attraction was the opportunity to accompany about 12 kids of the barrios (poor district, shanty town) and children from St Ethnea College’s pastoral program.
We met the kids on a very cold but sunny day. The kids looked gorgeous in their warm woolly clothing and I believe they were dressed in their finest. They were in for quite an experience. A visit to ‘Terra Santa’ a biblical theme park. ( A what…?)
We left in the bus that was paid for by the donations from the girls who visited from SAC last September. We arrived at a strange place with Robotronic displays and a life size village displaying the entire biblical story the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Complete with laser lights, smoke machines and music supplied by Ennio Morricone and Handel.
I loved the resurrection of Jesus, accompanied by a grandiose orchestral arrangement (reminiscent of 2001 A Space Odyssy) and up rose a giant Jesus from a huge Magic Mountain edifice, right under the Buenos Aires’ flight path. I particularly loved it when the robotics came into play and Jesus looks down on us and closes his eyes and looks heavenward. Great!!!
But what made this day great? It was not the incredibly expensive theme park. What made this day great was that I was sharing the day with the most beautiful little kids in the world (all kids are beautiful though really).
These kids started the day with suspicious eyes and sullen expressions. Some were incredibly protective of their private world. Morose is not an overstatement.
Heartbreaking to the informed.
Armed with our joyful spirits and a camera provided by the funds raised by the SAC Walkathon, I became acquainted with the barrios’ children. These are the kids that the SAC community and I were determined to give pause to their difficult circumstances.
These children are very poor, they live in very simple type shanty town houses, sometime abandoned by both parents and eat only what is provided by the donations from interested people. Their only meal for a day is often provided by the local school.
The SAC community is playing a role in providing some food assistance, educational material and possible medical aid.
The theme park itself had very little reverence but the commitment of the St Ethnea College students and pastoral organisers shared such mercy all day long that I felt surrounded by a spiritual presence.
Look into the faces of the photos accompanying this story and see the transformation. Children had momentarily forgotten their difficult daily lives.
They were in a theme park. No roller coasters, no popcorn, but they laughed all day – long, huge belly laughs. They felt loved.
They were loved. They had dignity, and felt like any other little kid.
A golden moment in a childhood.
A great day. A really great day.
Joshua and I were there and we felt privileged to have had this opportunity.
Next week we will paint their school. Next week we will again share their company. We are the lucky ones.
Look at the photos and see where they were dropped off. Back to their homes, back to their lives. No theme parks, no Coca Cola and croissants, biscuits, veal rolls and fruit. But, a beautiful memory to carry. A little memory to be tucked away and called upon when needed.
The people who shared the company of these little kids on this day were the lucky ones. We felt the ones given a special day. A day of smiles.
That is Mercy.
SAC knows about Mercy, St. Ethnea College knows about Mercy……….Joshua and I have now discovered it and it’s pretty cool.
A good way to spend a day. An excellent way to spend six months with my son.
Te mando un beso.
(I send you a kiss)