Thursday, May 20, 2010
yesterday I new I would lose connections so I posted a short bit and did photos and sure enough I did. Here is a little more lengthy post to go with the photos from yesterday.
Today we were all supposed to be ready to go at 8:00am and Osseh had trouble getting the cars together so we all spent about 2 ½ hours trying to get online and trying not to go nuts with anticipation. The drive probably took 10-15 minutes but felt like a lifetime simply because I could not wait to meet these children. When Jessie announced that we had just turned onto the final hill I thought we were about to have to get out and walk b/c it was REALLY steep. Kelly, Jessie, and I came to a consensus that it is probably a 40 degree incline. As we come up to the center Quami honks to let them know we were there, they open the gates and all the kids are singing and holding welcome signs. I immediately spotted Albert-the oldest child we sponsor. I waved and smiled like a wild woman. I know I looked crazy. Frantically I visually searched the crowd of 79 kids to find John and Isatu to no avail. Such a mix of emotions flooded me; Excitement, JOY and a slight nervousness to name a few. We parked and got out as all the kids came toward us. All of the kids had chairs sat out in rows and went to take their seats. As they sang a few songs I spotted John and then Isatu. After the last one sat down one of the leaders told the adults to go sit in any seats not taken. An amazing stroke of good fortune happened and John moved seats to come sit in my area so I asked him if he would like to share my chair. He did! All through the program I would go back and forth from gawking at John’s gorgeous face to smiling and waving like a lunatic at Albert who kept leaning forward to smile and wave back. After the program ended John picked up my very heavy backpack to carry it for me even though it was about as big as him. Albert made a bee line for us and I probably squeezed him too hard but I don’t know if I could help it….probably not! There was just too much of an overflow of love coming out. I still hadn't met Isatu so Albert went and got her and we got the chance to talk and take photos. The first thing Albert said when he saw the camera was ‘Uncle Andrew’ and pointed at the camera. Then the first photo that popped up was of Levi and he immediately said his name and the same when Ivey’s photo came up. He remembered! I looked up and realized that somehow an event that I had longed for but had prepared myself wouldn’t happen-happened. I was with all three at the same time…and only one other person was there. Did I mention there are 79 kids at this place? How did this amazing thing happen? How is it that I am kneeling here with these three people laughing and talking just like I had (unrealistically I thought) envisioned? Albert led us in to take a tour of the Covering and as we went up the steps he pointed to the bottom row and told me about when Uncle Andrew was there they did pictures and videos on that step. He doesn’t know that I’ve watched that video more times than I’ve brushed my teeth in the last 3 months. We got to see the classroom/devotional room. I got to meet Hamidu, Dauda, and a host of other kids that I have prayed for and looked forward to meeting for many months now. I LOVE the look of surprise they have when you know their name. One kid asked if I could take him to America. That is a hard question to answer. You feel like your going to crush all their hopes and dreams. After seeing the classroom Albert showed me his bed. He has a blanket with horses and John showed me his bed with hockey sticks and pucks. Sounds simple but it is their only personal little spot on earth. So I told them how much I liked their blankets and beds and Albert wanted me to meet his teachers so we headed off to our next excursion. The teachers were very complimentary of him and said he was a very good boy and that he has been doing very well in school. I told him how proud I was of him and couldn’t have meant it any more. Somewhere along the way Isatu found something more fun that walking around with us and so it was just the three of us left. We probably spent about 20 minutes taking silly photo’s together. I let them take turns taking the picture and they loved it! I had to say goodbye to go to a meeting with the team but I could have stayed all day right there in that spot with those people just laughing with them. After the meeting the team was about to leave to go to lunch but as we walked out there was loud music coming from the back followed by an announcement by one of the kids that the girls had their grass skirt’s on. We all went running around the corner to see the event and it was a fun site to see. All the older girls were wearing what looks similar to a Hawaiian skirt and were dancing to African looking drums being played by two of the other kids. I stood back while the others went closer so that I could get my camera out of my bag.
I looked up to see Isatu coming toward me so I bent down to talk to her. I’ve been told by several people who have been around Isatu on the past trip that she isn’t the type to just sit in you lap. I had been expressing that I couldn’t wait to just hold her and they were letting me know that I shouldn’t get my hopes up. She is very busy. So I bent down and talked to her for a few minutes and asked if I could hold her. She said yes! and she did! for a long time! AND she didn’t want me to put her down when I had to go. I was really surprised but even more surprising is that when we got back from lunch she spent quite a bit of time in my lap playing, talking and laughing with me and the others.
At some point I was playing with some other kids when I heard someone crying and realized it was John. He is very quiet usually but was flailing around and crying as if he were in pain. The care taker told me he had had an injection for malaria and that his bottom hurt. It was the same type of shot Jessie had and she told us they really are very sore for days. The way he was crying broke my heart just as if it were Levi or Ivey so what could I do but go run to his ‘rescue’ and scoop him up. I held him while he cried and laid his head on my shoulder feeling such a deep sense of love for him. We went to get a water bag and I toted that seven year old (good thing he’s on the small side) up two flights of stairs and back down again. And you know, I felt privileged to walk every step of that. How many times I have longed to hold him and comfort him and here in this moment an opportunity presented itself. We sat together for at least an hour and a half watching the other kids play soccer and he would occasionally get excited about some move or save or something and whenever anyone would come along to sit with us I would just make sure they didn’t get to wild and bump his leg. He tried to tell me things a couple of times that I couldn’t understand but he did ask me where Levi was. And while he had trouble remembering her name he tried to ask about Ivey as well. I thought that was sweet.
So, three unexpected events made this day one of the best days I have ever had. I am still reeling a little about it and as I write this I am thinking about how I wish that I could write words so precisely that you could fully understand the magnitude this day holds on my life. I wish that you could understand the full joy that I am still feeling from the fact that I met, hugged, held, talked to, and laughed with these beautiful beautiful people. Maybe the only way is for you to come yourself.