Tuesday, August 24, 2010

God's Gift of Hope

After a two hour walk we arrived in the area known as Chavuna-Chinjawa. There an extended family going back many generations lived and died. The Kalumbu family has lived in Chavuna-Chinjawa for almost one hundred years. As we approached the village of Ana's birth we were spotted by a couple of children. As soon as they saw me and Donna they began yelling, "Magoah, Magoah", which means white ones. The closer we got to the huts the little children ran and hid. I was getting used to the children running from me. When we first arrived the kids would run down the road screaming that I was a white monster. I guess at 6'4" and 220 pounds I looked like a giant.

We entered the village and all of the extended family members were there except Ana's maternal grandfather. He lived in his own village area. After a time of greetings, there is a traditional method of greeting, beginning with the eldest in the village, we sat down to talk. Donna was still carrying Ana in the chitanga and some of the women smiled when they saw Donna and Ana. I suppose it was a site they were not used to. In a matter of moments one of the elderly women came and took Ana from Donna. She held her up and smiled for all to see.

After a few minutes of sitting out in the open area between the huts we moved into a small almost open air hut. This is where the adults of the village sit to discuss things and the children know they are not allowed. Ana's father, Dominic, translated for us because in the village he was the only one to know English and our Tonga was limited to greetings and farewells. Before our trip to the village Donna and talked about the visit and what we wanted Ana's family to understand.

We felt very passionately about helping her family understand how much we loved her. If they could visualize how she was doing and know that she was eating everyday and getting the medical attention she needed, they would see the wisdom in allowing her to stay with us. Our visit lasted a couple of hours and on our way back to my truck Dominick took us by Ana's maternal grandfather. He was so happy to see her and his smile could have lit up a room. When we got ready to leave Donna asked if she could take a picture? You have to ask because some of the peoples believe you steal their spirit when you take a picture. He agreed and held Ana so proudly when the picture was taken. Our first trip to the Tonga land of Chavuna-Chinjawa was almost over.

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