Monday, June 22, 2015

Oranges and Avocados

To say that the care workers in Sukubva and the children there have been on my mind lately is an incredible understatement. As Easton and I plan and fundraise and prepare for our return to Zimbabwe in October, our conversations have been peppered with the names and memories of the people we are so looking forward to seeing again. One of our favourite friends in Zimbabwe is a sweet boy named Dylan, who Easton befriended pretty much immediately in Sukubva.  This morning, we learned we are going to have to wait a little longer to see our friend Dylan again as we got the news that he passed away yesterday, June 21st.

I've written about Angeline before and her son Dylan, and how incredible her love is for this boy. She  reoriented her whole life to serve Dylan when he was born and made unimaginably difficult decisions in order to make sure he knew he felt loved and valued. Angeline is a teacher by training but gave that up to spend her days with Dylan, caring for him physically, exercising his body so that he could grow in strength and loving him fiercely so that he would know how precious he is. When we met Angeline, she had just begun to volunteer with the community based organization in Sukubva. She stayed in a small room on the piece of property that the c.b.o. owns. She organized teaching times and took care of the preschool aged children so that their siblings could attend school in the community. She cares for many children during the day, with Dylan at her side.

While we were in Zimbabwe, it struck me that poverty is incredibly difficult for mothers and children. It's intensified by the thousands if a child is facing health issues or disabilities. Many children are abandoned or neglected if they are sick or mentally disabled. Dylan's mother worked tirelessly to get him the food supplements he needed to allow him to digest nutrients properly, even when it meant going without food for herself or facing long line ups at the clinic. When we were there, I wanted to bring something special for Dylan because we were having lunch together that day. I asked Angeline what he would like and she said that he would like oranges and avocados. The two sitting side by side in my fruit bowl always makes me think of that day.

This is the hard part about investing yourself in the lives of others, near or far. The truth is that when someone you love hurts, you hurt. I know that this night in Sukubva, though it's just morning here, there are tears and pain in the hearts of many we love there. And one mother's heart is grieving the loss of the boy who was never far from it physically, his place on her hip or next to her on the ground, or in the same bed in a small room in Sukubva.

I'm sorry that we have to wait even longer to see our friend, Dylan, again. I'm hanging on to the hope that when we do, he'll be running towards us, with his eyes able to see us, and his voice able to tell us all that he's experienced since he left.

Angeline and Dylan in Sukubva 

Dylan was always ready with a smile for the voices of those he loved

Easton and Dylan getting to know one another in Sukubva,
Dylan began to smile anytime he would hear Easton's voice

Easton and Dylan talking about who knows what. Boy stuff.
My favourite little face in Sukubva....this boy's smile came often and easy...despite
his circumstances. He lived a life filled with love, thanks to his mother, Angeline. 

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