A Smile Is Priceless

 “Sometimes it is just about putting a smile on a face.”

I want to introduce you to Natalie. She is one child out of millions that live in extreme poverty; the only difference is that I know her, her family, and their struggles. Natalie just turned 11, she is the oldest with two brothers, Lewis and Emma, and a little sister, Leslie. Her mother, Anna Lee, makes tortillas to sell and earns from $2.00 – $5.00 per day. Her mother works long hours preparing the corn and making the tortillas before selling them. I have known this family for a number of years and at a very young age Natalie was in charge of taking care of her siblings: washing their clothes, giving them baths, making something for them to eat if they have food (other than a tortilla), and basically being the adult taking care of her brothers and sister while their mother is gone trying to make a semblance of a living. Natalie doesn’t get to belong to Brownies or Girl Scouts, have the latest cell phone or TV / DVD player, and there is no mall or movie theatre to visit. Today, May 3rd, is Natalie’s 11th birthday and there is no big birthday party either.
Natalie had reminded me in January that her birthday was May 3rd and that she had never gotten a gift before, and that she dreams of having a bicycle. As she was repeating this to me I entered this information into my phone calendar. When I first looked at my phone this morning there on the screen in bold letters it read, “Natalie’s Birthday – 11 – dreams of bicycle.”
Do they have enough food? NO!
Do they have enough money to keep the $4 per month electric or water bill paid? NO!
Some would say a bicycle would be frivolous with all the other needs.

IMG-20160503-WA0019 IMG-20160503-WA0014