22 Aug Kindness Rocks: Weaving Friendships (Beyond the Beans: Ecuador 2019)
In this week’s post, Sarah Cooper (Sarah Rachael Photography) takes us Beyond the Beans once again to continue the story of the kindness rocks placed around Ecuador by Serina and Sarah during their travels.
It is amazing the power that sharing even small things with strangers has in bringing us together, creating community, and forging new friendships between young and old and across cultures. We are so excited to share these memories with the Dublin community, and together with you, find ways we can continue to strengthen the bonds between our Dublin “family” all over the globe.
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful and underrated agent of human change.”
One more #kindnessrocks story, with an added twist of friendship bracelets that led us to some awesome connections.
One of our many stops was in the village of Sozoranga whose income relies heavily on the success of its local coffee farm – Olinka Velez’s Coffee Farm!
The moment we stepped foot out of our van and onto the cobblestone streets we could feel their hope, excitement …
We were greeted by so many people in the town as they had been expecting our arrival. They took us on a tour of their church – all the way to the top of the steeple to ring the bells and see the town from above. It was breathtaking.
They pinned us with an American/ Ecuadorian flag pins. They brought out their elders and lined them up to meet us and share their knowledge with us. They dressed up in their most beautiful gowns. Performed a dance they had worked so hard to coordinate and invited us to join in.
They brought the mayor to speak to us and express their gratitude for our arrival and share with us what purchasing their coffee would mean for them. They gathered around us and showed us so much welcoming and love – to complete strangers and foreigners.
It was a beautiful thing… something we could all learn from.
Their oldest and most respected elder was so eager to share his stories with us. We did not speak the same language but smiles, hugs and small touches went a long way. He spoke so passionately as he invited all 7 of us into the small four stoned walls of his home. He was excited to show us his most prized possession – a coin collection. He told stories that we wished we could understand. He passed around his most valuable coins for all of us strangers to hold and touch – because he believed in us and trusted us without ever having met us before. Not something you often find in the states.
Afterwards, we felt through our bags and found a few kindness rocks left to spread. We felt a calling from this little village to leave some love behind since they had showered us with so much. We set them on a fountain in the center of town, right outside of the church and left a rock on each step. Shortly after the welcoming ceremony we noticed a group of young children curiously coming out to join the fun. They saw the rocks, pointed to them, touched them, but did not know what to do with them. We asked someone to interpret for us – “please let them know we left the rocks for them. They may keep them.”
The children’s faces lit up and they each grabbed one. Sarah had made some friendship bracelets to bring along and share with children as we met them – she called the children over and offered them a bracelet. Because of the language barrier they were skeptical at first. By pointing to our own and handing them each one they understood that they were a gift. Their faces lit up even more as they called their friends and siblings over to choose their own.
There was a sudden connection – the children, first curious, were now trusting and playful. They wanted us to play hand clapping games, sing songs and dance with them. We had a hard time understanding each other but we shared so many laughs and smiles and built a trust there in a short time. We connected on dancing and hand clapping games and a lot of laughter.
One little girl invited us back to her ‘casa’ and wanted to show us how she could ride her bike through the town.
While we wanted to stay and play with these beautiful children all day, we had to move on to visit the coffee farm we had come to see.
Before leaving, we learned that these children do not attend school – they just call it ‘school of life’…. It got us thinking even more about spreading kindness and what we could do to help. The unique way Dublin purchases coffee beans from the farmers helps to sustain the families and bring income into the villages; but what can we do for these children and an education? Maybe, if we work together, with the help and kindness of all of you, we can figure out how to give to the children of this village?
We are open to ideas and suggestions!
It was hard for us to leave them but that memory will always hold a special place in our hearts.
How children can so easily trust and form connections – all because of some rocks and string… is a beautiful thing.
If only we could all let down some of those walls and “just be”…
Unexpected kindnesses can really make a change for humans – across the world…
Let’s go Beyond the Beans and spread that kindness like confetti!