Barriga Llena

One of our workers returned to his work site after a hearty breakfast one morning saying,

Barriga llena ( full belly )
Corazón bueno. ( good heart )

He rubbed his belly in a circular motion and smiled. Very simply stated, he was now ready to work using all his creative energy and vigor. And work happily.

And yet a choice or act of will is not simple at all. The ‘will’ represents the power to select what we think on and how intently we focus on it. It is the executive center of the human self, or the ‘heart.’ “Corazón bueno” describes him very well.

A parallel story involves our trip out to the albergue in Pinal Villa two days ago when Ishmael, aged 14, read the “Oruga Hambrienta” ( or “The Hungry Caterpillar” ) to a small group of young kids. The little ones sat in a circle at his feet, their big eyes trained on him and the colorful book he held up. As most readers of children’s fiction will know, the caterpillar, after eating and eating and eating, finally becomes a butterfly. All mystery and magic aside, the hungry caterpillar eats an apple ( una manzana ), three strawberries ( tres fresas ) and a plum ( una circula ); the refrain Ishmael echoed so artfully, patting his belly after each article of fruit was consumed, was…”and he still wasn’t full..”, until the denouement – the transformation – when the oruga eats an entire leaf. Hijole! Una hoja entera!

The storyteller enjoyed the story mainly, I think, in the telling of it because he delivered it with such grace and pleasure. We enjoyed the children’s reactions and the look of pride in his mother’s eyes to see her son flourishing in a leadership role.

I’m glad I’ve chosen to be part of this project, this labor of love. Ishmael, for one, has a hope and a future. We endeavor to keep feeding him, and all the other little Ishmaels.

And us, the helpers? ‘Corazón lleno’ may describe it. I personally received a heart transplant that afternoon.