Spring break 2013. “I can taste it.”

Posted on May 3, 2013 by Tree of Life

I can taste it? What in the world does that mean? Is it the great food, the hot chili, or the dulce (sweet) candy the we purchased in Mexico? I can taste it was better then all of that. Read on….

Well I am not talking about the great food that was prepared for the 23 person team. The cooks at Tree of Life were so awesome. We all would be up early and have potato and eggs prepared with love by the girls at ToL. Lunch was our big meal and it always was so good. The salsa was to die for. Fresh and home made every day for the visitors and the residence. Dinner was light, rice milk with cinnamon and sugar or maybe cookies from Denver. We ate every meal as one big family. The 23 of us and the 25 children at the home. All sitting together laughing, talking, sharing and listening. Never did a meal start without a prayer of thanks. Never was there assigned seating.

Maybe we could taste the weather?
We left on a very snowy morning and battled blizzard like conditions for 6 hours only to then battle high winds for 6 more hours until we reached the Children’s home. We battled wind for the 5 day trip. Doing construction work in the wind is hard. Re roofing roughly 3,000 square feet of the barn was even more difficult. Nothing more challenging then moving sheets of plywood in the wind. Dennis Veen who has never did blue collar work in his life NEVER QUIT. After all he was on a mission. Just to keep the record straight… Colorado team 1, Wind 0.

Maybe it was the trip to the supermarket. With the violence down we were able to go to town in the day time. All of us. So, like 50 of us descending upon S-Mart. What a sight we were each Colorado person was assigned to treat a child. We purchased Apple soda, chili salt, chips, gum, sweet bread, candy bars, shrimp cocktails and hair color. Hair color? How could I say no to my dear friend Angie at tree of life. After all she has come such a long way. When I met her years ago she was so withdrawn, never making eye contact. We have come a long way. She is comfortable enough to show her puppy dog eyes to me holding a package of hair dye. How could I refuse.

The taste of Victory.
Getting closer. 50 of us piled into the Orphanage’s school van. Off to the local arena soccer complex. No America vs Mexico, I learned that lesson years ago. But I did bring a ringer. Jared Zannon, a co-worker of mine made the trip. He was a 4 year soccer player at Metro State. He was accepted as one of their own. Always up for a game, could keep up with 17 year old kids who live for the game and he could score and pass.

I can taste College.
Yes, if higher education could ever have a taste it is here where most children never get through high school. In a town of unskilled labor a college education is rare. For the first time in the history of Tree of Life we will have children going to College!!! I talked to Tonyo, a young man who has overcome more challenges then I can recall. When we spoke, he told me that he wants to become an engineer. He said that he will be entering college at the University of Juarez. He was so proud of himself and he sees the possibilities of his future. He looked at me and said, ” I can taste it.”

I shook my head, knowing it has all been worth it.

We still need to support 3 other young adults entering college at Tree of Life who can taste it too.

Kevin P. Centola