If you are ever in need of a pick-me-up, just take a minute to look through these pictures and you will instantly find a smile on your face, no matter how bad of a day you are having! :) Getting to pass out the dolls that you all sponsored was such a joy for me and I'm so thankful to each and every one of you who gave these precious little girlies such a wonderful gift!
As I mentioned before, we got to walk through several of the neighborhoods in Managua during our time there and I saw first-hand how little these children and their families have. I know each one of these little girls will treasure their dolls as a special friend.
I saved the majority of the dolls to pass out on the last day we were at the school. However, there were many little girls who were not students at the school who came through the clinic with their mamas and I prayed that God would give me discernment in choosing who the dolls went to. It was so hard to make that decision because I wanted to be able to give one to each little girl who we saw.
This little girl was the first recipient of a doll. On Wednesday, we hosted a women's clinic in the afternoon. When we arrived back at school from lunch, there was already a long line of women waiting outside the door and I immediately noticed this little girl. She wasn't quite a year old and when I handed her the doll, she did the thing babies do when they try to love on something by immediately smooshing it up her face with a drooling open-mouthed kiss. Aaaahhhh! She was so adorable and I loved her reaction to the doll. She didn't stop hugging her. (And notice the little boy's expression in the picture. I love his smile too watching her excitement over her new toy.)
The day this little girl was in the clinic was her first birthday! so of course, she got a doll!! :) She immediately squealed and fell in love with her.
This little girl had been patiently waiting with her mom and aunt for almost an hour in the women's clinic. I could tell she was ecstatic when I offered her the doll, but was a little unsure of how to respond. Maybe she wasn't sure if it was hers to keep? She kept shyly looking down at the doll and then would look up with a huge smile on her face.
And bless this poor little girl's heart. Her mom brought her to the clinic because she had some sort of infection causing sores on her face and head. You could tell she felt miserable. I didn't see a smile out of her that day, but her mom brought her back a few days later after she had been on the medicine that we gave her. Not only did she look like she felt so much better, she had her doll in hand and a huge smile on her face!
And this little pip-squeak was cute as she could be. She was playing with her doll until I pulled my camera out to take a picture and this was the look I got. As long as I had my camera in hand, she refused to smile for me.
Thursday was our last day at the school, so I rolled my suitcase that the dolls were in down to the first grade class before school was dismissed for the day. I was really nervous standing in front of a sea of little questioning faces, unsure of why I was there and what was in my suitcase. In my best and broken spanish, I explained how there were people back home who wanted to do something special for them and how you all had sponsored dolls for me to be able to bring with me to Nicaragua. And then I had to tell the little boys that unfortunately I only had something for the girls, but I promised to do something special for them too (so I need to get my thinking cap on and send something down there for them SOON!) Honestly, I was really surprised and pleased at the boys' reaction. You'll see them beaming in many of these pictures as they watch the little girls getting their dolls.
I must not have done a great job explaining that they were a gift for them to keep, because the first minute or so, they were very quiet and just studied the dolls like they were unsure of what was going on.
But then I asked one of the little girls what she was going to name her doll, and the light bulb clicked on! She realized it was hers to keep forever and for always and then the smiles bursts forth!!
It was really special the way it worked out because we asked Louise, the headmaster, which classroom he wanted us to give out the dolls to. There was a group of girls that I had been especially drawn to all week and would play "ring around the rosie" with during our break time. Louise choose the first-grade classroom and as "luck" would have it, that was the class that had "my girls" in it. :) So I was secretly excited that they were the ones who got to have the dolls.
After I had left the classroom and the children had been dismissed for the day, the little girl in the picture below (on the left) shyly walked up to me and quietly asked:
"Tiene otra muneca para mi hermana?"
(Do you have another doll for my sister?)
Her sister bashfully walked up from where she had been standing a little off in the distance. How could I say no to either of these sweet faces?? Thankfully I did have a few extra and so each sister got to go home with a new friend that afternoon.
It was so sweet of that big sister to be looking out for her little sister and this picture is one of my favorites from the entire trip. I can't look at it and not smile. Hopefully you'll feel the same way too when you look through all these pictures and find joy knowing you helped to create these smiles!