There is nothing more joyous than watching a child’s face light up during the telling of a story. Today we had the opportunity to light up the faces of about 300 children! This morning we Gringos donned masks and enacted stories skillfully read by Reading Village youth leaders, something they do for three hours every week during the four years they are in the Leaders and Readers program.
Afterwards it was announced that the children could grab one of the many books placed around the room, and excited chaos ensued as the children sprinted towards the books and formed small circles with their friends and youth leaders, and we tucked ourselves in to share in the fun.
This was our last day in Chuiquel, and we closed our time together with a beautiful ceremony. Gathered together in a circle around a candle and dried ears of white, yellow, red and black corn, we took time to reflect on our experiences over the past few days, and then we each planted a seed in soil to represent all that had been planted in Chuiquel during our time together. Returning our focus to the candle in the center, Reading Village Community Facilitator Ismael Pecher explained that Reading Village literacy is the light of life, and each year the teens begin the program by their own lighting candles and stating their commitments to bring the light of literacy into their communities. In solidarity we each did the same, lighting our candles and making commitments to take what we had learned out into the world.
Together, we finished by raising our lit candles to the center, and declaring, “Transforming lives through literacy!” There was not a dry eye in the house as we hugged and said our farewells.