Friday, September 13, 2013

Welcome to Yako

I am well into day 2 of my stay at Yako, and I'm really finding my
place here!! Amy (the woman running the orphanage) asked me to begin
pulling one baby at a time out of their play area and having
one-on-one time with them, to help with developmental stuff... fine
and gross motor skills, shape and color recognition... things like
that! I'm looking forward to getting things started with that. Here's
a post I wrote my first night here. The internet has been a challenge,
so it's taken me a few days to post, but better late than never!! I
went with Amy and her husband Mike to a few villages today to
distribute grain to a few widows. They are really trying to do
EVERYTHING through the church, so that the people in the villages look
to the church for support instead of to Americans. Brilliant! We
scouted out a few well-drilling projects while we were there. I'm not
sure if I will be around for that or not, but I sure hope so! Tomorrow
is our TOMS shoe distribution! I'm so excited. I can't wait to write
about it!

I’m sitting in my African house where I will be living for the next
two months, in the middle of a rain storm, crying because there’s no
toaster… Let me rewind and explain how I got here.
At around 11:00 am, Amy and Mike Riddering loaded me and my belongings
into their car and we took off for Yako. What should have been a mere
2 hour journey turned into an 8 hour adventure. After FOUR flat tires,
two motor-bike (called motos) trips to the nearest village and one
HUGE rain storm (which turned the streets of Yako into a raging river.
Seriously.) we arrived at the orphanage guest house. By now I’m tired,
I’m soaking wet and I’m seriously sunburnt. The sun here is SO MUCH
hotter on my poor white skin. We unloaded all of my stuff (and it was
a lot of stuff… grocery shopping for two months worth of food is no
joke people) and Amy gave me the tour. I fought back tears as I peered
around my future home. There is electricity and running water so it is
seriously luxurious for Yako but it was a bit of a shock to my
comfortable American self. There were bugs. Lots of bugs. And the
shower is just a shower head over the toilet. There’s red African dirt
kind of everywhere. It felt foreign and scary and isolated. After they
made sure I had everything I needed, Mike and Amy headed back to their
home (a mere block away) and I locked up for the night. I decided I
would make myself some peanut butter toast. Something that felt
familiar and comforting.  As I looked around the kitchen area, I
quickly realized that there’s no toaster. There’s no toaster for my
peanut butter toast. Cue tears. Lots of tears. Lots of pent up tears.
I sat at the kitchen table and cried. Not so much about the toaster,
but more about being so far from home, and being all by myself. The
tears are a weeks-worth of tears that I’ve been fighting back. So I
let them out, but as I did, I heard God’s gentle voice saying “Emily!
This is AFRICA! This is what you worked so hard for. This is what
we’ve been dreaming about. Africa isn’t about toasters and comfort.
It’s about healing the sick; it’s about bringing my Kingdom. It’s
about showing love to the least! It’s about comforting the fatherless
and bringing joy to the widows. Emily, this is Africa.”
So quickly I had forgotten what I worked and struggled and journeyed
so hard for. Not for comfort but for the beautiful people of Yako. For
the 20 babies sleeping next door who were without homes and moms and
dads. For the hundreds of children in the neighboring villages with
malaria and without shoes. This trip is so not about me. And it took
me getting REALLY uncomfortable to remember that.
SO, now I am sitting in the middle of a rain storm (under the cover of
my lovely little home) eating untoasted bread with peanut butter. And
loving it!

1 comment:

Isaak said...

Welcome to Yako! It is a beautiful, wonderful place full of hurt and need, but it is also full of hope and love and joy. Enjoy your time there and never forget who sent you there.

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