And do I even need to post the pictures anyway? Or tell about the experience. Whether any of us have been to a place like that or not (and everyone should), we know.
Can't you see the kiss given to a blind crippled boy sitting in a chair in the corner of the blue room with the cement floors - the room designated for "disabled" toddlers? This boy was about 7. He responds to touch - backrubs, head massage and singing. When he was kissed on the cheek, his blank face turned to a joyful smile.
Or the little one with the twisted legs who scooted on his bottom to the one who would hold him - sing him a song and gently rub a finger around his ears, his nose, his lips and hug him and hold him and rock him like a mama would.
There was the little girl who had on a pink Old Navy skirt. Lydia and I had matching skirts just like it many years ago. She held our hands as we walked through the orphanage.
Whether here in Africa, or home, we know. Each story brings us to tears or brings us to shut our minds and hearts to it. The injustices make us pound our fists. We cheer for the ones who get to go home, we ache for those who dont. We call out to God for them to not just survive but thrive and to bless the ones who care for them every day. Some of us adopt, some send money. Some volunteer. Momma T's words should remind us to do something - wherever we are.
In the house I am in tonight, in Kigali, two toddlers are sleeping in their cribs (well, almost sleeping - Glo is still singing). As newborns, one was found in a field and one in the jungle. They didn't go to the orphanage. They came to this family. The word was out that the "Muzungu" (Western) family would take them - first one, and then a few months later, the other. After all, the missionary family had two sons already from the Home of Hope.
Sure. New to a country. Four kids already. TIGHT tight tight budget without full support from their home congregation. Two more mouths to feed! Did they have a choice? Yes (not really). Could they "afford" it? NO. Did it work in their busy lifestyle of ministry 24/7? NO. But Keli tells me about friends here who send her diapers, and friends at home who send cash, and an extremely loving extended family who sacrificially help. Glo turns two in January!
Before we went to the orphanage this week, Keli got out the photobooks and had a moment with B and N. It was time for them to visit again. They were both gentlemen at Home of Hope charming the nuns, and taking up with all of the kids on the playground, as kids do.
Building homes of hope.