The number one question I have been asked (outside of "do you have a baby in your carry on luggage") is "what did you learn from this trip"? Wow. I can't even begin to do this answer justice with words. The one thing I can say that I gained, I was myself shocked about. What I learned from this experience is that I went abroad thinking that I had something that these people needed and wanted. What I learned very quickly is that they don't need and some don't want what "the American dream". I was astounded at how happy and content these people were, with absolutely nothing. That brought me home begging the question "if they are happy with nothing, and we are the most lost, unhappy society on earth, what do THEY have that WE need? I have had a rough few days trying to comprehend how to come home and make this work in my life as I know it. Reverse culture shock...yes.
We didn't have to ask these people to smile. They smile with the most genuine happiness I have ever encountered. They were patient and kind and generally just happy!
Our first true day on the boat I came downstairs on the boat and was informed that we would not being doing much medical care in the village of Anore, as they had a small hospital already. The other villages we would be going to were under water due to the rainy season and had no help at all. We stopped in this village to do vacation Bible school and meet the pastor there that basically runs the community. As I entered the room, my eyes fell on the most beautiful child I have ever seen in my life! Not only was she physically beautiful, but she dripped sweetness. I immediately took to her, and her to me. I asked her if her mother was with her and was told that she had no mother and no father. I responded dumbly "do you want to go to America and let me be your mother?", to which they all began to laugh. I was told that they were laughing because Vitora (the little girl) had sold them out so quickly and would pack her bags in a heartbeat to leave with me! As this was transpiring, I was frantically looking for Steven to explain her situation and have him meet her. He came around the corner and I experienced the most amazing thing I have ever laid my eyes on. "LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT". I never thought that was really even possible. As cliche as it sounds, it happened right before my eyes. I never got the opportunity to introduce her because his eyes never met mine. He never even looked in my direction. He locked eyes with her, and her with him and I stood stunned (and yes SPEECHLESS) at what I was seeing. I felt paralyzed with fear that I had just found the child of my dreams, and she probably wasn't even adoptable. I'm not sure that I can stand one more ounce of heartbreak, but there was nothing I could do to stop this. Like it or not, it was instantaneous.
or baby mamma in Portugese,
p.s. I loved on me some sweet babies!