Appreciation for the little things

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Today marks the day! Today we went to the rural village to play with the children and give them backpacks and school supplies. The long bus ride my mind was misconfigured as numerous feelings and thoughts crossed my mind. We hear so many myths of poverty and what that looks like in Africa that I was scared. I was afraid of what I would feel. Walking into the school we were greeted with warm smiles and excitement from the children as they walked us back to the play yard where the children play basketball and soccer. We divided into teams and let the games begin under the fierce hot sun. We scored and we scored and cheering filled the dirt mountain we played on. The laughter and smiles touched my heart and a form of non-verbal communication was formed into a friendship. Nothing needed to be said for a friendship to occur but it was effortless and childlike. We played like kids, high fived and huddled into groups in between scores. A language, a culture, or a skin color can divide groups but through love and gentleness those divisions are broken and love and friendship occurs, just as it occurred today.

A myth of African poverty that bothers me the most is that the people are “unhappy”. In Morocco we have met poor, wealthy, and very wealthy and nobody is unhappy but joyful of what they do have. The children were thankful for us not because we brought them school supplies but because we played with them, made bracelets with them and showed love through actions. The children felt love from us but I think I speak for everyone when I say that we felt more love then we have in a long time from them. The way the children hugged us and took pictures with us filled our hearts with joy. They were happy that we took the time to come and see them, not because they wanted anything but because relationships are so important and meaningful within their communities that they value us at such a greater level. Spending time with them and being friends with them was more important to these children then any backpack. These young kids may have nothing but they are the happiest kids I have ever been around.

Leaving this school was the most difficult thing I was asked to do this trip. I felt like I was a band-aid stuck on the skin of these kids. The bond, although it was without words was real and full of love. I have a heart for young kids and being with them did not break my heart like I thought it would but it filled me with such joy. How these children can have so little but yet be so happy. I caught myself not wanting to leave because I envied the life these children have. There life is fun and effortless, they have so little but they appreciate the people around them and the little things so much more then I probably do. I was embarrassed of what I valued and felt myself wanting to attach to the life these young kids played in. We gave them hugs and took many photos with them as we said good-bye. Waving our hands out of the bus we said our final good bye and the bus ride was quiet. We were silently full of joy. Intimate conversations with my neighbors were occurring of how appreciative we are for getting the opportunity to have this experience. I was content, sad, and joyful all at the same time. I fell in love with the children and their greater understanding of what is actually important.

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