Our next door neighbor is an open market where vegetables, meats, fruits, etc. are sold by venders at booths. There is always a hustle and bustle there as I look down from my second story kitchen window. I often ponder the lives of the families that work so hard from dawn to dusk selling their wares. Oh the stories I could tell of what I have seen.
Various members of the family work together managing a section of the market. Of the few dozen booths in the market the flower section is the most pleasing to the eye. The family that runs part of the flower section has many children. They are always running around playing. One such child is named Noelia. We know her because she is the age of my oldest daughter and used to come to church.
At the tender age of 8 she was given responsibilities that prevent her from attending children’s church. She has to help sell the flowers. They even arranged for her to have a little section all her own where she sells fresh squeezed orange juice. We asked her why she doesn’t come any more and she says it is because she has to work. Sure enough, she is working pretty much all the time.
Yesterday was the one day of the year designated for deep cleaning the market. All the venders put all their wares out on the sidewalk. It was so odd to see it so empty. Then they came in with pressure hoses and sprayed everything down, forcing all the dirty water to the little gavel ally between our building and the market turning it into a muddy mess. Most of the overflow went to the sewers. Thank God that we have a sewer system!
This was going on in the morning and my children found it interesting to watch. The people with the hoses seemed oblivious to the people scrubbing their booths and tables. Noelia was working with her family. The water came close to her and my daughter from up high yelled out, “Watch out Noelia!” What a contrast to see these two girls so physically close to each other, yet worlds apart.
Questions come to my mind. What does God dream for Noelia? Should I feel sorry for this little girl having to work so hard? How does she interpret the gospel in her life? Are we relevant to her?