She lost her parents recently. Her dad to street violence and her mom to mental illness. Ever since, Isabela has been very sad.
She is youngest girl in the black shirt in the photos. Each time I come to Colombia, I bring a suitcase full of clothes and things to donate. The shirt she is wearing is one of the shirts I brought from my daughter.
I thought I was just dropping off some food for another family in a tough place financially. The mom lost her job, and is trying to make ends meet as a seamstress on the side. I didn’t know that I would be going in to a rough barrio (neighborhood) to deliver the food too. But it was a mission I am happy to be a part of. (keep reading below photo)
Many people donated food and dropped it off in advance to my friend Sonia’s house. But when many do a little, we can do a lot. Remember my story about a town called Uramita? It’s the same amazing woman.
We filled the trunk of a taxi with the food donation and drove up the mountain to a part of the city you don’t want to be at night. These places don’t make me nervous, but it brings out my warrior instincts and they are in active standby mode.
When we arrived, we walked down a narrow alley between red clay buildings and brought the food into the house. It is extremely small and very modest, especially for 5 girls, mom and an aunt. The living room is fully occupied by her seamstress tables so we sit outside in the alley.
Isabela is there, she is a friend from the barrio. She is a quiet and sweet girl but she is wearing the sadness on her face. How could you not? 13 years old and to have lost both your parents in a short period of time.
The girls don’t get to leave the home often because they don’t have anyone that can bring them places, so we decide to do something with the girls. First Sonia takes us all for ice cream. Then we walked 30 minutes to a park. Its small and modest but nice and it has an amazing view of the city.
We sat in a circle and played games. The Colombian versions of games I played as a child. Duck, Duck, Goose (Pato, Pato, Ganso), hot potato (Tingo, Tingo, Tango) and Tag (Lleva). We laughed and had so much fun. They laughed at my bad Spanish and my silliness.
The girls got to forget the difficult world they live in for an afternoon and have fun without concern. They got to be kids in world where they must grow up too fast.
Sonia told me that it was a great gift for the girls. But I think I was the one who received the best gift. To see the girls laugh, smile and play and be free to be kids.
I left so full of happiness and gratitude. It was a beautiful day that I will always remember.
And Isabela, she is my kindred spirit. Fun, loving, playful, soulful and ultra competitive. At the playground, we got to see that little girl in her playful glory, if only for a couple of hours.
These moments, these are what makes life worthwhile. Helping others because you can. Being loving and caring for people you don’t know. Making a small impact in the world by helping people, even it is just a few at a time.
If you want to help me, help others, send me a message. Sonia and I will make sure your gift goes far with a family that has so little, but are good, amazing, loving, deserving people with limited options.
Life Transformation and Peak Performance Expert, author, professional speaker, and global traveler. Croix is the Author of Dream Big Act Big, Dream Big Life Planner, Morning Manifestation, and the host of the Zen Warrior Podcast. He travels full time living the speaker and laptop lifestyle living part time in Costa Rica and wherever he feels like experiencing.