Thursday, August 6, 2009

sai enjima... see you later

Today was our final goodbye to the CLAPAI kids as tomorrow they will be getting picked up by whatever family members they have left to go back to whatever home is available for the summer.

I didn't anticipate it to be this hard at all. I'm sure you all saw it coming, but I didn't. I'm pretty sure I never cried last year in Mexico. And I really, really did not want to tear up in front of the kids.

We spent all day with them today and yesterday. Today we played with them at their house for a bit, then ate lunch with them, and then got to take them to this awesome beadmaking class. All the kids were able to make necklaces and bracelets, and then we took them on a small vertical hike directly behind the place. Our drivers cranked up the music in our vans and we danced with the kids outside the beadmaking hut. All the kids were there, which was awesome as a few can be absent for one reason or another.

The little one that is living with AIDS was feeling energetic and full of life today, a huge improvement compared to his activity yesterday due to disease and retrovirals. Hugging him for the final time later in the night crushed me. The little 6-year old guy needs a miracle to fight longer... so prayers for him. I've never hugged a little child and have prayed so fervently for health with fear that his days to come are numbered and difficult to get through.

So after the beadmaking, the kids came over to our house and we had a fun little graduation party for them complete with grilled goat. Mmmm goat. While I was waiting for the guy to load my plate up, I asked, "What part is that, the ear? And is that the jaw?" Response: "No, that is the liver and that is the throat. Do you want?" (I passed on those specific parts.)

For our graduation party we handed out certificates congratulating them on another year of learning. As well as fun superlative certificates such as "Best Hugger" or "Kindest Heart" or "Best Red Rover Athlete" (that was a coveted one, seriously). It was a lot of fun clapping for the kids and seeing them take pride in themselves.

Saying goodbye was awful, terrible, and I hated it. I remembered right when the kids were heading out the door that Ryan had sent me a picture of Maryann and I to give to her on the last night. And I ran for my bag as they were saying goodbyes. I fumbled through about 20 dead pens (of course) to write a note on the back as the children were hugging my backside (as I was hunched over trying to write). So I was completely frazzled and freaked out that my hug goodbye to them would be them hugging my back. Anyway, I got the picture written on and stuffed it into my skirt.

I had tears welling up in my eyes just before when we prayed for the caregivers and I fought them back as best as I could. When I looked at little Cynthia once I got outside to give her a hug goodbye, I could see her eyes lined with tears and we held each other close for awhile. That broke me. So these factors... intense goodbyes (20 of them to be exact), the children all knowing they're returning to whatever broken home is available tomorrow, and us having our final goodbye after spending 2.5 mos with them. Just heartbreaking for me. The "tough" kids were the ones who had tears pouring down their faces the hardest, obviously having the most difficult time dealing with the sadness. For about 15 minutes it felt like complete chaos to me... 75% of the kids were already on the bus and I was trying to jump on to hug the few that slipped through amidst the tears and shuffling. The bus windows fogged up within a couple minutes and all of them were sobbing loudly and the bus driver telling them "it's okay, it's okay."

I'm sorry this isn't eloquent... just a blur of my thoughts and the events intertwining.

Just before Maryann hopped on the bus, I slipped the picture into her hands and she glanced at it quickly and slipped it into her inside jacket pocket. She knew what it was and had been expecting it and asking about it for the last couple of days. I told her that it was a secret because all the others wouldn't be getting one from me. I was happy to see that she understood based on her discreetness.

After they left and we cleaned, we had worship. The words about how vast and deep God's love is for us, I'm trying to reconcile with how much love and care for these kids I have. It's so sad to see them go and knowingly understand just a fraction of how bad their homelife is. It's sad that they have to return to that. But at the same time, I'm trying to deal with the fact that the love I have for them is a fraction of the love that the Father has for them. I'm trying to reconcile God's promise to shelter them in the same way He shelters me and trying to rid myself of leaning on my own understanding.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog! im saddened you didnt try the goat. also , makes me miss the kids even more! praying for you guys as you have only a couple more days there! I hope God shows you more and more everyday from now what exactly shelter means in you life and how to use it coming back. Tell everyone hello for me! and i hope you enjoyed my gift from chels!(and please throw one of these at someone in the middle of the night)

isaiah 6:8