Recently we saw the movie Babel again. A most interesting film about how people from different parts of the world are actually interconnected. Our feelings are so similar, perhaps seen from different perspectives, but so similar, if not identical.
I made some stuffed teddy bears for a shower and kept two for myself. Meanwhile a son went to Uganda to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. When he told me he was staying with a family, a mother and father, four children of their own and four nieces and nephews, I thought of sending a package.
We sent a box with watercolors, activity books, and toys. I saw some space at the very top and added one of the teddy bears. We placed some peanuts and candy in the tiny available spaces .My husband thought of placing a copy of the New York Times for our son to read. We shipped the package off.
My son wrote us a letter in which he described the scene. “I opened the box with all eight children surrounding me. The thought of a package seemed to fascinate them. As I took out each item the children’s eyes grew larger and larger. I distributed the gifts and the father was thrilled to sit and read the New York Times even though the copy was several weeks old."
I remembered as a child when Mother opened a package Grandmother mailed to us. She lived in South Texas while we lived in Central Texas. We circled the kitchen table. The items she sent us could not be found in our part of the state. Pan dulce, for example, by the time it arrived was dried, yet Mother loved it and felt fortunate to get it. Herbs or yerbas, as Mother called them, pleased her. My sister and I received bows with matching feathers for our long black hair. We children and Mother, too, experienced joy and pleasure upon opening those packages.
In Uganda our son ran into a small girl who could not speak or hear. He met her guardians and inquired of the child. They said they were her aunt and uncle and the child couldn’t attend school because of her disability. So she worked cleaning their home. My son investigated further and found a German school for children with disabilities. Yes, they could take her in but she needed a uniform and shoes, something her feet had never experienced. And then there was the matter of the tuition.
He took her to a store where they fitted her for a uniform and shoes. Her eyes, upon wearing the shoes, told the story. How proud she felt of her new shoes, and how strange it must have seemed to cover her feet for the first time in her life.
Her parents invited our son to eat dinner with them. So pleased were they with their daughter’s promising future in an educational setting, that they had to meet the young man and treat him as best they could. Delicious chicken graced their modest table that evening. Thankfulness and graciousness presided in that home that day and perhaps on many other days, also.
Universal feelings. Pleasure in receiving packages. A need. A desire to help. Gratitude. Happiness and hope for a small child. We are all the same. We are all everyone.