Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pure Bliss

Well, on a day that can only be described as pure bliss, our party went off without a hitch. In perfect Zambian fashion, the party that was to begin at 10 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. (as announced on the radio for the weeks preceding) didn't even really begin until 1 p.m. It was perfect. 
Peddy and Charity help bring out the balloons.
I'm relatively new to this cooking over an open fire thing. They gave me easy jobs
like putting the rice in the boiling water and stirring things.

Best Friends Forever
Hard at work cooking rice, chicken, soup, and greens.
George, Bright, and Jason help bring the cooler for drinks.
They were sorely disappointed when their best friend Benja didn't show up for the party.
While we were still busy cooking and organizing, the babies started streaming in from all over.
Lydia was our 4th guest to arrive (after Love, Beauty, and Twaambo), but the first one I saw coming up the road.
She just ran to me and threw her little arms around my neck. This big girl walking up the road with all her aunties and cousins is this same girl that I thought many times over would never make it:
I mean, it brought tears to my eyes to watch her run and talk and play and be a big, thriving girl after where she had been.
And it just kept getting better. I'm surprised I wasn't hoarse by the time the day was over. Every new arrival went the same way: baby walks up path, I sprint to greet him or her and family, I figure out which baby (now totally big kid) it is, I scream like a little girl. Every single time. Occasionally this scared the little ones, but they got over it quickly! 

Cynthia was one of the original 8 toddlers I found when I first moved here. She was a timid, shy, quiet little thing then.

She's blossomed into a beautiful little girl, full of confidence and charm.

We all have babies that are especially significant to us for one reason or another. Kathi always loved Gary so much, and they had fun catching up!

He also loved being reunited with his old "brothers" from Eric's House.

Matty then
 This little boy, our tiny Matty, that didn't want to grow or gain weight for awhile, is HUGE.

Matty now
Masuzyo, one of our babies with Down's, is a smart, sassy, talkative little thing now.

Look how small she was then!
And I have no idea how these little babies, Yvette and Yvonne...
...turned into these little girls! I was simply shocked.

The aunties were ecstatic all day, whooping and hollering at every old face! Here they are fighting over who got to hold Nathan.


Finally, it was time for the program to start. We set out the food, a few remarks were said (in which I may or may not have gotten teary), and then we feasted. The babies came first, followed by the women, and lastly the men. We ate until we were full, which made me happy for some of these kids who may not get enough to eat every day.
After eating, it was time for a group picture, which went about as well as a group picture of children aged 2-8 usually goes.
Some made it in the picture, others didn't!

Next it was time for the receiving of gifts. Kathi and I and some of the older kids made Christmas goodie bags containing a couple of sweets, a package of cookies, a bag of jiggies, and a small toy. They each also got 2 books and were able to pick out one stuffed animal. You could tell most of them weren't used to getting to choose something, so oftentimes it ended with us selecting for them.

After some closing remarks and 3 speeches given by families of our babies, it was time for them to go back home and time for us to get back to the babies we still have. I think they all left happy and full.
Grace and Cintia walking home with their new teddy bears.
I wish I could go through and tell you every story of every baby. Each one of them changed me in some way, taught me something, softened me somehow. I'm a better person because of them, and I am so grateful God continues to allow me little glimpse into who they are now. It is humbling to remember what a small part in their lives we play. They go on after us and no longer need us the same way, but we are forever changed. I hope they are, too.


  1. What a glorious day. Blessings all around!

  2. Love the last pic!!! Must have been a glorious day!!!