In August of 2006 I had the great privilege of traveling to Kenya to work at a home for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Basically I played with babies and toddlers (under the age of 2) all day. I was in heaven during my time in Kenya. Everything about that place struck me, but nothing more than the beautiful children I met. One particular little girl really stole my heart - Chrissy. Everyday I laughed with her and held her, I fed her and gave her medicine, and in the end she left an everlasting impression on me.
When I was in Kenya she was about a year and a half old and she was HIV positive. On my last night in Kenya I was working with the infants (downstairs at the home) and noticed that the crawlers (Chrissy's group) were all being brought down to the nurses station for their medicine. Chrissy didn't come. I excused myself and raced up to see what was going on. The woman working, Eunice, told me she was waiting for me to take Chrissy since it was my last night. I had a bond with this kid.
Last week I got an email from a friend of mine who is working at this home in Kenya. It was an updated photo of Chrissy. She no longer lives at this home, but now is part of a home on a tea reservation that was started for kids who have not been adopted (the mission of the home I worked at where Chrissy was is that the kids are adopted prior to turning 2). Chrissy was not adopted.
My prayer for Chrissy is that she is happy and the picture above, a recent photo, shows me that she is. She touched my life forever and I will never forget her. If I have the chance to see her again you better believe I will. I hope I can even tell her someday, when she is older, how much of an impact she made on me.
To be honest Amalea reminds me a lot of Chrissy. They both are incredibly active - crawled early and walked early. They both love to laugh and have incredibly charismatic personalities. You can't help but smile when you are around them. They play hard and cuddle gently. Some may say this is how all children are, but a part of me believes that I was given a child so much like Chrissy as a gentle reminder to never forget the children who don't have a mommy and daddy to love on them like Amalea does.