I had this great idea, one that would put smiles on all their faces, one that would communicate love and generosity. They’d look at me and think how kind I was to give them something so special, something I assumed they very rarely got to taste: apples! Apples don’t grow in most of Mozambique but are imported from South Africa. They cost about $3.00 a kilo. Most of the kids on the street are obviously poor. So, I was going to be the good fairy and bring them a special treat. I imagined they wished for apples every day, that the crisp, sweet taste of a juicy apple was the one thing they were craving. How good it felt to be able to be the one to bless them with apple slices! I was hoping the whole gang would be out there, and I pictured them jumping up and down, cheering, running to tell anyone who hadn’t shown up yet, “Guess what! She brought apple slices for us! Come right now so you can have one, too!” Yes, it would feel good.
I was so excited that they would get to eat apples today! I watched the children take tentative bites. A kid or two passed their pieces to someone else. Others just held them in their hands, not sure what to do. It dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, they had not waited all their four, five, and six-year-old lives to taste an apple. Maybe my “treat” was not a treat after all. Instead, it was something foreign and new and unusual.
As I trudged back home, I realized how my pride in the rich people’s food had clouded my understanding. I was rather ashamed of myself. But it was a good lesson for me. Maybe next time, I’ll bring real treats––some roasted peanuts or a bread roll or two. Maybe next time it will be something familiar and known and common … a blessing after all.