Today, Julie & I were walking down a Delmas 75 road on our way back to the house from visiting the girls' home. I held a cupcake hidden within my pocket. It was cradled carefully in the palm of my hand out of sight of the many desperately poor Haitians we would pass during our walk through the neighborhood. The cupcake was to be my dessert later that evening back at the guesthouse that Julie and her husband manage for us.
Unexpectedly, a woman who is a seller of the occasional turnip, egg, or radish rushed out from beneath the rag that covers her tiny stand exclaiming in childlike exuberance, "Mwen bon fet! Mwen karant fet!" (It's my fortieth birthday!) We were startled, but paused to congratulate and embrace her although we don't even know her name. But she's a regular on that spot, and the tent she lives in with her children is just on the other side of the wall. It says a lot about Julie that her warmth and humor have attracted even this humble tent dwelling vendor who knew Julie would be just as happy as she was herself over the good news of her fortieth birthday.
What were the odds that I would happen to have - at that very place, at that very moment in time - one perfectly formed, fresh from the oven, chocolate on chocolate, with colored sprinkles cupcake that I could pull out of my pocket and place in her hand? I will never forget the look on the face of this sweet woman who has seen so much deprivation. Baked goods are a rarity in Haiti, and few people have ovens, so this must have seemed a miracle to her. Do these Americans all travel with beautiful cakes concealed in their pockets? What a God we have who orchestrates such amazing, hilarious moments like this.
Earlier in the day, after much instruction and a few trials and errors, Stephanie and Dawine, two of the older of our seventeen girls, made their first ever four dozen cupcakes. Hopefully, this may be just the beginning of a future HUG a Child Girls' Home Boulangerie (bakery). I wish they had been on the road with us this afternoon to see just how very special a cupcake can be.