POPPY’S HOUSE - RETURNING THE FAVOR
Hi everyone! My name is Juliana Conrad and I am currently living at Poppys House as a volunteer. I decided to come here on a leap of faith to help out some very deserving kids and to learn from them as well. For example, I had taken two Spanish classes in high school and let’s just say I know more Spanish now than I knew then. Almost everything about their way of life is different from what I knew, and it is such a fulfilling experience to grow from these differences. And now, two months in, they don’t feel much like differences anymore. Anyways, enough about me. I want to talk about the kids. More specifically, I want to talk about their overwhelming kindness.
When I first got here the girls immediately started taking me by the hand and showing me around the property. Before I knew it, I went from being called “Miss Juliana” to “ñaña,” a Spanish word for sister. When I have to put my shoes on, they stop what they’re doing and help me slip them over my heel. It was a surprising gesture at first and I was humbled at how they would do it without any hesitation. They simply want to make things easier for me, and yet I am supposed to be doing that for them.
One of the Christmas gifts that was given to the girls was a bracelet making kit. And as they were making their masterpieces, eleven-year-old Dorcas and I got on the conversation of what I normally do for Christmas. Then she asked me about my parents, and I told her what their names were. A few minutes later after the conversation had faded off she suddenly asked me if my mom’s name was spelled with an S or a C. Once I replied she handed me a bracelet with colorful beads and more specifically, one with a C on it. It amazes me that although the absence of her family will likely be much more long term, she was still considering the fact that I could be missing mine. And once again this act of kindness came natural to her; she saw that I didn’t have a Christmas gift and so she simply gave me one. One that means so much more to me than a few beads.
One last example for now: The girls were getting ready for New Years dinner and I changed into pants and a black shirt. Nothing fancy, and this was not the first time the girls have seen this outfit. But once I stepped out of my room I was immediately greeted with “Wow wow look at the ñaña! Bonita ñaña!” Pants and a t-shirt. What I did to deserve that reaction I will never know, but one thing I do know is that these girls make me feel better. They make me want to do so much more for them not out of pity, but because I should return the favor and show them the kindness they’ve shown me. I’ll be keeping you updated on that process.