Joy is in the richness of relationship and answering the call to love.
There are several children who have left the orphanage since we were here last year. They were older children, 12-14 years, who had spent a few years here, caring for their infant siblings. When an infant is accepted into the orphanage, often because of a mother’s death in giving birth or from HIV/AIDS, an older sibling must come and help care for them. They also help the baby maintain a connection to family. When the infants grow to age 2-3 years, they and their caretakers (older siblings) are given back to be reintegrated into their extended families and villages. Carol Clementi, or Mimi, as she is known to all children, was heartbroken that she did not get a chance to say good bye to the ones who had gone back. Two of the boys had left her a love note, expressing their own love and gratitude for her kindness, thanking her for loving them. Bittersweet. They thought they would never see her again. Mimi has a way with children. Every child feels her love and feels truly special in her presence. It is that special kind of love you would call “God Love” that comes through her. It has a bright light to it. So last week, we enlisted the help of two young adults, Angela and Anistine, who had worked at the orphanage to help us find two of the boys in their village. We taxied to Fundong and then trekked into the village up and down dusty, rocky steep hills. We asked people we passed if they knew where the boys lived. Some did not. Others simply pointed ahead, up another hill. Our friends kept saying, just a bit further, again and again. We walked for many miles, at times wondering if we would ever find them. Finally, Anistine spotted the boys’ older sister on the road. We knew we were close. These pictures are of Carol’s reunion with Deron and his younger brother Ahfombu. It was wonderful to witness. And wonderful to see that the boys were doing well. This is the love that started “A Call to Mercy”. Then as a bonus, during our trek back to the town, we came across another child who had been in the orphanage, Gottie. It was a very sweet day. Trekking, the way the people of Africa do, gives one an insight into the real life here. How difficult it is, how strong the people are. When we were about a 1 mile walk from Njinikom, I expressed how tired I was and asked Angie if she was tired too. She said, “I cannot yet be tired, because I still have further to go.”