Today we visited the Village of Buena Vista La Calera. This remote village has a population of 350 residents, 90 of which are children. All 80 families in this community cook on firewood stoves. They have a potable water system and river nearby. There are no doctors or clinics and only one midwife.
Despite this simple life, these are the kindest, most appreciative, and gracious people I have ever met. However, what stole my heart today was the children here. I have never seen such happy, carefree, and engaged children! They were so excited to see us and greeted us with hugs and smiles and laughter. They dressed in their finest and it seemed like a celebration.
As each new family arrived to the clinic they were greeted by the families that were already there with hugs and smiles. At one point I saw a young girl holding a baby as you will see in the pictures. I later found out that this was not even her sibling yet she loved him as if he was. As we were packing up the bus to head back to Barnabas House many of the little girls ran around singing. And as we drove away they stood alongside the bus and blew us kisses!! 💋
It’s hard to express the love and joy that I felt amongst these families. It was profound, genuine and moving. I feel so fortunate to have had the honor to experience the joy and love here. God’s light has truly shined down upon me and this amazing team of people.
The day ended and we made the bus ride back to the house. As we sat and reflected on the day, a very young woman arrived at our door carrying a small child. She was staying on the Friends of Barnabas campus as part of the Extended Care Program. Her son is due to have surgery for a congenital heart condition, and she just dropped by to visit. She was 16 years old and her boy was 20 months old. Looking closer, we noticed that he had the signs of cyanotic heart disease: clubbed fingers and toes, bluish hue of the fingers, toes and around the mouth. It became evident that this is a very sick young boy. Despite his illness, he was so happy and so loving as was his mother. Her son was smiling and we all took turns holding him. It was a joyous occasion and we all prayed for him and his mother. We were moved by the joy in their hearts, and we were moved to pray together for this very young child for God to look over him during and after his open heart surgery.
It has been an emotional ride but one I have waited a very long time to experience. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. 💜