(Photo courtesy of her big sister who wants to be a photographer.)
Alisia and her 3 older siblings live in Chixolis where we deliver food each week. Whenever the see the 15 passenger vans drive through they run outside yelling my name. I yell back for them, and they latch onto my side proudly trailing the group throughout their village.
Alicia and her siblings are being raised by their widowed grandmother in a simple house with no electricity and one shared bed. They have been abandoned and are normally cared for by whatever neighbor is around because their grandmother is old and has bad vision.
But they are my friends now.
Every week we bring them extra cookies along with their weekly food basket and every week they take me around introducing me to new friends and teaching me about the plants they grow. I teach them new English words and encourage them to be whatever God wants them to be. They tell me about their favorites ice cream and warn me about how to avoid the dogs. We laugh together as we walk hand in hand and take funny pictures, pausing to pray for a neighbor or a friend.
Last week before we said good-bye they told me that I'm no longer a gringa- a foreigner. They told me that I may be lighter than them, but they accept me as one of them.
That's what friends do.