This post is for all of my family and friends who have been to Panama and come to know Minga, Gloria, and their families.
When the time of our departure approaches, Gloria always becomes a little emotional. She talks about the life-changing event our coming to the village has been. Interestingly, she doesn’t talk about the money I pay her, or the financial gifts my guests leave behind — although those are important and have made a crucial difference, sometimes a lifesaving one, for her family. She doesn’t talk about the tangible gifts either, although those are also valuable and appreciated — Legos for her grandchildren, clothing, things like that.
She always begins with the same two things. We embrace her in public, and we invite her to sit at the table and eat with us.
We give her dignity, instead of treating her like a servant who should remain invisible when she is not working.
That’s the real gift: Dignity.
Think about it. I am.