Our last day was the perfect end to our month of volunteering. In the morning, Teresa and the Board of Directors hosted an inauguration for the building that the previous Developing World Connections trip built, which we were able to finish painting and use for our programming. I was almost brought to tears with pride and joy when Teresa handed me a pair of scissors and we cut the ribbon together to officially “open” that part of the library. To be part of something like this truly touches your heart every day and on our last day I know we all felt overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions. It was also an amazing morning because we were also able to be part of the graduation ceremony that Open Windows had for the computer class students. After interacting with some of these kids for a month, it nice to be able to acknowledge how hard they have worked and how much credit they deserve for being such good students in the face of many obstacles.
Then, of course, in the afternoon we threw a party! Teresa told us one night at home that her dream was to buy 100 kids McDonald’s and that if she had the money to do it she would. When she said that, we all looked at each other and immediately said we would do it. It may sound unimportant, but I share in her way of thinking and understood immediately why she would want to do so. I remember being very little and having my Dad take me to McDonald’s to get an ice cream cone after scoring my first soccer goal of the season. Or, coming home for lunch in grade one and my Mom surprising me with a happy meal. Yes, I know it isn’t the healthiest option and there is a lot to say about the corporation, but the joy that it brought to the kids… well let’s just say it was more than worth it when we did it. It may have been my favourite part of the trip actually.
I was surprised when we handed out the burgers because a lot of the kids looked so excited and so thrilled, yet they wouldn’t dare open it up or take a bite. I asked Teresa what was wrong and she said that the kids were saving it because they wanted to share it with their whole family, or their brothers, or their friends, or anyone special to them. Hearing that was heartbreaking and a huge learning moment for me. Would I have done the same as a child? Many of these kids had never had a burger before, let alone McDonald’s. There certainly isn’t one in their small town, and even if there was, they probably wouldn’t be able to afford it.
All in all, I’m just thrilled that something so simple and affordable to us was so exciting for these kids and that we had the opportunity to share in one of Teresa’s well founded dreams.