by Shae Williams
I’ve fallen in love with everything about a small community in Peru called San Juan de Lurigancho. It holds a huge place in my heart so it isn’t so “small” for me. All of the traditions and events I’ve been welcomed into has made my heart so happy. It has definitely and so easily became my favorite place. During my first week down here we’ve had so many amazing activities with the star kiddos and college scholarship students.
One of the amazing events was the Chocolatada. What is a Chocolatada? I didn’t know either. I had no idea what to expect or how much it would actually impact my life. Some may describe a Chocolatada as a traditional Peruvian party where you give out hot cocoa or chocolate milk and play some music, but for me it was the most amazing Christmas tradition I’ve ever been a part of. Seeing the kids' beautiful smiles and joy in their eyes was my favorite part. I don’t know if it was because it was the first Chocolatada in two years due to the pandemic, but literally hundreds of kids and parents showed up. I loved seeing all the families come together as a community and enjoy a beautiful afternoon. I also loved being able to not only give to the kids, but also some things to the moms as well. I loved seeing the moms gratitude and love as they received gifts. I’m so happy we were able to give back to them and the kiddos. We didn’t even give out presents to the kids until the end of the chocolatada, but you would have though we gave them things as they entered.
Everyone came in with huge smiles and so much excitement that it made my heart explode with joy. I loved seeing the kids dance and have so much fun with the dancing clowns. I enjoyed every second of my first Chocolatada. I cannot wait to continue this tradition with my Peruvian Family over the next years. Being a part of something this amazing makes me forever grateful for the Make a Miracle organization and everyone In it. It has brought me more joy in the last couple months than anything in my whole 20 years of life. I will always be thankful for the amazing things this community does for me.
Shae is a 20 year old Medical Assistant and Make a Miracle volunteer who is spending 3 weeks in Peru spreading joy this Christmas.