Smiles are Contagious

July 6, 2017

From the blog of our president and CEO, Buddy Teaster

I love this picture. Not of me, but of those two smiling faces behind me. They were genuinely intrigued by my gray hair, which was the first time that had happened. And after a few of the kids saw that I was ok with it, a couple more had their curiosity get the better of them and they decided to join in. A joyous, spontaneous moment that got us past the language and cultural barriers with a smile.

What you don’t see behind us is 200 more kids who just finished lunch. They eat at about 3 P.M. in order to get them through the night because, for some, it is their only meal of the day. Wow.

I’ve thought about that a lot in the week I’ve been back. Timing when I eat because I probably won’t have another meal for 24 hours later is something that doesn’t ever figure into how I plan my day. Yet these kids think that way every day. Still, they sing like you would not believe as their meal is served…showing the same love of life that you see in this picture.

When I saw and heard these 200 kids sing their hearts out, knowing how hungry most of them were, I took a moment to marvel at the complexity of two different things being true at the same time…joy and poverty, friendship and hunger, us and them.

So I hope you enjoy the picture…my family sure has. And I hope you keep in mind what you’re not seeing. Then please help us make the story a simple one: one that’s about joy, friendship and an “us” that really includes everyone.