It was a long, hard, hot day of searching for shoes for each child I came in contact with. It was shoe and dental day in a small mountain village on Day 2 of Honduras.
The small tiny church we were in was not air-conditioned and it was filled to the brim with kids and adults whose shoes were too small and/or full of holes. We did our best to keep up with them, but it seemed for every child we found a pair of shoes to fit there were ten more begging for a pair.
I saw her from the very back of the room. She slowly made her way up the line, smile on her face the.whole.time. She was gorgeous. She was also alone. No parents, no older siblings, just her sweet smiling face. And when she made it up front, she was mine to fit. Of course, she is the one size of shoe that we were running completely out of. And it's the end of the day. I took her battered flip flop and compared it to countless other brand new shoes, all of which were one size too small or six sizes too big. Finally, a pair of pink tennis shoes (they call them "tennies") surfaced. I slipped one on her foot.
She grinned that large grin that I had come to love already and said in beautiful baby doll Spanish "Gracias amiga!"
"De nada!" I replied, grinning right back.
Then we were hooked. She didn't leave my side. She had already gotten her shoes and her candy and her jewelry and all the other little things we were handing out that day. It didn't matter, she just wanted to hold my hand. She just wanted to be talked to and tickled and I was more than happy to oblige. She probably told me her name 27 times, but I never understood what she said. It didn't matter. She was already unforgettable.
The pure joy of some candy and a pair of shoes.
That precious little girl living in the mountains of Honduras.
She will not be forgotten.