December 12

Dear Diary,
This is the season of miracles, as Padre Ignacio reminds us in church. So I thought it was time for me to try making a miracle of my own. The children have been coming every day to the courtyard for the past week. I asked Lucero if she would help me with the bucket and setting up the tables, and now she is here just before closing. Mama gave her one of my old dresses to wear, and a pair of rubber sandals. Gabriella helped her braid her hair into a tail. Lucero is very shy, and sometimes I’m afraid she will not come—but so far, she has.

This time, we brought out dough and filling to the courtyard. Mama asked the children if they would like to learn how to make empanadas. She also brought cookie cutters and some icing knives. A tall, angry boy named Sandro spit on our tree. “Is this a trick?” he hissed. “Now you want us to work for you?” There was a grumble from the other children. Two of the younger girls whispered to each other. But Mama stood calm and smiled.

“We’re asking if you want to learn something about food,” I told Sandro. “This is no trick. How do you think we know how to make things in the bakery? Someone taught us.”

Sandro just twisted his face. “I know everything I need to know, cerdito,” he told me. Cerdito means “little pig,” so he wasn’t being very nice.

Lucero flew at him like an angry cat. “You are the cerdo here, Sandro!” she yelled, “To eat their food and then call them names!” Sandro put up his hands—I think he was as surprised as I was—and backed away from her. Then he frowned and spit again on the ground, and turned away. He walked out of the courtyard in silence.
Lucero turned to the other children. “Who is too cowardly to make cookies?”

“Will we get to eat them?” asked one boy.

“Tomorrow, when they have been baked,” nodded Mama. And that was all. Everyone washed up and soon the courtyard was quiet but for the little noises of rolling dough, spooning fruit, and cutting cookies. Now and then someone giggled.

Diary, I was muy contento. So pleased!

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