I sat in shock as Geoffrey spoke about his life. I was keenly aware of my body language attempting in every way not to show patronizing pity or shed a tear because he was able to speak without tears but with a subtly hopeful expression. No, my tears must be held back now. They are not productive at this moment. At this moment he needs an ear listening and a voice that will go out and tell his story. Our tears help little our action will do much more. And his story is quite and amazing one.He grew up as an orphan. I feel like the weight of that sentence can never be understood by those who haven't been the subject of such a sentence. All Geoffrey could say about being an Orphan is that the pain and emptiness is inexplicable. I believe we are made by a personal God. We are made to feel personally loved, adored and personally cared for by a parent. After all, our relationship with our God is that of a child with a parent. And so to have no such earthy relationship goes against the very core of our being. One thing that continues to break my heart here is that so many parents don't have the simple luxury of delighting in their children. They don't have the time or the energy. Geoffrey tried to explain this feeling of growing up without parents to delight in you. He would utter a few words to try and explain and he would stop mid sentence and say there is just no way to help us understand. This man was the kind of person that inspires you simply through his physical presence.Geoffrey's story is one of deep pain but great hope. He has started one of the Community Based Organizations we are working with called TAOST, The Aids Orphan Support Trust. They provide vocational training, education for orphans, support for widows and income generation for those impoverished. He tells so many stories of deep suffering. This past year four of their sewing machines were stolen along with a typewriter. He watched a widow and a child die from their community as they desperately tried to get these victims medical attention. His 4 month old baby has already had malaria 5 times. You may think this sounds too hard to be true but it is just a glimpse of the difficulties they face. However, he tells about the successes of his organization as well.There was another man sitting next to Geoffrey. He seemed very ill and was barely able to hold his eyes open. He is suffering from Malaria and could hardly stand up but he said he wanted to meet us so he got out of his bed. That is just the thing. The people we have met will do just about anything to connect with people that can share their story and bring some hope. So this man mustered up the strength to come meet us. Geoffrey kept repeating as he told these stories, "There is light at the end of the tunnel." And the man sitting next to him, his name is Bright.
Posted by Erin