What I find myself unable to say about Angola

Since I’ve returned from Angola, I’ve been trying to work through this experience & I’m not really sure if I’m making any progress.  There were many things that we experienced, but one experience has left me without words & very raw.  Truthfully, I think this experience has probably forever changed me – Im presently unable to express myself but I want you to know about Angelina.

Please read the post from our photographer, Steve Stanton

http://stevestantonphotography.com/blog/

He has put into words some of this experience and maybe sometime later, I’ll be able to talk about this, sharing in my own words what I find myself unable to do now

 

Processing Angola

I’ve been home for about 36 hours & I’m trying to work through some thoughts & feelings, which are rather jumbled around.  Its complete bliss to get to be with my family – they are nothing less than spectacular & I’m thoroughly grateful for them!!!!  At the same time, I’m also trying to process this last week.  When I see a baby now, I have this instinctual reaction to ask how old & how much do they weigh.  When the mom tells me the answers, it feels like I shatter into a million little pieces in my heart & thoughts as I think about the babies I’ve just seen, held, touched & am trying to help.

One such family is a single mom with 2 kids – Marcella.  Her youngest son, Belito, is about 14months old & struggling with malnutrition.  Marcella has had 6 kids & only 2 are surviving today – the 4 who died never made it to 6 months old.  I met Belito & Marcella at a malnutrition clinic we visited & I was able to visit her everyday when we were in Angola.  We got to visit her home, meet her oldest son who is 8yrs old, meet her mom & exchange greetings with her neighbors.  Belito weighs about 13lbs & is 14months old.  He is very weak & frail.  His mom is trying super hard to help him to get better.  As a single mom, she doesn’t really have a job & there’s no gov’t support or subsidies to help her, so her way of getting money to buy food is to slowly sell off whatever she has that’s valuable.  She used to have a job selling bananas, but since Belito has been sick, she hasn’t been able to stay with the banana selling.  She lives w her mom, who has a job washing clothes and this helps Marcella a little bit.  When we asked how we could help her, she said that some rice, beans & oil would be super helpful.

I talked quite extensively with Marcella, seeking to understand how she arrived in the current situation.  When I asked about her husband, she explained that he left her because he felt that she couldn’t take care of his kids because they kept dying.  He doesn’t give her any support & she’s never learned to read or write.  In our conversations, I asked her what would be some things that she’d like to achieve & she said that she would like to get back into the studying she had been doing before Belito got sick, so she could learn to read & write.  We talked about various job possibilities & what she’d like to be doing in the future to earn a living.  This was all a very powerful conversation for me that occurred over the course of 5 days.

I very much want to help Marcella – she’s a kind and intelligent woman who deeply loves her son.  Before we left, we bought her the rice, beans & oil, but we also bought her some formula & porridge for when Belito gets discharged from the malnutrition clinic.  I explained how to mix the formula – quantities of water (boiled please) along with scoops of formula & then how to mix these w the porridge.  All in all, at this point, I’m not sure who has benefitted more from this friendship – Marcella or me.

Angola, while being being an extremely poor country, is very rich with the quality of her citizens.  The picture attached isn’t of Marcella & Belito (they are the picture in my last blog), but is a VERY common scene.

Angola – so powerful

I’m sitting here reflecting about this trip to Angola & I have so many thoughts & emotions running around in me right now.
We captured on video & pix some of the best work that has ever been doing w saving Moses – massive complements to Steve & Todd w great thanks to their fantastic wives, Jamie & Carrie.
The richness of experience on this trip has been extremely vast. One of our friends asked us last night what 1 main thing that we’re taking home. My answer was that I was able to get a 1st hand look at infant mortality in the eye. I’m still kind of reeling & processing from our experiences overall, but also from a very specific day. I think I need to wait for a day or so before attempting to communicate some of these events bc it’s all very raw in me right now. So pls come back to this blog bc I’m planning to share more about some of these experiences.
In the meantime, thanks so much for all of the prayer, support, encouragement that everyone has expressed – it’s been HUGELY helpful to me in a very personal level

Lets Make a Difference in Angola

Today was pretty hard core. It’s after 9p & I’m struggling to process this day & it’s events. We drive to a more remote city / town & visited a medical clinic w some volunteer Portugese medical students & doctors who were doing everything possible to preserve life under unbelievable conditions.
I’m not sure how much I can share at this point because of how this is affecting me. How could we consider a day to be successful when possibly only 1 infant died of anemia & malnutrition instead of 4? What about the family that has contracted tuberculosis that is a strain resistant to the 1st line of drugs? Is the 2nd line of drugs for tb available?
How about the 6yr old sister charged to watch her 4 wk old brother? Or the single mom who needs a job & whose 14month old son needs food?
And yet the good news of today is that one of the severely malnutritioned babies we visited yesterday we were able to look in on & it looks like she’s going to make it!
When you do something to “the least of these”, you’ve done it to Me – Matt 25

Angola – lets help!

Angola 2
Well, today was unreal. We were able to visit a malnutrition clinic for babies & I’m finding it extremely difficult to find words to communicate how this is affecting me. We got to meet the moms of these babies & it was really incredible to meet these women. I met a mom who had traveled approx 400 miles to bring her daughter who was born with a clef pallet & having difficulty feeding her baby.
Please check out my facebook page to see a brief glimpse of some dear people I met today.

Savingmoses in Angola

Well, it’s been an interesting day!
I landed in Angola – my 1st time to come to this country &  it’s quite amazing. Angola has recently come out of more than 25 yrs of civil war & there are still approximately 12 million landmines scattered around the countryside. Angola has about 13 million citizens to give you some perspective. So part of my intro to Angola, a crash course, was the quickie landmine schooling: red is bad & blue is safe. So my friend, whenever you’re down this way, watch out for any fields with red on the trees – avoid these fields.

We were able to visit a school &  feeding program associated with  the school. I’m attaching some pictures of a normal classroom &  the teacher for this class. We met some very great kids & tomorrow we’ll be visiting some very small people with some very severe needs. So come back tomorrow & you can also keep up to speed w me real time on twitter & facebook if those float your fancy.

Beautiful Angola!

Angola 1
I just landed from a bit of a whirlwind visit to Morocco w mom & the group trip. Morocco is a very fascinating country & at some point, it would a great privilege to get to spend some time there w the people.
As for now, we’re driving through the countryside in Angola & I’m getting a feel for this huge country. Only recently has this country had any stability, coming out of almost 30 gets of civil war. Part of my introduction to Angola was to learn that red signs mean that an area has NOT been cleared of landmines & blue signs mean that the land mines have been cleared.
The avg family has at least 5 kids & probably at least 2-3 kids die per family. There’s not much of a public school system here so the literacy rates are super low.
I know that we are going to see some very intense & even outrageous things, while meeting some very fantastic people. I’m planning to blog everyday, paying special attention to @savingmoses – remember, Angola has the world’s highest infant mortality rate, due to malnutrition, lack of basic medical care & poor water supply. Let’s change this country!