From Spain they came… with so many presents!
On December 28 at 9:30 in the morning, after months of coordination and expectation, they arrived very punctually and directly from Spain. In Casita they were expecting them impatiently.
María Mejía Guerrero, her boyfriend César, friends and paisa family, unloaded a huge parcel at the entrance of La Casita de Nicolás, containing all kinds of implements for the honorees of each December: the children, this in order to carry out an activity coordinated during months with the administrative area.
Just seeing these visitors and hearing their foreign accents, the children knew that it was going to be a special day.
María is a Spanish speech pathologist and a researcher living in Madrid, head of the Speech Pathology Units of the Nascia and Medicae Medical Center clinics, in which she helps people with acquired neurological damage, stroke patients, brain tumors or accident survivors, who present difficulties with basic functions such as speech and hearing.
This Madrilenian knew about La Casita de Nicolás thanks to her relatives in Medellín. She had planned, as has been her custom for about 6 years, to travel to a country not only to know it, but to bring a little joy to those with fewer opportunities to have it.
“We are dedicated to travel the world and to know it and, as our baggage allows it, to help the children,” she explains. “When I travel to different countries, I see children with needs and I think ‘how can I not give a smile to this child?'”
The trips are made with help from the airline where her boyfriend César works. The airline is acquainted with the altruistic excursions of the couple and does their part to transport their load of gifts that goes to the people who, otherwise, could probably not have them.
This year though, María decided to do something new: to involve her patients and invite them to give what they considered could help the children in Medellín. Although she anticipated that the response wouldn’t be bad, she did not imagine the generosity from the families would be so great that a limit had to be put to it.
“The mothers were too generous,” she says. “We stopped, because I’m telling you, diapers kept coming. Diapers take a lot of space, and weigh a lot, and they kept coming. I bought a lot because I thought no one was going to provide them. And then everyone contributed and in the end we had to leave some behind because I was over my weight limit. “
“I was overwhelmed. I see 20 patients a day, and I went to bed every day at 3 in the morning sorting clothes, washing them, ordering them, managing what we needed “, she says. “I wanted every child to have a present. In the living room of my house were towers and towers of clothes. And every day more came. “
On October 24th they made their trip, arriving in Rionegro at around 11 o’clock at night. The migrant agent was not very happy with the 8 huge boxes brought by these tourists from Madrid.
“It was a quick process,” Maria says with a laugh.
With all this support, and her own initiative, she prepared a day to bring happiness to the children of La Casita Nicolás.
First, the screening of the movie Coco. And since La Casita does not have its own theater, it was the perfect time to improvise.
Before this, María’s little patients, authors of the great love behind the donations, sent a message for the Colombian children, through a video.
After these screenings followed a quick lunch, and after that the teachers, volunteers and other Casita staff gathered the children, from kindergarten to school, in the living room, guarded by the manger and a large Christmas tree, under which was, labeled with their name, the gift for each boy and girl.
In order, all the children received their Christmas present, as well as an instant photo as a souvenir of this visit.
The joy of these little ones is hard to describe. Many of them not only have had small material prosperity in their lives, but are also not familiar with the idea of having their own possessions, so it takes a few minutes to explain to them that the toy given to them is theirs, and that they should take care of it responsibly.
Digital watches, dolls, toy cars and trucks, puzzles and microphones were discovered under the blue and pink wrappings. The children began to enjoy them immediately, driving through the wooden floor, starting hairdressing sessions for the Barbies and asking the adults to set the time on their watches, and to teach them to read it. A very important lesson in solidarity, and above all, in gratitude.
And despite the positive impact of actions like this, there are critics. As Maria explains, there are many who think that, as individuals, they can do little.
“‘My friends tell me: ‘ You’re crazy! What are you doing, going with eight boxes to Colombia by plane? ‘”, she says.”They don’t believe in this, but then when they see the results they say ‘oh well, it does make a difference’.
This Spanish woman also shares her position in relation to the different social problems, to which hundreds of people can contribute by putting their two cents, no matter how small:
“Let’s be aware that, however little we can do, it’s a lot. Even if you can only bring a bag of candy to a child, maybe that child has not tasted candy in their life. Many people have told me: ‘What good is it if you go to Africa and bring balloons to a child?’ And I tell them: ‘Well, it helps me that that child, while they’re inflating that balloon even for a minute, are happy.’ “
“It is not in my hands to solve that child’s life, unfortunately, but if I can give them a minute of happiness, why not am I not going to? What little you can do, try it. Making small gestures, does help. It’s not as difficult as it seems, and it’s not as useless as it seems”.