01 March 2012

How It Feels

It's hard to express how it feels to grip other-colored hands, that sometimes reek of strong dehydrated pee.

It's hard to put into words how the children just reach right into my heart -- innocent, smiling, hopeful --
reaching out to me as if they are the ones with something to give.

It's impossible to describe just how resilient they are, in the face of complete devastation. They have their dignity. They remain strong and loving through it all. I can't even compare them to any people group in America.

I really can't tell you what it sounds to hear the starving seniors singing with all their hearts, praising God for the small food they receive. That tribal, high-pitched "lalalalala" -- so hard to describe -- goes above and beyond. It's like the highest form of praise.

It's very hard to share this deep down love, consuming my thoughts, without sounding like a commercial {"see these cute kids, won't you give money?"}. I want this experience that I share with you to be so very real.
I want you to see and hear and feel and know what I know. I want you to "get it". That can be very hard to accomplish.

How can I explain how it feels to sit down with a group of my now-very-close-friends, some black, some white, and talk about our passion for these villages. About our belief in Global Hope's mission. About the reasons we're here.
How can I explain the bonds that arise so quickly and make us feel so unified?

I can't tell you how it feels for a beautiful African woman to grab my arm, laughing and holding it up while she says something about me to her friends, all laughing. I can't find the words to say how loved that makes me feel {even if she was making fun of me}. The acceptance, the joy, the pure friendship that comes so easily here.
I wish I could put that in a bottle.

What words would I use to describe the flourishing wellness clinic in Garmaam, made possible by village sponsors across the United States, with intelligent staff and posters and charts and statistics up on the walls? How amazed we were at their live birth rate -- 162 pregnancies, 162 live births. And that this small clinic provides prenatal and postnatal care as well as family planning and early immunization. And all this because GHNI is linking villages with the help they need, educating them, and teaching them to effectively use their local resources.

It's me -- over here -- walking along dusty streets and desert roads, feeling connected.
Feeling like I belong, in some strange other-worldly way. Feeling so much compassion.

How do I really tell you how it feels? How do I transfer knowledge and passion half way around the world?
How can I make it real for you?

Cause that's why I'm here. To be your eyes, ears, nose, and heart. To share Ethiopia with you.