Friday afternoon I experienced a brief but meaningful encounter. I had lost my voice and was feeling a bit under the weather, so I left El Arca a few hours early. When I got home, it occurred to me that I could prepare myself chamomile tea with honey and lemon to help my throat heal. Fortuitously, I had bought honey the day before, and although I had not bought lemons, one of the perks of volunteering at Santo Sacramento is access to the lemon tree in the courtyard. Fortunately, the lemons are currently at the end of their semiannual cycle and are thus ripe for picking!
I climbed the tree in my quest for the perfect lemon, and as I perused the selection, I saw Claudio (member of Santo Sacramento and friend of El Arca) come out of one of the classrooms where alternative primary school sessions take place during the week (Santo Sacramento provides space for government-paid classes directed toward students who could not finish primary school the first time around). I waved to him and got down to say hi. He asked me “what were you doing up there?” and gave me a big bear hug. I explained that I was picking out a lemon, and when he heard me talk he asked “what happened to your voice?” I laughed, because he was the third person to make fun of my silly laryngitis voice that day, but of course in good sport. I told Claudio that his friends at El Arca sent him greetings as always and had just asked me if he was doing well. He responded in the affirmative, so I have good news to bring back to El Arca on Monday.
Claudio then returned to his studies and I went off to make my tea. It was a brief encounter, but so delightful and unexpected, as if it were a surprise arranged for Claudio and me by God. I think the simple moments such as this one will be among the most memorable when I look back on my year as a YAGM.