|Kwame with one of the class projects|
|Classy and Hendricka caring for a sick child|
|Robin and Craig outside Ray of Hope waiting |
for a matatu to take them downtown
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours
|Craig, Angela and Christina listening to Steven, who|
makes prosthetic limbs
|Lilly and Gabriel|
|Kirsti helping a child make a personalized tee shirt|
After labor, Lilly was moved into a room to rest. I got to spend much of the morning and some of the afternoon with her and Gabriel. It's funny how going through labor with someone gives you such a strong bond with them. By the time we had to say goodbye, we were both in tears and promised to keep in touch.
Gabriel and Lilly have a life ahead of them that I cannot imagine. I am grateful to have shared such an important moment with both of them.
|Christina getting ready to play|
a game with the children
Before 10a, now at Ray of Hope, we learned the story of one of Alfred's students. This boy immediately stood out to me in an impressive way since Day One. Always helpful with cleanups after projects, kind, sweet eyes, softer spoken, and one heck of a dancer (which is actually an understatement) - this kiddo has great style with his Superman embellished belt, coupled with the way he wears his socks and kicks with purpose, and has a certain joie de vie that is truly endearing. However, he comes with a very dark, scary past. His father passed away leaving his mom a widow, and he was the only son among a few other sisters. In due time, his mom went on to have 5 more children with another partner, who immediately demonstrated pure hatred towards this boy - even threatening to kill this boy's mom if she ever brought her son home again. This lovely boy was ultimately found homeless by Hendrika - sleeping underneath the table at street vendor near the ROH Learning Center. He was so dirty, and so drenched with filth and stench, that no one wanted to come near him. Hendrika, after learning more about his situation by visiting his mother, brought him up to the Learning Center at Ray of Hope to give him a freezing sponge bath (their running water comes through a garden hose). However, Hendrika intuition enabled her to deal with the situation uniquely - by also taking two of this boy's step sisters at Ray of Hope - and now fast forward, due to the relationship Henrika created with the boy's step father, he is now accepted by this man, and safely living at home and off the streets. THIS is the kind of magic that Evelyn & Alfred (both teachers), along with Hendrika (case worker) do on a daily basis.
However, before the Noon hour even took place, the heaviness continued with trips to the respective homes of Josephine, Jaqueline, Joseph & Helen, all HIV+ patients in Henrika's Support Group. HIV is detrimental because it is a gateway to other life-threatening diseases, and most of the individuals we saw today also have TB. Josephine's story will be shared another day; however, we had a peek into tiny, little Helen's life...
Helen does not attend Ray of Hope at the young age of 7 - instead, Helen is a patient of Henrika's. Helen has HIV. Both of Helen's parents died, leaving her behind with her little brother (age 3 or 4) and her older sister (age 20). Forcing the sister to provide for the family (with payments in bread slices), she leaves early every morning to go fishing and ultimately sell the fish, returning around sundown. This little girl - who I would have guessed was 4 years old herself - is left alone all day long to tend to and watch over her little brother who runs around the slums playing, exploring with other children. Helen, with poor vision and bad hearing (a side effect from HIV drugs that never went away) is a blessing. A precious little soul, with the responsibility of the world, on her tiny un-knowing shoulders.
Today, my soul is heavy. I've never had so many individuals in my thoughts and prayers - it's an entire community - with some names I will never-ever forget. Tonight, I will be sending them love, light and healing energy. Tomorrow, I keep them in my thoughts, while continuing to send love, light and healing energy... and next week... I will continue to keep them in my thoughts. And next month... they will still be in the same exact place. Endless thoughts. Endless energy. Endless healing lights. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, too.