The clothing room of a Catholic Charities Refugee Welcoming Center would not be a likely place to play with dolls…but the pale, thin, perhaps 6-year old-girl from Honduras who spoke no English found a way. La Chiquita (little girl) spied a naked and abandoned Barbie doll at the bottom of a large box of donated clothing. She looked at the doll and then at me. I nodded and smiled as she pulled the poor dolly out of the box. A small stack of fabric, ribbon, netting, and other scraps along with some safety pins had been tossed in a heap near my post of service. So, I proceeded to clothe the doll with bits of the remnants. Happily, apparently satisfied with the doll’s wardrobe, Chiquita wandered off as I continued to search for a shirt that might be close to the size of her brother. Within moments, my version of the doll’s wardrobe was pulled off and Chiquita went to one of the other volunteers in the room showing her the naked doll and a new wardrobe was created. A third and fourth volunteer each took a turn at designing clothing for Chiquita’s Barbie. To the child’s delight, no one refused to play dolls that afternoon. The room was hot, the used clothing had a distinct odor, people burrowed through stacked of used clothing as we kept to our jobs while creating new styles of Barbie… So, when was the last time you played dolls with a child?
By Judy Kramer, OSB