On Thursday (the 14th) we were privileged to work alongside a team of doctors and nurses who volunteer their time to go all over the world giving free clinics for those who can't afford to see a doctor and teaching health education. Because we have been connected to a couple of villages, we were able to be a liaison for them.
I have pictures, but they are with the King. He traveled on with the Medical team to another city to be of help however he can and he has the camera.
We've been to villages on more than one occasion and it is always completely humbling to see the total lack that these people live in. Lack of basically every convenience...including running water and electricity in many places. In some places it's not that these things are not available to them, but that they are not affordable. They live in the mountains and use ever spare inch of land to grow crops to which they live off of, much less sell for profit.
The lack of nutrition in them all and especially the kids is heartbreaking, but when they look up at you with their rotten teeth smiling out...well, there is nothing you wouldn't do to help them. The problem is...they are a proud people, too. The first clinic found people wandering up to see what are the foreigners were doing and wandering off again...not believing that it really was a FREE Clinic. Eventually, once someone who had been seen and treated by a doctor and in many cases given free medicine went back home and spread the word, people came.
Being a person who loves children, I had a hard time at first making friends with little ones. I'm just TOO foreign. Smiling at them and trying out my language with them. Honestly, if I were in their shoes...I might be scared, too. Imagine this blond (fake) haired person, with eyes they've NEVER seen before smiling at them and talking to them in their language (sort of). It's kind of funny to think about.
I started out taking their pictures and then showing them their own picture on the camera. They loved that at first, but then when there was no longer a wall between us...they became skittish again. Sidenote: Even the older people (80+) would giggle and laugh when they saw themselves on the camera. Many of them have grown up in that village and never left it.
But I persevered and resorted to bribery with stickers. I found a window that I could lean out of and play peek-a-boo out of. Eventually it worked. All the kids were tiny and if they were 10 years old...looked about 5. Once they realized I could be trusted, they brought every kid in the village that they could to get stickers from me. If I noticed a child standing on the outskirts I called them in to get their stickers. The last little boy that I noticed was chubby...the only one I'd seen. His friends were telling me he was "something." I didn't know the word...so I asked the meaning as I watched his eyes drop to the ground in shame and the definition I got was "fat." My response was, "He's not fat, he's handsome!" I'll tell you there are tears in my eyes now as I think about the look he gave me when he realized what I said. I hope I didn't embarrass him, but I can't stand cruel kids. But even if I did embarrass him, I think he forgave me...just by the look I saw in his eyes.
Moments like that make all the struggle to get language WORTH EVERY BIT.