..you know you're in Argentina when...
Everyone is amazed that you (a girl) are playing soccer. Yeah, yeah, I've mentioned this before, but this is significant. You see, last Friday, the older boys of Las Violetas came during the middle of soccer time. While Cleto and Adam were playing with the young'ns. After a few minutes, apparently the boys just entered into the middle of the soccer court (because it's made of cement) and started bullying the young ones until they left. Discouraged.
About three fourths into our playing time today, the same pre-teen and teens entered the club.
I was on the sidelines at this point, serving some mate. Adam had mentioned how last week the boys wanted mate, and I am getting more and more used to serving it not only at home, but with my gals in the institute. So I brought my mate, bombilla, some sugar and the house thermos with water prepared.
It actually makes me laugh, thinking about the walk over. Two of the younger boys, Johnny and Colorado (as is his nickname, given for his red hair), walked with me. Johnny, ever so curious,
"Seño, me gustan tus ojos. Son tuyos? Son reales?"
"Teacher," he was saying. "I like your eyes. Are they yours? Are they real?"
"Of course," I tell him.
They both looked at my thermos, and started asking if I had brought mate.
"But isn't the water cold?" they asked.
"No, I boiled the water just before coming here!"
Johnny then said I was beautiful, but I couldn't tell if it was from the eyes or because of the fact that I brought mate.
But there we were, about an hour later. Older boys making their way. They saw me and paused, looking at each other, looking at me.
"Dame uno?" says one.
"Serve me the mate."
They sat next to me on the sidelines. They refrained from bullying the kids, and instead waited their turn to play. I know it has everything to do with God being gracious to us, and partly to do with their incapacity to comprehend a girl, from the States, playing soccer and serving mate. They began to ask me lots of questions in between game play and after.
Then there was David, who abandoned his team at one point just because we were out of water. While I feared I might have to pay for a new house thermos, he came running back a few minutes later. "Can I serve the mate now?" he shouted.
Like I said, you know you're in Argentina when...
post dato: it was an additional blessing to get to pray for them in the end. One of the older boys was behind me while I prayed, smoking a cigarette. I then explained to them how I am selling bracelets to help a friend pay for a crib for her baby coming soon. Precious Johnny said he would buy one as soon as he came up with the money. "Come and explain to my mom why you are selling them, and maybe she will help me!" he said. I was just happy to see where he lives and meet his mom. Who knows what that sort of encounter might lead to...