It’s funny how packed a day can feel when, in reality, you can only point to one or two things that you’ve done. At the end of each of our days here so far, I have reflected on the obscure ratio of the fullness of the day to the number of activities, and it has occurred to me that many of the most valuable moments in life occur in the space between activities, in the waiting periods, in the minutes and hours between the schedule. We must only give ourselves the space to notice them and to value them not as space filling, but as life giving. We live each day here moment to full and ripe moment, and the frustration we once felt with what seems to us Westerners as slowness of pace has eased itself into a graceful and happy sort of patience. Most of the time we don’t know where we are, but we wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.
As such, our days have been spent in communion with those around us, laughing and sharing and dancing and learning and simply being fully in the presence of another being. I am rarely so fully anywhere as I am here.
Some of these moments of sharing have been in hospitals, working through physical therapy with a child, or visiting the homes of many of our children to learn about their lives, their triumphs and challenges, and where we can fit into the scheme. We have been welcomed by strangers in villages and homes and taught to dance by the members of the special needs advocacy group that meets at our office. We have opened our hearts to friendship and are humbled by the response. We are treated as family, and everywhere is home.
The discussions with the families have been enlightening, and we are looking forward to many more. Each child has such different needs, from Livingstone, who has just gone to get an MRI to assess what might be causing his spinal problems, to Abraham, who is now standing and on his way to walking after months of physical therapy with his dedicated mother. We spent some time with 18 year old Nelson, who cooks for his family and hopes to learn shoe-making, and Gloria, who will just be beginning the physio process. Sedem came to visit the office, and we spent some quality time playing into his three year old sense of humor and filming him as he rolled around on the floor and modeled for us until we actually took out the camera.
Sometimes we look back on our moments here and wonder just how some of them came to pass. Just how did we end up leading a parade in the Asogli State Yam Festival? By accident, surely. But there we found ourselves, every one of our senses overwhelmed, and there we shared joy and celebration with thousands of our fellow residents of Ho.
Just how did we find ourselves eating banku with our hands, for the first time, surrounded by twenty of our newest Ghanaian family members? With love and attention, and plenty of curiosity, which also suited us well as we followed our new family through the dense rain forest to one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places we had ever seen. We stood in the soft mist of the waterfall as it slowly descended upon us and marveled in the fact that, all cultures aside, there are certain things that can overwhelm anyone’s sense of appreciation and wonder. As I held Baby Justine, whose name is now Mercy, in the wake of the falls, watching Parker skip rocks with Mercy’s older siblings while their elegantly barefoot mother watched with an air of wisdom and grace, I got to wondering what it is that could possibly take precedence over the healing forces of hours spent outside in the company of good people. But then I also got to thinking that all people are good, so maybe we could have been anyone, and it would have been just as radiant.
Though my thoughts are not entirely coherent or sequential here, I am not entirely apologetic, for life isn’t either. We are filled with joy in these moments, and have perhaps let up on communication in order to be more fully present here. But it seems to be the only choice we can make. We are wishing everyone at home the best, and will update you as the days pass.
But for now, we are here, and that is enough.