The first time I went with a team to Rivers of Mercy Children's Home in Juarez, Mexico, we were asked to bake and decorate cupcakes for an outreach event they were holding for children in their community. The director pointed us to the kitchen and then left to teach school. The cook, Yolanda, was busy preparing lunch while we attempted to communicate with her about using the oven and locating the rest of the items we needed. Because of the language barrier and our assumptions that there were no cupcake tins, we ended up baking the cupcakes on sheet pans in paper liners. Anyone who has ever tried this before knows that once baked, the cupcakes are an assortment of odd shapes and quite unattractive.
Later in the week it was decided more cupcakes were needed for the event. I’ll never forget the feeling when we realized the cook had created beautiful, perfectly round cupcakes in the same kitchen we had used! What a humbling experience, but one that has stuck with me. Communicating when I don’t understand someone else’s language is hard work that requires patience and perseverance. But I have discovered it is more than worth it. Yolanda and I still can’t talk easily with each other, but sometimes understanding another person requires no words.
Becky Riley lives in Sanford with her husband, Rob. She is mom to Linea, Noah, Jared, Brian and Mercie. Becky is the School Age Child Care and Camp Director for Curtis Lake.