Today is our last day at Fatima. I would love to write with abundant detail, but I think this post will be more of a conclusion of my experience.
Most of us spent the morning at St. Anthony's playing with and saying goodbye to the kids. Tears come more easily than words when attempting to describe the experience. I think the most concise way to explain it is that we have cultivated a deep love for those children and a terrible longing to keep them in our arms.
Yesterday we spent the morning painting the mural at Barefoot School. It reads: "Welcome to Barefoot Community School," then under those words we painted the logo of the two bare feet, then below that, their motto, "I Can Do It."
I am so grateful for having been able to experience the beauty of this place two times. I refuse to believe that this is my last time coming here. The Dominican Sisters in Zambia have cultivated a community that has such a bright future, purely due to their loving presence. They educate, care for, and enrich the lives of these joyful people in ways that I know we often lack back home.
My greatest hope in relaying the story of our stay here is to paint a clear picture of how this place has impacted me. We undoubtedly see things that are painful to see, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.
As we drive past people on the streets, we wave to them. Our waves are met with enthusiastic smiles and waves in return. People say, "You are welcome" each time we enter a new place. Mothers rely on each other for support; strangers interact as though they were family. The girls at Fatima work harder than any students I have ever met, rising as early as four in the morning to sweep their dorms, rake the leaves from the beautiful landscaping, care for the rose bushes, and more. The novices in our dorm complex spend their day praying, cleaning, and cooking wonderful meals for us.
I came to Zambia to do service for this community. I came here to offer all that I have to these people in hopes of making a small difference in their lives. It turns out that they changed my life. I have no doubt that I will dedicate my human existence to helping others have a better quality of life. I have learned that the human experience is a difficult one. Our ability to contemplate, change, and study ourselves is a heavy burden and a miraculous blessing.
Tomorrow we leave bright and early for our two-day stay at the safari lodge. There we will be immersed in some of the the amazing natural beauty that Zambia has to offer; it will be a time for rest and reflection. Our stay here in Zambia is quickly coming to an end, but the impact that this trip has had on our team will remain with us no matter where life takes us.
Much love from Team Mutomo 2015