As we walked across the compound this evening to say good-bye to the kids, I turned to Mariah and said “Wow, I just can’t believe that we are leaving tomorrow.” I know that’s what we all feel after an adventure of any sort, or even after a week at work. But this time, I really can’t put my mind to the fact that I have only spent such a short time here at HATS, yet feel like I have known Karen and Mariah…the kids…the team…forever. Especially Karen. I love her to bits, and feel such a strong bond with her. It is a wonderful thing to meet someone and truly connect in all kinds of ways. We have shared many, many laughs, joys and even some tears this week (that’s not news for Beate’s friends…but guess what? Karen’s the same way….ha ha ha ha…I love it!).
And Mariah’s always there to hand out the “Disses.” I’m sure we will never look at pancakes the same way again…thanks Mariah for catching my mistake (confusing 6 tablespoons of baking soda with 6 tablespoons of baking powder!). Imagine serving that up to Karen’s next team of workers!!!
I have been so fortunate to have had quite a few unexpected off compound experiences here such as going to the market; going to the bank; visiting neighbours and friends and today we went to the river for a wonderful swim…23 kids and 5 adults plus a huge pot of rice and beans….chicken legs….drinks…plates etc. all piled into two trucks…quite comfortably, I might add 🙂 Karen wanted to thank and reward the kids from the community that always show up to Sunday School…and boy, were they ever excited. Each of the kids received a pair of shorts and top that were donated, and I handed out toothbrushes to them that were donated by my dentist (thanks Dr. Katz…he sent a huge box of toothbrushes with me).
I do have to say that one of my favourite things during my stay here, besides hugging, smooching and playing with the kids,and eating Marta’s fabulous cooking, was listening to Karen’s stories. This woman really needs to write a book, or have someone write her stories down. What a tremendous life she has had, filled with “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (hopefully you all know Clint Eastwood and are whistling the tune right now 🙂 but mostly good. She has devoted her life to helping others, and in doing so has allowed someone like me to come here to learn, and to grow, and to open. For that, I am forever grateful. I know in my heart, that I have started a wonderful friendship and that I have extended my family some more. Karen, you know I won’t be able to express to you how much you mean to me….you’ll get it with my hugs 🙂 With much love…