Señora del Campo was very interested in our classes for the street children. After dinner, we went back to the big room and sat on the couches. Tomas brought coffee and thick hot chocolate spiced with chili pepper. The señora wanted to hear from Sandro about living on the streets and anything he knew about the children we were helping. Lucero also helped to answer questions. We didn’t say anything about the bad boys and the break-in trouble.
“It must be hard for those children to go back to the streets after your kindness,” said Señora del Campo.
“I always fear for them,” said Mama, “even though some are staying at the casa for now.”
“And you must be tired trying to run a bakery and teach classes and also feeding them after work,” she added.
It was true. All of us were feeling the way our days filled up, especially now that school had started.
“The part that worries me the most is whether they will stay,” said Sandro. “What can they do with their little knowledge about baking? How long will they want to do this? Some are so young, it will be years before they can become bakers themselves.”
Señora del Campo nodded. “Education is so important, and it keeps them busy. But safety, shelter, food, medicine…so many things are at risk when you live on the streets, si? There are many bad paths a child can take, so many mistakes that lead to tragedy.”
I blinked. I thought I saw something deeper and sadder in the señora’s face. I searched for Tomas, and he, too, had his eyes down as if remembering something painful.
“And yet,” she continued, “if they were to have rooms of their own, in a place where they could be safe and cared for…and a school for their baking lessons…”
My father’s mouth hung open. “Señora del Campo, are you…could you be thinking of such a use for your home?”
There was a long silence. In it, Señora del Campo looked at each of us; it was a little like being stared at by an owl, fierce and sharp enough to know your very heart.
“I might be…” she said. “If you are interested, too.”
“Madre de Dios,” whispered Gabriella, “you have sent an angel to us…” and she crossed herself.
Lucero was jiggling a little bit, from excitement, I thought. Sandro’s face was lit up like a candle. I felt tears coming, Diary, and I had to remember to breathe. What could this mean? How could this happen?