The other day in Spanish class we were talking about moments in our lives, you know those small ones, that have changed who we are and who we want to be. While working at Materno I met a boy who did just that.
I still remember the first time Dan and I talked about Juan. A maniac to the bone, he had colored every one of our coloring book pages YELLOW, as if he was trying to race to the end. After having met him, our encounters usually involved him idolizing Dan and mocking me. I could not help but laugh though and I loved him very much. Sadly, over the year I worked at Materno, he got worse after getting better. Until there came a point that his small 10 year old body couldnt take more chemo... We talked about raising money for Argentina.... we talked about a number of options all of which never happened or couldnt happen. A helplessness that I have felt often here which usually led us, Enrique, Dan and myself, to digging what money we could out of our own pockets.
He passed away last week and I cried... I thank God that he did not suffer as I have seen many others suffer.
The last time I saw him was at a Christian festival two Fridays ago. I went out to San Lorenzo to see him. What met me there was the same old Juan, which almost made it sadder. I knew he was dying but I did not realize how bad it was until only after about 10 minutes he could not stand anymore because his legs hurt so much. What amazed me about him and about many of the kids I have met facing the same situation is their strength and faith. He was not one to preach or push but had that simple kind of faith and a huge smile, as if things are not hopeless...no matter what the situation. We went to the front of the concert all together. He was crying and being carried. My heart just felt sad. I cannot explain. He managed to turn to me and smile probably in a futile attempt to keep me from crying. So that I would think he was ok. And when they asked us to put our hands in the air to feel the presence of God among us, he used what energy he had to raise his hands...
I told his mom today that I would never forget him. And I dont think I will. Raising my hands to God with Juan, praying with his family... I have never felt closer to a higher power. And never more determined!