ASAPROSAR Development Fund chairperson Nelda Quigley
led a group of volunteers to El Salvador in February
to paint the walls at the two Barefoot Angels centers.
Tony Constantino, a trip participant, wrote the following poem:
At one school when they asked our names, I
answered, "Tio Antonio, el Guapo"
- Uncle Tony, the Handsome.
After a momentary silent that lasted an hour
or so while they tried to equate the assertion
with the reality, their laughter echoed endlessly
off the cement block walls and raised the roof
at least two inches.
So I asked some of them their names, and when
one answered "Roberto," I corrected him:
"No, su nombre is Roberto el Inteligente." To Juan,
No, su nombre es Juan el Simpático," and to
María, "No, su nombre is María, la Guapa."
Well the idea spread faster than chocolate
melting under the Salvadoran sun!
Soon, everyone in our group -
and then in the entire class -
was "el Guapo" or la Guapa!"
I fought fiercely to suppress my tears
as my heart swelled to the size
of El Cinque and spewed not a river of lava but
gushed a torrent of joy.
I had brought no building, medical, computer, or
artistic skills to help these wonderful people,
these precious children. All I had to offer was
my smile and sincerity, my caring and compassion,
a heartfelt hug and handshake, and a mountain of
love. Maybe I had left them with a valuable lesson
- the notion that each is his or her own treasure of inestimable value.
I was certain they would remember Tio Antonio, el
Guapo; I was more hopeful they would remember the
lesson: regardless of whatever roadblocks Fate
might place in their paths throughout life, they
would always remember “Siempre positivo, siempre