One Week- One Life Changed

By Brittany Simpson

When I was thinking about what I wanted my last speech to be about, I was so lost. I figure y’all already know by now that basketball is my passion. I was thinking about my other passions, and as I sat at my computer I looked around my room for inspiration. My eyes fell on a picture of me and a little girl named Dolce. Dolce is an orphan in Mexico who I fell in love with. When I was in 9th grade, I had signed up to go on a mission trip to Mexico with my church over spring break. However, about a week before we were supposed to leave I got a boyfriend, and the thought of being away from him for a whole week was devastating. But the entire trip had already been paid for. I had no choice. The drive there was an adventure in itself. We took vans and piled as many people as we can into each. I won’t go into detail, but you can imagine with closed quarters, tight spaces, and a bunch of 13 and 14 year olds- it was a long trip. We finally got there and got all settled in and headed to the orphanage where we were to work in order to meet the kids. The moment I got there, Dolce stood out from the group. She seemed very shy and excluded from the other children. Her legs looked the size of my arms, yet something about her drew me in. That day we just got to play with the children and get to know them. I spent the whole time with Dolce. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone and not even understand them. She didn’t know any English and my knowledge of Spanish extended to “Hola, como se llama?”- hello, what is your name. We figured out our own language using various hand motions and drawings in the dirt. Dolce loved soccer, basketball, swimming, and Jesus. She followed me everywhere that entire week. She even joined me in prayer walks, which is when you walk around, anywhere, it doesn’t matter, until you see someone and ask “How can I pray for you?” We had translators with us of course or else we would just look like crazy Americans holding their hands talking to the ground. Every morning I couldn’t wait to get to the orphanage to see Dolce’s beaming face come running towards me. Every afternoon I hated leaving her, knowing she would be spending the night on a blanket on the ground while I was comfortably sleeping in my air mattress. Dolce made it impossible to be sad. Here was this little girl who had no family, no home, no money, virtually nothing, had every reason in the world to be bitter about life, yet always had a smile on her face. She would get so excited to get a sticker or bubbles. When snack time came, every day it never failed, she would offer me part of her snack. It amazed me how much stronger this 6 year old orphan was than me. The last day was the hardest day. I will never forget the moment I had to say goodbye to Dolce. I was fighting back tears as she hugged me tight, and said with a very heavy accent “I love you.” If I could have, I would have taken Dolce home with me in a heartbeat. She taught me so much about life and how much I take for granted. Even though it was only a week, that week changed my life forever.