Should I tell you about Milton, our newest nursery resident with his smiling eyes and gummy grin, or perhaps update you on the remarkable recoveries of Lucia and Judite after months of life-threatening illness? I could tell you about the seven-year-olds who’ve learned to somersault wildly from the top of the climbing frame into the sand. Or about Kessane – everybody wants more news on our pin-up girl who’s now learning to walk.
Or, will I write about myself, Mozambique resident for more than five years now. Five years! I could write about the weddings I’ve attended, or the challenges I’ve faced, or the trips I’ve taken. The friends I’ve lost and the friends I’ve gained. Or about the latest life lessons I’m learning, of which there are so many...
And then I see it, and I am even more grateful for the years and the lessons.
The stories of Zimpeto’s children have became so inextricably woven now with the story of my own life’s journey that I can no longer write about “them” and about “me”. I have lost sight of whose story belongs to whom and I am, beyond words, grateful that our stories have merged to brighten the colours of my life. I have been adopted into a family and am an apprentice learning through the suffering and the victories of those with whom I have the privilege to walk through these years.
I shine brighter because of them, less troubled by the minutiae of each day, living more in that place where the little things count for little and the big things like life and death, happiness and grief, hunger , disease and healing are more sharply in focus, better informing my use of time and energy each day.
I look back on past blog posts and remember the lessons. I rejoiced during Raquelina’s short life even as I learned to keep my soul’s balance when mourning her death. As I wrote the narrative of Pedrito’s nights spent walking Maputo’s streets, I discovered cold depths of bitter, condemning unforgiveness in myself for the adults stalking him through the dark. When Milagrosa and Inacio then Rejoice and others left us to join their newly adoptive families, I grieved for my own loss and discovered that, at the same time, I could rejoice with all my heart at their gain.
The stories I tell here are stories running the gamut of the soul’s possibilities: the heights of joy and the depths of grief, wounds of the past eased by future hope; lives miraculously saved and, more often than I could ever have imagined, lives tragically lost.
As I tell the stories of Zimpeto’s children, I am thankful that I am here and that my story is enriched by being a part of theirs. My story has become inextricably woven with theirs and produced a life I could never have imagined for myself.
I came here to change the world and have discovered that, instead, the world is changing me.