August 2, 2011
This past weekend, Paraguay celebrated Friends Day. They actually call it Worldwide Friends Day, and no one believes you if you say that it's really not celebrated all over the world. But here in PY, it's big stuff. Think Valentines Day, with all those kids exchanging cards in their classrooms, then turn that into a grown-up affair where adults are exchanging cards, notes, and chocolates, and they draw names at work and in their extended families.
Here at Hogar Ganar, those adults living or working on the campus drew names to exchange tokens of friendship. This morning we all met for cake and coffee (yum yum!), and then the fun started. It went a little somethin' like this: We're all standing or sitting in a circle around the central food table, when Maintenance Supervisor Milciades steps forward to tell a little something about his "Invisible Friend" (aka secret pal). I couldn't help but think of Kip in Napoleon Dynamite, when he describes Lafonda to his brother..."sandy blond hair," etc etc. So Milciades gives this little riddle, everyone looks around, mentally guessing who that might describe, and he declares that it's ME. He hands me my little gift--perfectly wrapped because EVERY store here, no matter if it's a grocery store, a little fruit stand, a clothes shop, whatever!, every store wraps their purchases free of charge, complete with a little bow. The proper giving of a gift is very important here. Back to our story.
Since I just received my gift, I then say a little something about my invisible friend, who then says something about his invisible friend, and the cycle continues until all have been gifted and flattered. (You really try to say something positive about the person you're describing...) I was really praying Dana would draw my name, because she made peanut butter balls and drizzled chocolate over them, for her lucky friend. But Milciades hooked me up right, and he was happy to have my name. Good old Milciades cut the tip of his right thumb off early a couple of mornings ago. Ken ran him to the ER for stitches, and I've been changing his dressings. He really appreciates it because I try to be gentle and not rip the guaze off, like they do at the ER, his other choice for dressing changes. I guess he felt good to give something back, so to speak, because he shopped around for a long time to pick out "just the right wallet" for me, he said.
All in all, it was a really neat morning, and a cool tradition. I think it helped the staff all get to know each other a little better, and acted as a sort of morale booster, a la The Office. :) Before ending, Sara had prayer for all who were there, and thanked everyone for the work they do for the children of Hogar Ganar. So maybe next year this time, you can celebrate Friends Day (it is worldwide, you know!) and let me know how it turns out.