The Nicaraguan sun littered abstract morning shapes on the dirt floor of the shack.
Maria shuffled to the corner and put her dirty little dress on backwards. Her tummy hurt. The Big Animal with lots of teeth had her tummy in its mouth and was slowly biting. She stumbled outside to look for Mama. She hoped Mama was stoking a fire under the pot. Fire meant food. Food meant the Big Animal would quit biting her tummy.
Mama was walking with the Big Bucket of water on her head. Mama is very beautiful except for her eyes. They look like dark nights at the end of the dry season.
Maria heard the creak of the metal gate at The Big Compound where the Americanos stayed. Soon, young Americanos and her friends would play a game of baseball with a tennis ball and a stick.
Maria spotted a Big Man. He was much bigger than Papa. Papa told her the Americanos expected little children to beg. Maria ran to him and started to pat his front pocket. But his pocket didn’t jingle. Maria asked with her eyes if she could have his shoes. Papa could take them to the market and trade them for beans and rice.
But the Big Man shook his head no. Jimmy, the interpreter, said, “No, necessito.”
Maria pointed at his watch. He gave it to her!
Maria pointed at his hat. She giggled when he showed his baldhead. “No, necessito.”
Maria held out her arms to be picked up. The Big Man looked like a Grandpa and she knew Grandpa men were generous. The Big Man was sweaty with the tropical heat. She liked his mustache. She rubbed his face with her hands. The Big Man put his lips together tightly. Maria liked the Big Man. Did he have kids? Yes, they are playing with the other children.
Maria felt the Big Animal bite her tummy again. She threw her arms around the Big Man’s neck and whispered in his ear.
“Feed me. I’m starving.”
The Big Man started to cry. Maria had never seen a man cry before. She jumped down and ran inside.
The Big Man mumbled to himself. She giggled when he said adios. He went back to The Compound. Later that day, Jimmy brought back an envelope. Mama began to cry. She could buy food!
Maria might never know what the Big Man mumbled to himself that day on the street. He was making a promise to himself and to God to dedicate the rest of his life to feed hungry people. What she did know was that the Big Animal wasn’t going to bite her tummy anymore.
One whisper changed his world.
One whisper can change yours.
Have you heard a whisper? What does it sound like? When did it happen? What did you do? I’d like to know! Please tell me and let’s change the world together.