Today, Carlos and I set up three little tables in the courtyard behind our bakery. There is a fountain there, bright flowers, and a shady tree; it’s very peaceful on a warm afternoon, you can hear white doves cooing from a rooftop and the sound of the water falling into its basin.
Mama and Papa gave me permission to bring the street children to our courtyard after the bakery closes. So when they showed up, I made them follow me. Lucero was there, too, and her eyes went wide when she saw the tables. I had put daisies in little glasses on each one, and a pile of bright paper pañales (napkins). Mama came out, tying on her apron because she had just gotten dressed for work.
I pointed to a big metal bucket of soapy water, which Carlos had carried out, and told the children, “You must first wash your hands and faces if you want something to eat.” No one moved. The boys crowded together and rolled their eyes, like frightened dogs. Then Lucero took a step forward, and another, and walked to the bucket. She dipped her hands in the warm water and washed them, then splashed water on her face. Mama gave her a pañales to dry off with, then whispered for Lucero to take a chair at one of the tables. Gabriella brought out warm bread and pork empanadas, and Mama poured Lucero a glass of fruit juice.
The courtyard turned into a flood of boys trying to wash their hands and faces! I wanted to laugh, but bit my tongue to stop it; they must not think I make fun of them.