Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What do you do when you're hungry?

I miss my kids in Africa. I feel compelled to write more stories about them. I'm not sure why but the feeling just won't go away. I talked to a few of the kids this morning and it almost felt like I was right there with them. I got to talk with Dala for the first time in over a year. It was such a treat.

Here's a few pics of Dala.

I want to share a little story about one of the boys at the orphanage. His name is Choolwe and he comes from a sibling group of five. Dala is his older brother, Lwendo is his younger brother, and his sisters are Nchimunya and Mwiza. Choolwe's father passed away when he was very young and he was abandoned by his mother who was unfit to care for so many children after their father's death. He has a lot of depth and has related some incredible dreams about his father.
Choolwe is the comedian of the bunch. One evening he put these sassy little shoes on and walked all over the house. It was hilarious. Love this kid.

On the way to school one day the kids were asking me a bunch of questions that all started with, "In America, do you have (fill in the blank)?" I almost felt guilty telling them about how much we do have. Their eyes got real big when I would tell them stories of America. Then Choolwe says, "Auntie Heather, what do you do when you're hungry?" What an odd question to ask. It caught me off guard because, honestly, I couldn't remember the last time I felt hunger. I told him that my stomach growls a lot but he wasn't satisfied with that answer. Again he asked, "but what do you do when you're hungry?" At this point I'm racking my brain trying to remember the last time I felt hunger and fast Sunday's came to mind. We had a little conversation about fast Sunday and not eating and that seemed to appease him for the moment.
We walked in silence for a bit as I pondered his question. Then I asked Choolwe what he did when he was hungry. His response was profound and as usual with these incredible children taught me a powerful lesson. He said, "I PRAY." I've thought a lot about those two words. This sweet little boy knows more about what it feels to be hungry than I will ever come close to feeling. He and his siblings have suffered a great deal and what does he do when life is hard?...he turns to God. Choolwe goes directly to the source that will bring him the peace and comfort he is searching for. I have found that here in America I have so many distractions that keep me from turning to God first. I take every detour there is to take and then when I have exhausted all my resources I turn to God and the peace that I have been searching for comes instantly. Then why do I waste so much time getting there? Who knows? But I'm trying to do better and I'm grateful for a wonderful boy who taught me how easy it is to turn to God FIRST in times of need.
Choolwe is the best dancer of all the kids at the orphange. This video doesn't do it justice but here's a little peek at his talent. He's the one with the green chatenge.

One more funny thing about this wonderful child. He is the official bum smeller at the house. Whenever anyone puffs (passes gas) all the kids wave their hand in front of their nose and say "bad air". Then Choolwe goes around and smells everyones bums to find out the source. Once the person is discovered everyone in the room says "bad manners" to the offender and we all laugh. Fortunately, I was never caught by the bum smeller.


Emily A. Gunderson said...

Please keep sharing your Africa stories!!
I love hearing about it. (and I love you!!)

brenda said...

Wow. The golden glow of that picture of the two of you is just amazing. I would blow that up and hang it in my house if I were you. Of course, I would stare in the mirror at my beautiful eyes all day long if I were you.

I hate hunger. That made me cry. I love your insights about turning to the Lord first instead of after exhausting all other resources. We can carry that prayer in our heart and seek His will in everything as we go. I just forget that and get off track sometimes, well, much of the time.

Brenna said...

Right on cue Heather! Another answer to another prayer.

I love you - and I hope you know how much you continue to help me in my life.

Heidi said...

Let's make sure we continue to keep these memories alive. Last night as we listend to Evan's talk on the phone I was jarred back into the reality that is Africa. I have become distrated by all the luxury I enjoy here but still want to share these stories and remember what matters most in life. I'm with Brenda-that picture of you with Cholwee is awesome! Looks like Joanne's work-good thing she took all those pictures!

Stephanie said...

I love your stories. And I loved hearing you talk to Evans. You two really do love each other. I just wish there were a way we could make sure they didn't have to go hungry....but I suppose that's the moral of the story, they know what is needed to help them. Prayer. What amazing children. The lessons we can learn from them seem to be endless.

Cheryl Durrant said...

I want to meet Choolwe. When can we go? Seeing your pictures, reading your stories, watching the videos... it all makes me miss Africa. What a great place. What great people. They really have life figured out. Why do we Americans make it so complicated? Just our nature I suppose.

Maybe one day soon we can connect and talk on the phone, eh?

Stacie Raddatz said...

I am so behind. I just am reading your post today. Julia just fell asleep on my lap. Thanks for sharing about Choolwe and your thoughts on turning to God first. I will remember this post for a long time. It is a good lesson for me.

Andrea said...

Oh Sweetie! Your entry made me cry. You are doing such great things in envy you in so many ways. Hope this school year is going well. Love, love, Dre

Mocanoe said...

Heather, what an incredible story! It brought tears to my eyes... we look to Africa as if we need to help them when they honestly can help us more than we can them! Thanks for your wonderful insight!!