|madi, rosibel, and brooke in front of tikal futura|
rosibel has been one of our closest friends for several years now. my girls have gotten extremely close with her since we moved to the village of Buena Vista. she is in and out of our home throughout the week. she comes by to hang out, sometimes for reading lessons, and sometimes to take a shower.
we talk with her about her value, about jesus, boys, and sex. no different than we talk to our own girls. last week, as i drove through BV, i saw rosibel behind a tienda talking to a boy. i pulled up, rolled down the window, and after saying hello to them both i told the boy "i will only give you one warning. be careful with this girl. treat her with respect. i love her like my own." nervously he responded, "no, no, we're just friends."
last year, it came up that rosibel didn't know how old she was. she guessed 13, but wasn't sure. we got her down to the Registry for National Citizens and were able to obtain her birth certificate. she was 15 years old. while we made the best of the moment by joking with her and laughing it off, the reality of not knowing your age by 2 years when you are that young left us feeling quite sad. her childhood had for the most part been stolen from her when her dad was killed. for years, she had already been living the life of a grown woman.
today rosibel turned 16. we asked her to come over so we could celebrate...
when she arrived we asked her if she had ever been to the capital (guatemala city). nope. how about if she'd ever gotten outside of her own village of Buena Vista/Magdalena? nope.
so we decided... today, rosibel was going to see and experience some new things!
first we went to pollo campero, which even though it is nothing more than fast-food chicken, it is the most talked about and longed-for restaurant in the world according to anyone living in Buena Vista!
we went to the big city. we went bowling, got ice cream, and picked out some earrings for a birthday present. some of her comments included "wow, where are all these people going?", and "i didn't know there were so many cars in guatemala."
we ate, hugged, played, and laughed. watching her walk around hopping between my wife and my girls - wrapping her arms around theirs - made me smile.
the experiences of climbing an escalator and rolling a bowling ball were precious to watch. saving her piece of chicken to take home and share with her family, even more precious.
at one point we were talking and i asked her if she was embarrassed when i pulled up and spoke to that boy. she responded with a smile, "no, i liked it."
she is a 16 year old girl who wants to feel special. i hope she felt special today.
because rosibel is as special as they come.