New Year’s Day 2016

My typical New Year’s Day celebration involves family and friends coming to my house for dinner and dessert. I love seeing everyone, but this New Year’s Day was by far the best of my life. We were able to hand out shirts to all of the children and adults in the batey, in the most fun way possible with cheering and clapping and dancing. Afterwards, while we spent time with the kids outside, toys and gifts were set up inside the church for the kids. There were men dressed up as clowns, Santa, and an elf, which only made the kids more excited. There were a couple of games before handing out the gifts, but all of the kids were able to receive two toys. It was incredible to be able to see how excited and happy the kids were, even when they received a doll and a hula-hoop. IMG_9191.JPGAfter the toys were handed out, there was food for the people of the batey set up behind the school. It was the most incredible mix of emotions to watch everyone get food; I was so happy to help them since they were so hungry, but I also felt so sad that everyone was that hungry. Overall, it was the greatest feeling to be able to help these people in their time of great struggle. People lined up, but weren’t pushing others out of their way; they all knew that they would receive food and juice, so it was nice to see everyone stay calm instead of creating an aggressive mass of people. I spent my afternoon with two young girls, Andre and Diana, and when I met their siblings, it was incredible to see them all sharing their juice with each other, literally pouring it in each others’ mouths. There were 5 kids all ranging from about 2 to 7 years old and it was amazing to see kids with basically nothing so easily share with their family and friends. IMG_9192.jpg-Laura Merrick

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