Furlough for the Smith's means that I have the pleasure of having two neighborhood girls come and spend their Saturday mornings with me (normally spent with the Smith family). We usually bake some type of dessert and play Clue. This past Saturday, was particularly busy with the girls coming in the morning, a library event in the afternoon, and Alfredo's graduation in the evening. In addition to all these planned events, I had to find time to bake cupcakes for Sunday morning, because Sunday was Rosa's birthday. In an effort to save time, and give the girls a chance to do something special for someone else, they helped bake the cup cakes. I had chosen carrot cake, because we would be eating the cupcakes so early in the morning, around 8 am, and I wanted something that at the very least sounded nutritious. Carrot cake is a bit more labor intensive than some other types of cake, because one must peel and grate the carrots. The girls were diligent and peeled and grated six cups of carrots for the cake (I doubled the recipe), mixed the ingredients, and meticulously filled the muffin pan. When the cupcakes were done, we of course sampled our treats, and the girls agreed they had done an excellent job!
On Sunday morning, I took the cupcakes out to Naranjal for Rosa's birthday. Rosa is one of the children that attends my weekly Bible class along with her sister Ana Maria. Rosa is shy, and generally doesn't speak or answer questions unless asked directly, but when I look in her eyes, behind the quiet demeanor, I see a young girl who takes joy in hearing the Bible story each week and doing the activity whether it be coloring a picture, which they all love to do, or a crossword puzzle (when she copies off her older sister). Several weeks back when the children and I were all talking after the lesson, I asked when everyone's birthdays were. Rosa's of course was only a few weeks away. There are so many things these children lack, running water and electricity being among the most obvious, and so it seems even more important to me to make sure that they have special days, and that those special days are truly special. So this Sunday after the Bible lesson, we all sang 'Happy Birthday' to Rosa and had cupcakes. When I handed Rosa her cupcake, there was a smile on her face and joy in her eyes, and it was clear to anyone who looked at her, that she felt how special she really was.