Saturday, September 6, 2014

I don’t know why it’s taken us this long to realize it, but the way to a kid’s heart is through some balls. No, not like that you pervert. Pelotas!

One of our favorite activities has become buying a handful of inflatable balls and taking them to the local park to give away. We instantly become the most popular folks in town, and playing with the kids is such a fun and entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

We stumbled upon this realization like most, accidentally. After spending an entire afternoon eating ice cream and watching some hilarious kids play soccer in the street, their ball popped and ruined the fun for everyone. We decided to go buy them a replacement, but by the time we returned they were gone. So we scoured the streets for another child to give the ball to. And when we did, he was SO excited. And so grateful. It was so touching, we vowed to do it again any chance we got.

In the tiny town of Santa Cruz, nestled in the hills overlooking the lake, we came across some kids playing in a puddle with two toy boats. One boat was made out of a smashed 2-liter bottle of Pepsi. The other, out of a Styrofoam to-go tray. They trudged through the puddles quietly with their makeshift toys. These kids needed some balls. As luck would have it, the tienda around the corner had a half dozen of them hanging in the corner. We’ll take ‘em!

The kids rushed us when they saw us coming, shouting cries of “Pelotas!” and leaping in the air ecstatically. I seriously almost got tackled. A fierce game of keep-away and general soccer-type mayhem ensued.

Before we left, each and every kid came up to us, individually, unprompted, to thank us. And if that wasn’t enough to melt our hearts, they treated us to their best soccer-team pose.

"Everyone say BALLS!"

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