This is harvest season.  Each year we are finding new trees and new people who are interested in harvesting soap berries. It is frequently a little difficult to convince people that the tree has more value than just for shade.

That was the way it was for one family that had a large soap berry tree behind their house.  They had harvested some of the fruit at the insistence of their neighbor (a friend of ours) with the promise that the “gringos” (usP would buy it. With little faith but a need for income, they had a sack with 80 pounds of fruit waiting for us in their living room.

We arrived.  The whole family gather around to watch the strange “gringos” that bought worthless fruit–Mom, a boy of about 10, another about 7 and a 6 year old girl. “But do you understand what it is good for?” we asked, “Have you used it?” They had no idea of the treasure growing in their backyard.

Just for moments like this, we keep a small bottle with about a cup of water in it in the car.  John placed three or four small fruits in the bottle and handed it to the 6 year old to shake. And “voilà–bubbles. Soap.”

Usually, when we give this little demonstration, people smile. Unless their grandmother had used soap berries years ago, they are surprised by the evidence that, in fact, soap berries are soapy. But I had never seen a reaction quite like this little girl.  She began to jump up and down in delight.  Her smile was radiant with pleasure.  It gave you joy to see her joy.

How wonderful if we never lost the ability to have such delight in a new discovery, or to find true delight in something as small as bubbles in a bottle. I thought that we had taught something to a family that day, but I was the one who left challenged.


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