How could I possibly even begin to tell you?
About the welcomes, the gratitude, the pride and love?
About these hard-working young men who attend a local college courtesy of World Vision, to be trained as carpenters and have a trade behind them for the rest of their lives? How strong and proud they were, that when I told them my husband also is a builder and trains apprentices ... they all smiled broadly. And when I said "Builders are best!" They laughed and one of them (the guy on the left) made me put his phone number into my phone.
"You tell your husband I come work for him."
I looked at that cabinet and I said, "that is recycled!" And they said yes, it was. I asked what kind of wood they used because I thought Dave might like to know and they answered but I didn't recognised it so they said it was close to mahogany.
How can I POSSIBLY explain to you about the five women who run this hair salon originally funded by World Vision ... and we sat on their mat and Emma was brave enough to get her hair braided which literally brought tears to her eyes because it hurt? And all of the women laughed because they said her hair was too soft to do it properly ... and these women were not married anymore for a variety of reasons but they had to somehow provide for their children? (And how can Emma be so together and giving and special and she's only 27 years old? I was AN IDIOT at 27 years old.)
This schoolgirl stood up and recited a poem to us called "Menstruation." It was all about how no LONGER do they feel ashamed and no LONGER do they miss school because of the teasing and embarrassment. And they showed us how they were taught to make their own sanitary napkins by a World Vision-funded program and now they can feel free and empowered.
They learned to measure and sew the material, then fill it with a piece of plastic and cotton wool. When the cotton wool is filled with blood they throw it away, wash the material, then re-fill it with cotton. Such a simple thing, to give dignity to these girls. I was incredibly touched and humbled. I'm due for my period soon so I just packed some tampons. Didn't think twice.
I told them they were amazing and special and powerful and they were SO SHY but as I hugged them all goodbye they gripped me HARD.
This concrete thing is the placenta pit at the HIV Clinic we visited yesterday, used to treat women who are HIV-positive and help prevent mother-to-baby transmission. After the birth they drop the placentas down in there, pour paraffin in top and burn them. I announced to the crowd of aid workers that my husband buried the placenta of one of my children under an apple tree and one of the men laughed so hard he had to stop walking and put his hands on legs.
"Apple tree! You grow good apples, yes?"
This guy proudly walked around the fish hatchery in the coolest pink hat and declared: "We are not fisherman. We are doctors of fish."
And man I was so tired at that point. Exhausted. Some parts of the day were SO hot and boring and a little bit gruelling. I wondered if I'm getting too old to do things like this but I think it's just I was exhausted before I even arrived, mentally and spiritually.
One look at these people who are so determined and strong and how they get given one piece of help and they're sorted for the rest of their lives. Yesterday just blew my mind and no words can do it justice. We visited a group of young people who were taught sewing and they all sat in a hot school house, surrounded by their Singer sewing machines ALL from Australia. Australians, you guys really are generous people.
This beautiful 22-year old woman tried to show me how to sew. I FAILED. We both have children. She doesn't have a husband anymore so when she graduates the program, she will get given the sewing machine to make dresses and skirts and tops to sell at the markets.
They were all so shy, there in the sewing place. But at the end? They sang as a gratitude song which was weird because *I'M* the one with all the gratitude.
I don't know how to properly tell you all of this! I so badly want to do these people justice with my words. They have a power I rarely see.
How you can help World Vision
Letters to Home (written before I left)
Hey you guys one day when I was a little girl I was at pre-school and accidentally swallowed an orange pip when I was eating my little lunch. I cried so hard, because I thought an orange tree was going to grow in my tummy and out of my mouth. The teacher assured me that it wouldn’t, but I still waited for the branches to come. Now I’m pretty sure that if you accidentally swallow an orange pip, an orange tree won’t grow in your tummy …. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW. It could. Against all odds, amazing things can happen. Love you. xx
PS Dave - Civic Video Katoomba keep texting me because I have overdue things? I think Rocco borrowed some games out or something can you ring them and ask and tell them my name and phone number THANKS HON LOVE YOU xxxxx