Today was amazing because we could just BE. We didn’t go anywhere at all – MY FAVORITE. Still not giving out letters until we have our bags from the airport so we can make sure noone miss out, but we did get to unpack some leggos and frisbees that were donated and the boys LOVED playing together. That little, cheap frisbee was flying back and forth for hours. With the school break, the days are extra long and can be beyond boring, which I hate for them. As a therapist, I think about how this can weigh a person down, an open door to depression and feelings of hopelessness. But, then… maybe that’s just America. Because here, you never hear them complain. By 10am, my sweet Ja’nee would be asking “What are we going to do today??” Followed a couple more times by, “And after that what are we gonna’ do?” “And, after that??” But not here. Here we sit. We just talk. We listen to music, listen to each other, talk past the awkward and uncomfortable to the point of pure community. Stories are shared and deep bonds are built because time is given to one another. Time, that most precious of all life has to offer, is given and exchanged generously. THAT is what is life changing about this place and these people. They teach me to listen to each other and pay attention, because there are no distractions from the beauty of interaction. There’s nowhere to be, no deadline to make and no money to go spend. There’s not even an anticipated meal except for once a day, maybe twice on good days. The thrills of going, shopping, doing, eating, and accomplishing or hurrying is absent here, replaced by stillness and contentment, and wide African smiles for days…
And I got to take pictures of them all day long. 🙂
Jamie loves to helps his mom, or take OVER my camera any chance he gets. I don’t care, I just love him close to me every moment.
Shanna & Kate & Ladora, Margaret & the girls came up to lunch. UP means up the hill at the boys orphanage, DOWN means down the hill at the girls’. Both of my trips I have stayed up with the boys, which I love because they have no adults living with them. My amazing friend, Summer lived with them for several months, and I know they miss her presence. They are SO grateful when someone, anyone comes to visit them – they understand the many miles and cost it takes and it is precious to them for us to just bring our presence. I am so grateful that Pastor and his wife stay with the girls, and the most amazing missionary Deborah is there most months of the year as well. But, the boys, they just stole my heart my first trip here and I have longed for over a year to return to them and hear all 40ish of them call me Mum Stacey.
High today for the American in me – Shanna brought me COFFEE!! HALLELUJAH!!!!!! =)
Low… no generator, which is usually turned on in the evenings. I really don’t mind much, except that without light, it’s hard to stay up and talk and talk and talk in the pitch dark. The boys worked on the generator for hours, literally taking a sponge and soaking it with diesel fuel they were trying to remove, then wringing out the sponge and repeating over and over for gallons. Tinkering and manually attempting to restart (taking the muscle of 2-3 boys) for hours with nothing but a small, dim light. They are absolutely the hardest workers, ridiculously patient and CRAZY resourceful. And all the while they are just talking and laughing, working together without the slightest complaint or sigh of frustration. Blows my mind.
Everything they do, they do it together.
It reminds me of Bakarr’s statement he made at dinner to us a few weeks back. Bakarr is the first boy to come to America that I blogged (here) about on my last trip. Recently were enjoying Johnny Carino’s, (he was having a steak because like many Africans, he doesn’t like cheesy pasta) and he described to us the major difference he sees from home and being in America is the way people spend time together. He said that here, people don’t need each other, don’t have time for each other, always have to talk about getting together or setting it on a calendar. But what he misses from home is everybody being together, needing each other, showing up without an invitation required and spending time together without having to schedule it. Time together is a given. A way of life.
This is the truest of descriptions I have ever heard. We suck at being together in America. Even when we don’t completely suck at it, we don’t GET IT as a WAY OF LIFE the way they do. They don’t have to be taught or reminded or inspired to BE.
The just BE because there’s not another way. And it is something so exquisite to experience, to BE, and to BE.. WITH THEM.