So here we are, day 6 of our trip to Africa. After 2 days of travel, we arrived at the Iris Ministries base. This is now our 4th day here, and our bodies are starting to change time zones and feel settled in here. Adam still hasn’t gotten his suitcase yet, which never arrived here in Africa. Hopefully we’ll see it soon. Luckily, he packed a few days worth of clothes in his carry-on along with his essentials, so he’s doing alright.
The base is amazing. It’s huge, and hosts nearly 300 children. Even more from around the community attend the schools here. The children are so open to love and are quite welcoming. They know what the visitors are here for, and that’s to love on them. So they all greet you with smiles, waves, high fives and lots of hugs. We are definitely needed. Every child wants you to sit by them, play and talk with them, have you hold them…
The baby room, filled with around 35 of the cutest little toddlers 1-2 years old, is what broke my heart the most. I cannot fully describe the scene of this room as you walk in the door. Once you’ve been spotted, at least 6 or 7 of them immediately run up to you with their arms lifted up to you and begin crying to be held by you. At first, it is a precious site. There’s nothing like being wanted by a child, who longs for your love. But it doesn’t take long before you are soon overwhelmed with them. You know that you don’t have enough arms to possibly hold them all, and you’re quickly overwhelmed with the situation.
It’s a strange mix of joy, sadness and anxiety. The ones being held are so happy and begin smiling as soon as they’re in your arms. But then you look down and see 4 more crying at your feet. There are so many. And all of these precious ones need and deserve a mommy and daddy to each one of them. It is so important in their development. It’s heart-breaking, but I still can’t think of another place I’d rather be. I could spend the rest of my life in that room.
The older kids are amazing, too. Some of them know a little English, and we can communicate with them. We’re also learning many Portuguese words, which definitely helps. They actually speak Mozambican Portuguese, which is different from the European style that we tried studying before we came. My knowledge of Spanish has helped a lot, as many of the words are similar. While Adam’s French hasn’t helped a bit.
Adam and I did get assigned a room to ourselves here, which I was pleasantly surprised about. There’s a little sectioned off area for the visitors here, with community restrooms, showers, eating area and kitchen. All of the water on the entire base has been treated and is drinkable. And the sand on the ground has all been treated for ringworm. We’re still waiting for our 1st trip to the supermarket, which is tomorrow afternoon. I’ve never been so excited about going to the store! We missed the first bi-weekly trip, so we’re starting to really feel it now. Fortunately, we did pack some food, complete with mixed nuts and protein bars. Otherwise, we eat with the kids, which consists of rice and a topping.
Last night we went to the streets of downtown Maputo to preach, pray for people and hand out food to the homeless. Adam and I both got to preach two different times to different crowds. While praying for people, two men were healed. One had a sprained ankle and the other had pulled muscles in his neck. It was good being with the locals in their environment.
We’ve had no real sickness. God has been with us, protecting and watching over us. We are trying to take every moment in. 10 more days here until we leave for Uganda for a week.