Meanwhile in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia…
This post is dedicated to my Mom this Mother’s day 2012. I Love you mom….
There are experiences on this earth that we all share, no matter our geographic location, religion, race, culture or financial status. One of them is the birth experience.
Of course we cannot recall our own birth, but we can reference the stories that we may know about our own birth or get a pretty good idea of what it may have been like from encountering the events of our family and friends. One encounter of such an event, occurred while I was on an aid trip in November 2010.
Mari, lived in one of the small, 10×10 sheds that I have described in my past posts. She was 19 years old, had a fiancé, a 2-year-old baby and was pregnant with a new baby. Teen pregnancy in the place where we build homes for the poor is pretty much an epidemic. Lack of education and finances do not help, in these situations.
In July of 2010 a woman who met Mari early in her pregnancy decided that through fundraising she would finance the house we would be building. The dream of the home was coming alive for both of them. After waiting nearly 9 months Mari was experiencing 2 life altering events simultaneously. The first was a new house, that the team I was working with was building for her. The second was the birth of her baby. Both these events were converging upon each other during the same week.
The entire week we worked on the house, Mari quietly watched us with her petite belly pulling on the seams of her clothes. I remember thinking about is how beautiful she was. she was glowing! She had soft features and kind eyes. Had she not been pregnant I could tell that her figure was that of a movie star or model. Her baby was going to be blessed with good looks. Each afternoon, she would shyly bring us food that her mother and aunt had prepared in gratitude for our work. During this break time her adorable 2-year-old daughter would be passed from person to person. The lunch time breaks were a welcomed portion of the day.
Mari’s mother relayed to us that the upcoming, Friday morning Mari would be going to the hospital where she would be induced into labor. Being that she had no vehicle and lived an entire town away from the nearest medical center, induced labor was the safest and most preferred option for Mari. The whole week Mari spent preparing for her big day, packing and preparing her child for the few days she would be away. She was extremely attentive to her toddler and from the amount of time she spent holding her Thursday, it was evident that the time away from the toddler was going to be difficult. By Thursday evening we finished the house and watched Mari tearfully and thankfully walk into her new home. The house that we built was just a house, but the moment that Mari moved her small family into the structure it became a home. We said our goodbye’s to Mari and wished her luck and congratulations.
Friday evening came and a few of us anxiously decided to take a drive to the hospital to find out if Mari’s family would be there to tell us how the labor went. As the sun began to set over the hospital a picture was brought out to us. It was the picture of a beautiful baby girl, who would soon be playing with her sister in the new house. The labor went as planned and Mari would soon be back at home, just in time to settle into the house. Mari is a young mother, but a good mother. The birth experience of her child was celebrated by friends from near and far. It will be a birth that I will never forget. So many things happened that week but the highlight was the miracle of Mari’s child.
Happy Mother’s Day moms across the globe and thank you for all you do. Especially you mom
As I recover from my appendectomy this past week I have had the chance to catch up on things like, nap time, television viewing, visits from my family and friends, also spending time with my caregiver…my husband . This week my husband reminded me, of a story that I almost forgot to share with you all.
Meanwhile in Lazaro Cardines, B.C Mexico…
When he was in Mexico three weeks ago he was able to visit a family that he helped build a permanent house for. This family was living in a structure that even the poor struggle to afford, and were in need of a more permanent home. Many homes in the area where we work are made of cardboard which needs to be replaced constantly. This particular family’s original home was built out of old garage doors. The efficiency of humanity surprises me, mostly because I have not ever had to survive like some do. I have seen the garage door dream homes and used tire stair cases to heaven.
After catching up and sitting down to a refreshing Mexican soda (which is always better because they use real sugar) my husband noticed that the old garage door house was no longer on their property. The father of the family explained that there was another family that had no shelter that was in need. After he moved his family into their new home, he gave his old home away.
They described how the other family destructed the house and took it away piece by piece.
When I think about this it makes me feel thankful for my fellow-man. Thankful that there are people out there who are unconditionally good. Giving is hard, but giving when you are the one in need is even harder. The family could have sold the garage door home, and could have used the money, but they didn’t. They gave, becoming the neighborhood philanthropist and humanitarian. Sowing where they would not reap.
Giving is infectious, go infect some with a life changing gift.
I want to thank you all for your support. We are seeing some slight improvements in my cousin’s health. Also, for simply reading my blog, Thanks!
I have played the lotto twice in my life. Just twice, and both times my hopes and dreams of swimming in a pool of gold coins have been dashed. If you are from United States you know that last night there was a lotto drawing that amounted to a total of $640 million dollars. All I have to say about that is Da-Dang!
After buying the lotto ticket on Thursday evening I began to plot the spending of my winnings. It was a fun thing to do, to dream, to envision.
All the while I was very suspicious that I would not win. And then last night my suspicions came true. I checked my numbers and found just like a majority of the players I was not a winner. I would not swim in the pool of gold or experience my million dollar dreams come true this time around. Ah well!
As I perused the Facebook updates this morning I found that my friends were also coming to this same realization. Here is an example of the reactions:
“May not have won the lotto but I am still happy to be here with my husband and daughter.. =)”
“…BOOOO a measly few bucks. I had all my plans ready to be put in motion too. Buzz kill….lol”
Meanwhile in Calcutta, India someone once hit the jackpot but it was not the super lotto…
This week a Pastor told me a story about a Christian missionary who changed the lives of millions with a dream. His name was Mark Buntain and 50 years ago his mission was to help the people of Calcutta, India. If you know anything about Calcutta, you know that there are nearly 9 million people living in something like a 9 mile radius. People are literally walking over each other and many suffer from extreme poverty with no hope of getting out.
Nearly 50 years ago there was a man who would sit next to the mission. Every day he would beg dressed in rags of old clothing. Everyday Mark Buntain would give him a few coins. Not a lot, but it was consistent. One day the man told Mr. Buntain that his mother was deathly ill. Mr. Buntain asked him to take him directly to the dying mother. They rode the train many hours and arrived at the house where Mark Buntain prayed and gave support to the family.
The man who sat begging day in and day out would one day become the lead Pastor of the current mission that Mark Buntain established. The ex-begger now helps others in so many ways. He has managed over 800 churches and a college.
I wanted to tell you this story, for a few reasons. I wanted to tell you that Mark Buntain was the jackpot for that man. What if you were the jackpot for someone else. What if you used your dreams to make a life changing difference for someone else.
I am not trying to tell you to go and pick up every other homeless person trying to make them your prodigy. But what I am trying to say is don’t rule out your worth just because you’re not a millionaire. Mark Buntain was no millionaire even 50 years ago and yet he had the ability to foster a life changing experience. Know your worth in this world.
When my Husband and I got married, we put the whole thing on the cheapest way we could. The wedding was never going to be the event of our life, instead our adventures together were going to be the events of our lives. We had a small beach wedding including close family members and a setting sun. An evening I will never forget. Soon after tying the knot we went on trip to the small Island of Exuma which is located in the Bahamas. Blue skies and clear water, and best of all meeting some of the most welcoming people in the world, was how I spent my first few weeks married to the man of my dreams.
My husband, works for a non-profit that puts on assemblies for schools and encourages students to give back to their schools, communities and the world through volunteerism. We took the assembly to the Students of Exuma.
The classrooms were small and overcrowded, yet were filled with attentive faces waiting to hear what we had to say.
As I looked around I found a familiarity in the school. There were projects proudly displayed on the walls and writings scrawled across the chalk boards. And through the glass less windows I could hear the small 7 man marching band practicing their heart out. The students had remarkable manners and were all on their best behavior for the foreign visitors. During lunch time we got to hang out with the students and really got to know some of the kids fairly well. They told us their dreams and their gossip. One student even sang a song for us. If I was a record producer I might have given him the spot light.
Although the Island of Exuma is a popular destination for multi-million dollar Yacht owners and Island hoppers, the small Island was suffering from something horrible. The vice principle provided us with some background information about the student body that left us shocked. She told us that the school was in need of help. The students, let me rephrase that… the children of the island were contracting AIDs from adults and spreading it to their peers.
As we began to talk to the students in small groups we found that they were hurting. Some would come to us in tears thanking us for our encouraging words, and some even spontaneously stood up and began to encourage their peers. We were telling them that their situations should not define their life, but that the good things that they do, should be what defines them. Before we got to the Island we had no idea that there was a life threatening issue at hand, but once we began to hear the outcry we knew that we were there for a reason. No more did the teenagers and children of Exuma want to be the dying generation. they wanted to go to college, be doctors and lawyers. They wanted to see the world and make a change in their small country.
It was remarkable to find that just telling a person that they can do something great was all that was needed to lift a cloud of depression from an overcrowded classroom. Even if they were doing something as simple as volunteering at their own school, it made them feel better. They inspired me. Who was I to ever complain that my life sucked. Later that week we spoke at a community center. We only advertised to the students that we spoke with and yet the room was filled to maximum capacity with adults. The response from the community was great, and it was all because the students of Exuma were driving the desire for change.
If you’re feeling sorry about your life, or depressed about a situation maybe it’s time to give to someone else. The world is a grand and amazing place, don’t think that the edge of the world is as far as your eyes can see, because there is much more to it than that.