Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Goodbye Florida!

The countdown has finally come to an end! Tomorrow afternoon I will be boarding a plane and beginning my summer African adventure. Sometimes it has been hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I will be on the other side of the world submersed in a foreign country with culture and lifestyles I have never encountered in my life for two months. Scary and exciting right? A couple days ago I spent my last day at the beach with my mom. While we were talking about my trip and what I would be doing there, I suddenly came to a realization. I have never seen real poverty! I mean, I have seen the occasional homeless person holding a sign on the side of the road or a poorer neighborhood. But, I have never seen homes with dirt floors and straw mats to sleep on. I have never seen a young child having to raise their younger siblings because their mother died of AIDS and the father has abandoned them. I have never seen a child malnourished, with bloated tummies and tiny bodies, worried if they will find enough food to make it through the day, let alone the week. Throughout preparing for this trip, it has been my constant prayer that 1. God would break my heart for what breaks His and 2. I would see beyond the poverty and with Christ like eyes, see the beauty and love of each individual that I encounter. At this point, I just know that I do not want to come back the same person!

For the past week, our kitchen and family room had been turned into a headband making factory! For the past few months, my favorite  hair accessory has been these flowered headbands I bought at a boutique in St. Augustine. You could always find me with my crazy curly hair thrown up accompanied by one of these headbands. I loved them! So, my mom and I decided that these would be easy enough to make and a perfect gift to give to the women and girls at Amani. After buying the fabric, we thought we could make about 100 to take with me. After about 60 hours of cutting, pressing and sewing, lots of finger pricks from pins and a couple of bandaged fingers, we managed to crank out 198 headbands! My moms best friend even came over with her sewing machine to help out. Even our cats were enjoying this project! Although it was a ton of work, they all turned out great and I can't wait to see the smiles when I give them out! It became a joke that I would be leaving my stamp on Africa with these headbands :)

Also, I am so excited to be bringing a suitcase full of donations. I am so blessed to have people wanting to be a part of everything! I received a TON of clothes that I know are going to bless a bunch of little children and babies :) Here is a picture of some of the things donated. We discovered last night that packing it is the tricky part!

The next time that I will be posting, I will be in Africa! Thank you again for lots and lots of prayers! 

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