July 13, 2013: Due to some logistical problems—our usual host and some of the children were away, we couldn’t get rides for the rest—we decided to do something a little different. We brought gloves and bags, gathered up the children we found in the neighbourhood, and picked up garbage around the apartment building where we hold classes. They were so excited. “I’ve never picked up trash before!” one of them exclaimed. They did a great job of it, each one of them going out of their way to fill up their bags before tossing them into the bins nearby. All the while we talked about keeping our shared spaces clean, taking care of our planet, and above all, the importance of service, noting how wonderful people would feel when they see that the neighbourhood is clean and garbage-free.
After the cleanup was done (and we dunked our bags in the garbage bin, NBA style) we surprised the children by taking them to the local corner store for popsicles. I don’t even have to say how excited they were—you can guess. It was only fair though, seeing as the weather was getting close to 30 degrees Celsius (86 F). The best part? As we were walking back to their apartment building, we pointed out to them how excited they were to pick up trash, without even knowing that they would be getting popsicles at the end—that they had shown enthusiasm for service, regardless of rewards. We asked them, would they consider picking up trash again, even without the popsicles? “Yes,” they answered in unison.
Gems, gems, everywhere, sparkling and bright. What a joy it is to help uncover them.