Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Day In The Mall

Even though I go there frequently, I don't really like the mall. I have to buy school uniforms and supplies and other things our kids need.  And, of course, Wal-Mart is there.  But I really don't like the mall.  Being there reminds me of how huge the difference is in this country between the rich people and the poor people.  But, sometimes the mall is the most fun place in town.  Like today.

Marc found out about this family.  The mom's name is Vitalina.  Ten years ago she was raped and was infected with HIV.  Before she knew she was infected, she infected her husband.  Vitalina has full blown AIDS and could not possibly have much longer to live.  She is in extreme pain.  Their youngest child, Jairo, is also HIV positive.  Jairo is nine.  There are two other children in the family.  Carla is 11 and Milton is 14.  Milton is the bread winner for the family.  Fortunately, all three children are going to school.  Milton goes on the weekend and works all week. 

The house in which they were living was an awful house, made of particle board and any scrap material that was available.  Vitalina knows she is dying and her only wish was that her family have a decent house in which to live.  Today, that wish came true.

I worked Tuesday and took off today so that I could be part of this.  We left about 8:30 this morning.  The wood was waiting on us when we arrived.  But before building could begin, the furnishings had to be removed and the old house torn down.
Vitalina, being so ill, went to a neighbor's house where she could lie on a sofa all day.

My friends from Antioch and I got to take Carla and Jairo to the mall.  Willie drove us in the van and Melissa went with us, too.  We went to the mall to buy school supplies, school uniforms, clothes, soap, shampoo and other needed items.

Carla and Jairo had never been to a mall, never heard of Wal-Mart and were in complete awe as we walked in.  Melissa was our translator.  She was so kind and sweet to the kids.  And, to us, too, of course.  We knew we were going to have to go to more than one store, but we started at Wal-Mart.  The main reason being it was the only thing open when we arrived. 
Jairo and Carla in front of the fountain in the mall

We started with basics.  Toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, shampoo, soap.  We began looking at pretty things for Carla's hair.  It was easy to tell when Carla really liked something.  A big smile came across her face.  She never asked is she could have something.  She picked up one little card with two scrunchies, one pink, one purple, on it, smiled big, and held it tight.  She was told to put it in the basket.  And she says, one is for me and one is for my mom.  For me, that was the first of many tears.  

As we picked out clothes for everyone, Carla made sure mom had some, dad had some, both brothers had some, then she would start looking for herself.  With Melissa's help she picked out the cutest pair of shorts and a top to match.  She made it clear to us that she did not want short shorts.  I was glad.  

A Wal-Mart employee became our personal shopper.  In the States, you might expect that kind of service at Macy's, but not at Wal-Mart.  And, it became crystal clear that these kids had never had new clothes before, much less got to choose their own new clothes.  Perhaps, it was as clear to the personal shopper.

We kept saying you don't have to buy here if you don't see anything you like.  We can look somewhere else.  They had no problem  finding something.  

All the while, Willie is quite patient with this group of women shoppers and kids shopping for the first time.  Willie said he had never been to Wal-Mart either.  When the ladies found out tomorrow was his son's birthday, a few extra things were purchased.

After most clothes were purchased, we went to the school supply aisle.  I never saw two kids as excited over school supplies as those two were.

After they got what they needed, Carla got a new backpack for Milton. 

We decided we had everything we could get at Wal-Mart.  The kids were so excited.  They both got behind the counter and helped the check-out clerk.  We had spent two extremely fun hours in Wal-Mart.
Willie hauled all the packages to the van and we told him we would see him at Pizza Hut.  Carla and Jairo had had one piece of pizza in their lives.  One piece of pizza that was shared among four people.  These two were elated to go sit down in Pizza Hut.  We ordered 3 giant pizzas.  And because we did, we got cheese bread for all of us, ice cream for all of us and one salad.   Don't ask.  We are in Honduras.  We decided to let the kids have the salad.  Melissa took them to the salad bar and helped them.  When they returned to the table, they didn't eat the salad.  They wanted a box so they could take the salad home to their parents.  But the pizza and ice cream were huge hits. 

With very full tummies, we went to get uniforms and school shoes, and shoes for Carla and Mom.  Willie was being very patient, but we did try to pick up the pace.  We got everything but her skirt for school and his pants.  We will have to find that later.

We drove back to the house site, to find the new house nearly complete.  There were squeals of delight from two kids.  Shortly after we arrived, the mattresses and bedding arrived.  Carla could hardly contain herself.  All of this was placed on the beds and we took Carla in to see the inside of the house.
Carla's face when she saw the beds and mattresses

When the house was completely finished, a prayer was said with the dad and the kids.  The mom was too sick to join us.  Marc walked over to the neighbor's house to pray with Vitalina.  Vitalina also prayed as Marc prayed.  With her only wish granted, she cried out to God that she was in so much pain and to please take her home.

What a beautiful house

It was a very emotional day and I am glad I got to be part of it.  I am as tired as if I had done a lot more than shop all day.

Please pray for this precious family.  They have a lot of things facing them.



Kim Beam said...

What a beautiful day you all had in every way. We take so much for granite here. Your day touched my heart as well as the family and children. You all gave them so much joy! We will continue to pray for all the work that is done there, for your family, and this wonderful family that was helped today. So much suffering and I thank the Lord for all the work you are doing there. May the Lord continue to watch over all of you. Love Kim

Jeanne said...

Oh, Terri, what an emotional day it must have been. I'm so thankful that you guys are able to help this family. God bless you all.