Wednesday, January 3, 2007
One thing I am sure of is that you CANNOT visit Africa without absolutely falling in love with the children here. Each morning as I make my way out of the house to start the day I am greeted by 30 voices singing “Jacob and Jessi…Jacob and Jessi” or “Jacob come get [insert any one of the 54 kids here at the orphanage]. I can’t help but grin from ear to ear when Pezo, one of the four year olds, sees me every day and acts like we’ve been separated for years as she sprints, arms wide open and dives into my open arms (I’m convinced that if I didn’t open my arms and catch her she would get seriously injured!) Then you have some of the two year olds who are still struggling with english that greet me every day with “HEY! I get you…” Then they all run from me terrified of the big, white makua (white man) coming after them.
My major soft spot; however, has come in the form of the tiniest little one in the orphanage. She arrived on the farm the day before we arrived and within a few weeks she was placed in our house as an “emergency baby” after one had died just a week prior of similar complications. Her name is Mukansunda (which means Mrs. Sunday in Tonga…because she was born on a Sunday). She came in, literally with the face of death (eyes sunk in…cheek bones sticking out…absolutely without life…not enough strength to move…she looked like a small newborn and she was 8 months old. Within a few days at our place she was looking like a new child. Gaining weight, an occasional smile, picking things up with her little fingers…what a miracle it was to see! 3 months later and Mukansunda is a force to be reckoned with! She is a toy stealin’, speed crawlin’, loud talkin’ little girl (although still the smallest) with a talent for mimicking just about anything I do…The picture I supplied above is a major rarity…the little thing will not sleep unless lights are off and she is in her crib, but I finally wore her out one day and she zonked out on my chest.
If anything in Africa is to be held responsible for stealing my heart – it begins with these little ones. Thinking about the fact that these 54 vibrant, beautiful, smart, unique, and lovely children would all be dead in the bush – having had no one loving on them – absolutely paralyzes me. The face of God is in every one of these and it doesn’t take long to see. Even as I sit here writing this I can hear some of them singing “Blessed Be the Lord our God of Zambia from everlasting to everlasting!” I'm headed out to play for awhile! Peace...