Before I left for this wonderful adventure in Africa, my mama shared a meaningful message with me. This year I had expressed how I did not want ANYTHING for Christmas, only money towards the trip. In addition I really am at the point were I don't need things, I have so many. I would rather someone donate money in my name or something of the sort. My mother and I were doing a bit of Christmas shopping and talking about this idea again. I could tell she was somewhat upset/uneasy about what I was saying. She paused, looked at me and said, "Cyndi, sometimes you just need to accept a gift." I don't think I fully appreciated the significance of this statement until some encounters on this trip. The other day we played with the children of a daycare in Delft. It was so incredibly tiring, humbling, and fun! At the end, the workers insisted on feeding us lunch. Lamb, potatoes, salad, and rice. Delicious. I had a hard time really enjoying it though, because as we ate, children with eager eyes gathered in the doorway. We had an audience, which made me feel guilt with every bite. One girl told a classmate of mine that she had yet to eat today. I had an omelet for breakfast and now was being fed. I could easily afford to buy food back in town. And I had food back at the house. It was a very uncomfortable experience. We also recently went on patient home visits with the Afrika Tikkun nurses. The woman we visited had suffered from a stroke. She sat in her on her bed, her left arm holding her right, skinny as can be, dressed in pink. With the nurses help she has regained the ability to walk (with some assistance) and speak. I was not really sure how to act or what to ask.When we left I smiled at each family member and thanked them. One of the oldest male's said, "God will bless you." When I existed the shack, tears just started flowing. I struggled with how he was able to give me a blessing, when I felt like he was in the midst of so much hardship. I could not really wrap my head around the morality of it all. When reflecting on both of these instances, my mom's words came to mind, "Cyndi sometimes you just need to accept a gift." How incredibly rude to deny something that is given to me, whether it food or a blessing. Who am I to say I do not deserve your gift, or you do not deserve to give me a gift. Even if I feel I am not deserving or others are more deserving, sometimes I need to step aside and graciously, respectfully accept what is gifted to me. Giving is a gift to the giver as well as the receiver. Receive graciously. Love fully.