Chelsea with village child

Chelsea with village child

My daughter, Chelsea, loved the thrill of off-roading through the boulders, deep crevices, and drop offs that took us to the villages. Not me. I’d gasp and groan and give advice, so afraid of toppling off a narrow path or getting stuck in deep sand. Mr. Mwanjihko, our wonderful field officer, would kindly tell me, “Close your eyes, and say a prayer. God is alive and He is with you.”

These treacherous journeys were wearing me out. Plus, my lips and hands were on fire with sunburn. I needed a break. So I prayed, “God, could we knock off early?”

And just as I prayed, there was Charles along the side of the road, flagging us down and saying, “There’s a funeral. No one will be at the village. You should go another day.”

Yes! Chelsea and I could take a nap, enjoy a Chambo fish dinner, mill around the market, and relax.

But no, Mr. Mwanjihko said, “Let’s drive there and see.”

Drive there and see? Fight the busy tarmac and the long bumpy goat path to see no one? (I didn’t say this out loud. I try to be a team player. But, oh, my flaming lips.)

I prayed, “OK God, your will, not mine.”

When we got to the village the men were in short supply. But the women and children were ready for a party. One woman grabbed me around the waist and picked me right off my feet, cheering and talking as if I understood her every word. So I talked back as if she understood my every word. And we were instant friends. One word I did know was “hugge”. We danced and sang the “hugge” song with hugs all around.

Carol Rose with a

Carol Rose with a “hugge”

One peek at their water hole made it clear why they were so ecstatic – that murky water ladened with foam and twigs and God knows what. (Please don’t ever ask me to drink from a water hole.) I’d be happy, too, to know that my children were finally safe from deadly waterborne diseases. I’d be happy to be free from constant diarrhea. I’d be happy to have clean drinking water all year long.

And I was happy. After all, I knew about the hardships of the mission, having come in 2009. As Jim said in the training – It’s not about me, my comfort, my needs. It’s about clean water for thousands of people.

I came, selfishly, for these happy celebrations, to dance with the women, and to share this with my daughter, who was at my side, beaming.

A woman brought us each a gift of a handmade bowl – clay right from their village, work right from their hands. We will treasure these bowls and these awesome moments.

Thank you, God, for leading the way- for your will, not mine.