Monday, November 17, 2008

Meeting My New Nieces and Nephews

For years Heather has been telling me about the kids on the farm. I have seen their pictures and heard their stories. The kids and I have sent them little gifts and cards. Heather has told us how these children, many of them orphans, had become her own. Instead of the normal 3 weeks that she had spent in Africa in the past, Heather extended her stay to 2 months so that she could have more time with her Zambian family. She lived with these 20 children and 6 adults in their humble home and formed a bond even stronger than she had in years past. Naturally I was anxious to meet all of them. I had the opportunity to do this at church. We came after it had just started and snuck in behind the kids who were all in the front two rows. Of course, I loved them instantly. Heather's sweet Evans, whom I had heard so much about, came over and sat in between us. I was emotional as I immediately felt a bond with him and sensed his goodness. I love the tribute Heather did for him on her blog (http://www.hedrad.blogspot.com/).
This ended up being one of my favorite days. Heather and I climbed into the very loaded truck to spend the afternoon with the kids. At the point this picture was taken only 1/4 of the kids had climbed into the truck. None of us could move for the 30 minute ride back to the farm. But in that 30 minutes I made a special bond with Bwalya as we held hands and talked on the way home. It was great having time with just Heather and the kids and finally seeing where she had been living for the past month. I watched as Fagness stirred Nshima, which I would be eating for the first time. Eating Nshima and chicken with Heather, surrounded by the kids (who licked the bones of our chicken clean) was one of those "I can't believe I'm in Africa" moments.
We also were able to listen to the boys practice their drums,
walked along the dirt roads that Heather had walked every day for a month,
visited with these lovely women who were gathered together with other friends in a very small home,


walked by this home and children that are so Africa,
and I finally met sweet Carol, who I had heard so much about. I hugged her, thanked her for all I had learned from her, and told her how much I loved her. I wrote about her in a previous blog but as a reminder, she was found at age 8 with sores from abuse. She lived with her Grandma and six other children in very poor conditions, especially for a sick little girl. The closest water was miles away, it was cold and she had no blanket to sleep with. She was asked by Mothers Without Borders if she wanted to go somewhere to be taken care of. She said yes, packed her small plastic bag with her few belongings and praised God as she left her village. She continues to praise Him on a regular basis. Testing was done on her after she was taken in and the results were HIV+. Now at age 14 she is beginning to lose her eyesight because of the disease, is always cold, often sick and has such little energy. Her body is deteriorating but you will never meet someone with a bigger soul than this sweet girl. What a privilege to be in her presence. I choose to believe that God is loving her and caring for her. I am sure He walks beside her.
I also began to let the rest of these children into my hearts. As I write this I realize how much I miss them and wish I could hug them again and tell them how amazing they are. I'll write about their performance next time and a few more of their stories. It was beautiful to see them smile, dance, play, and love knowing the difficult lives these children had before coming into MWB's orphanage. What a blessing they had somewhere to go. Most of the orphans in Africa don't have that.

6 comments:

Stacie Raddatz said...

I could read on forever. "More, more, more" I say. I love hearing about these people and your travels. Thanks for all the posts.

Danielle said...

What an inspiring experience, and what love and warmth I could see in the childrens faces. Isn't it amazing how someone that has had so many more challenges can smile so big and have such strength.

Elisabeth said...

Beautiful children. I love the picture with the mother's slinging their cutest babies, mostly because that's the main way I carried Eva and Andrew. I hope I can do it again...

I can't wait to read more. I always feel the spirit of our HF when I read your and Heather's stories. Thanks

hedrad said...

Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute. It left me longing for more of these days but so content for the few that we had. Those sweet children love you so completely. They are lucky to have such an incredible Auntie.

Robin said...

What a blessing that you guys get to love the kids and they get to feel your love. The picture with your arms wrapped around Carol brings to mind the phrase from the scriptures "encircled in the arms of safety."

Dave Raddatz said...

I remember reading a comment by Pres. Kimball once. Someone asked him why, when he had such great faith, he did not have the power to heal all those who were sick, as Christ did when he lived on the earth. His answer was profound. He said he would not have the strength to withhold that power from every person he saw in pain or in sickness. He would heal them all and in doing so take away their opportunity to grow and be tested in ways that only our Heavenly Father can begin to understand. His ways our not our ways, and His thoughts, not our thoughts. He does not cause the suffering. In Carol's case it was pure evil that caused it, but, in most cases, he does not stop it. He alone, sees the day when all this will be behind us. Will we be worthy to stand at Carol's side in His presence?