For children all over the world the act of receiving a present is a special moment ... but for those who rarely (not to say never) receive any, it is even more special ...
The children in Calheta had been waiting for such a day for a while (as they had been told I would arrive Friday late in the evening) ... so the handing out of the presents was arranged for Saturday afternoon at Cutelo Miranda (where my "protégée" lives) and Sunday morning at Calhetona (where the ADEC school is located) and Manguinho (where Marie Hélène's "protégée" lives), as many of the children had to participate in the Carnival school parade over the weekend.
Marie Hélène and I walked all the way up to Cutelo Miranda on Saturday, 5 of March, where a few of the children (Leidina, her brother Elias, her sister and my "protégée Leinira, Simone and Artemisa) were already awaiting us at Nate's house.
On the way to Cutelo Miranda
Leidina looking at the "giraffe" Carla bought for her (Left). Wearing the new clothes Carla sent for her (Right).
Wearing a T-shirt sent by Gabriela (Left) and a new outfit I bought for her (Right).
Elias with the presents sent by Gabriela, still wearing his Carnival school outfit (Left). Wearing the new clothes (Right).
Leinira with the presents I bought for her (Left). Wearing the new clothes I bought for her forthcoming birthday (Right).
Simone with the clothes Surama sent for her and the doll Luisa bought (Left). Wearing one of her new outfits (Right).
Artemisa with the clothes bought by Cristina Marques and Manuela Reduto, as well as a doll offered by the gymn I attend, plus a small bag given by my colleague Cristina (Left). Wearing her new clothes and holding her first ever toys (Right).
It may be difficult for some of us to understand these children's joy as they get these small toys, particularly if they are 9 or 10 years old but the fact that most of them have never had a new toy does make a huge difference in the way they feel ... and the same can be said about the new clothes and the proud way in which they wear them ... it is undeniable they contribute towards their self-esteem.
Having created some sort of "bond" with Leinira and Elias' family (the one, distance has allowed us to), Gabriela and I decided to further buy some small presents for their older sisters, whose reaction was not too different from their younger siblings'.
Elisabeth wearing a T-shirt and a belt I and Gabriela bought for her respectively (Left) and a sexi blouse sent by Carla Brigida (Right).
Handing out presents in Africa leads me to having mixed emotions ... I share their happiness but there's always a feeling of sadness, as to why some of these children and adolescents should be allowed "special"moments like these so late in their lives ...