Monday, July 28, 2008

Finding Love

I've been thinking a lot lately about the Pre-Unit students Megan and I taught at the orphanage. There are moments when my heart literally aches for them. Due to the circumstances of my departure, I wasn't able to say goodbye to them. I have dreams at night of playing football in the yard with them and wrapping my arms around their tiny little bodies. I can hear their voices shouting in unison, "Sank you teacha!"

Magnus mentioned to us early on that his boss told him before leaving for Tanzania that "Africa will get in your blood." At the point in time when he mentioned this, none of us (Megan, Magnus, Morgan, and I) really felt as if we'd fall head over heels for this crazy continent. Now that I've been home for nearly a month, however, I can feel Africa cursing through my blood. I want to go back. Badly.

The kids at the orphanage provided me with the greatest gift-- the ability to love myself right now. I've always carried a little bit of self-doubt in the back of my mind. It's been a constant friend of mine over the years. Through my students, however, I was able to release the self-doubt and find joy in who I am. Don't worry, I haven't become a narcissist, I've just been taught how to appreciate myself. I can look in the mirror and see the hair Nuru stroked ever so gently. I can place my hands on my hips and feel Esuphat's arms wrapped around me. I can laugh and hear Freddy laughing along with me. I can stand tall and proud and know that there are 17 little kids in Tanzania who believe in me. 17 kids whose hearts I carry within mine.

Thank you Pre-Unit for making my life so wonderful.

On one of my last days, my students performed for a visiting church group. I love how this video truly shows each of my students' unique personalities.