Friday, December 19, 2008

Feeding Center X-mas...

I went down to the government-run therapeutic feeding center today as I often do on Fridays. However, this time I didn't only come to check up on the patients I referred, but to share Christmas with the moms and children. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas- spending time with those who are less fortunate and being able to make them feel special, loved and not forgotten. I have done this every year so far, so actually, it is kind of expected. A few months ago the head nurse was already asking if we were going to come with Christmas this year. Today was the day, but unfortunately the head nurse was not in.

When I entered the feeding center to check with the nurses that the timing was okay, a little girl of about 2 years ran up to me. Hawa. I met her last week. She's not one of my patients, but is obviously admitted due to malnutrition and tuberculosis. Her mom says she has been there for 1 month now. I picked up little Hawa and she let out a little squeal. Despite being sick, she was happy. And fortunate for me not at all afraid of the 'white man'. Together, we wandered back to the land cruiser to get the rest of our staff and the boxes of gifts.

Before handing out the gifts I thought it important to share the Christmas story with the ladies- not the whole Mary, Joseph, stable, manger, shepherds, wise men bit. But the fact that God sent his ONLY son to die for US so that we could be in RELATIONSHIP with Him. One of my nurses was translating my Krio into perfect Krio and ended up adding a good bit of the gospel message in there. Great chance to minister. During the translation I was playing with little Hawa as she was chatting away, messing up my hair, and tapping me constantly as if to tell me something. I could tell that many of the moms enjoyed me spending time with this little girl.

After the talk I thought it would be fun to sing. When I asked if they knew a song, they started singing a Krio Christmas song in unison followed by 'We wish you a Merry Christmas'. Little Hawa and I then displayed the various gifts we brought with the help of other staff. Little Hawa proudly showed off her little stuffed animal. Small gifts bringing lots of joy. A cute stuffed animal, baby lotion, baby shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste. Everyone was happy. Funnily enough I think there were more kids playing with the toothbrushes than the stuffed animals! : ) Many of the moms said 'thank you' which is not all too common here. They truely were appreciative.

We had to wait for our driver to pick us up. So in the meantime I hopped from bed to bed seeing the kids, talking to the moms, trying to show them I care. One mom was there with 7 month old triplets- one being normal size, one small and one very small. There was another 9 month old that was very tiny but still managed to giggle when I tickled her. All in all it was a very succesful Christmas celebration. Short but sweet. And special to share Christ with the moms and show love to the children. I was again reminded that these children have a special place in my heart...

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~