When we wake up

Every morning when I wake up, I thank God for our faithful & loving team for www.savingmoses.org who look after the babies of sex workers in Cambodia. Our team looks after these babies with gentle care, genuine love, tender affection & hopeful transformation. During the daytime in America, it’s night time in Cambodia & we get to help nurture the potential for each baby that we care for while their moms work. I’ve met many of these moms & they desperately want a safe place of care & nurture for their babies while they work. The heart of nightcare is genuine love & without genuine love it seems to me that our world rapidly slides into pain, judgmentalism, anguish & depravity. I’m thankful that God is genuine love not only for me, but also for the babies of prostitutes ūüôā

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God Helps Us

Today we had the privilege of meeting some really great & totally fun pre-schoolers, as well as some great moms looking after their babies who we are helping. One of the things that I’m wrestling with is the moms that I’m meeting who have lost babies. The majority of the moms whom I’ve met have lost anywhere from 3-10 babies. When I began to discover this, it simply takes my breath away because I can’t imagine how a mom processes such losses. When you meet the majority of these moms, you wouldn’t know that they’ve endured such tragedies. So as we are now taking a bit of a drive, I’m writing this blog & trying to talk w God about this and to let the Trinity help my heart. I will think & pray for a bit now.

Processing Angola

I’ve been home for about 36 hours & I’m trying to work through some thoughts & feelings, which are rather jumbled around. ¬†Its complete bliss to get to be with my family – they are nothing less than spectacular & I’m thoroughly grateful for them!!!! ¬†At the same time, I’m also trying to process this last week. ¬†When I see a baby now, I have this instinctual reaction to ask how old & how much do they weigh. ¬†When the mom tells me the answers, it feels like I shatter into a million little pieces in my heart & thoughts as I think about the babies I’ve just seen, held, touched & am trying to help.

One such family is a single mom with 2 kids – Marcella. ¬†Her youngest son, Belito, is about 14months old & struggling with malnutrition. ¬†Marcella has had 6 kids & only 2 are surviving today – the 4 who died never made it to 6 months old. ¬†I met Belito & Marcella at a malnutrition clinic we visited & I was able to visit her everyday when we were in Angola. ¬†We got to visit her home, meet her oldest son who is 8yrs old, meet her mom & exchange greetings with her neighbors. ¬†Belito weighs about 13lbs & is 14months old. ¬†He is very weak & frail. ¬†His mom is trying super hard to help him to get better. ¬†As a single mom, she doesn’t really have a job & there’s no gov’t support or subsidies to help her, so her way of getting money to buy food is to slowly sell off whatever she has that’s valuable. ¬†She used to have a job selling bananas, but since Belito has been sick, she hasn’t been able to stay with the banana selling. ¬†She lives w her mom, who has a job washing clothes and this helps Marcella a little bit. ¬†When we asked how we could help her, she said that some rice, beans & oil would be super helpful.

I talked quite extensively with Marcella, seeking to understand how she arrived in the current situation. ¬†When I asked about her husband, she explained that he left her because he felt that she couldn’t take care of his kids because they kept dying. ¬†He doesn’t give her any support & she’s never learned to read or write. ¬†In our conversations, I asked her what would be some things that she’d like to achieve & she said that she would like to get back into the studying she had been doing before Belito got sick, so she could learn to read & write. ¬†We talked about various job possibilities & what she’d like to be doing in the future to earn a living. ¬†This was all a very powerful conversation for me that occurred over the course of 5 days.

I very much want to help Marcella – she’s a kind and intelligent woman who deeply loves her son. ¬†Before we left, we bought her the rice, beans & oil, but we also bought her some formula & porridge for when Belito gets discharged from the malnutrition clinic. ¬†I explained how to mix the formula – quantities of water (boiled please) along with scoops of formula & then how to mix these w the porridge. ¬†All in all, at this point, I’m not sure who has benefitted more from this friendship – Marcella or me.

Angola, while being being an extremely poor country, is very rich with the quality of her citizens. ¬†The picture attached isn’t of Marcella & Belito (they are the picture in my last blog), but is a VERY common scene.

babies without parents

I’ve been around lots of babies between last night & today.¬† Last night, I got to hang out a little bit w Pastor Jill & baby Drew (i had the honor of attempting to help coach P. Jill during her delivery).¬† Baby Drew is 11 wks old & thoroughly captivating – she’s smiley, has deep eyes that lock onto your eyes to look deep into your soul (how an 11 wk old does this, escapes me, but i’ll never forget this from last night), bright & FUN!!¬† Today, I was part of an intro cooking class for Isabell & many of the moms who came had really wonderful babies.¬† There’s something very soothing about being around new people in small bodies.¬† They’re fresh, trusting and totally cozy in their skin.¬†

This is a VERY different experience than i had 2 wks ago in Ethiopia, when i had the privilege of connecting w a 1 year old boy & girl who had been abandoned by their parents.  Their eyes were empty, they were restless, stressed & anxious Рeven though they were in a safe place w good care. 

These contrasting experiences leave me pondering the effects such vast differences make on these children and what being an adult looks like for parented babies versus non-parented babies.  Just thinking