A Joy-Filled Trip to Zambia

Volunteer and child holding hands in Zambia.

My trip to Zambia with my daughter, Emily, was extraordinary—eye-opening, joy-filled, heart-wrenching, personally stretching, immensely fulfilling.

Flipping through my journal on the first day, I’m reminded of my time at the Children’s Resource Center (CRC) on the first day.

So many things touched my heart that day. 
This was the day I was excited for; this was the day I was fearing.
I was so excited to meet the kids at the CRC.
I was so afraid my heart couldn’t handle the sadness of seeing these children who have had so much pain in their lives.  

The children at the CRC were so welcoming, so beautiful, so ready to give and receive love. 
A little girl named Shelley came and took my hand, pulling me to play with her.  She wanted to swing and play rock jacks—her games.  Her friends joined us and we played London Bridge and Spinning Princesses—my games.  

Shelley and her friends tried to teach me several phrases in Nyanja: Mulibwangi (hello) and Bwinobwangi (I’m doing well) were all I could seem to really learn.  Shelley and friends included me in their captivating circle dance games and engaging hand games.

An unexpected, connecting, pure joy came as Shelley and I were walking on the dusty path back to the schoolyard.  She was holding my hand—a little loosely, as most of the children did, maybe because too-tightly held hands would get sweaty in the Zambian heat?  I gave Shelley’s hand 3 little squeezes, like we do in my family, and said, “I love you!”  To my surprise and delight, Shelley squeezed my hand back, saying “I love you!” Shelley said, “Your daughter Emily taught me that when she was here before.”

A completed, encircling connection of motherhood and mothering—truly, Mothers Without Borders. ❤️

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