Now He Knows His Name!

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DSC_7141.JPG Some of you reading this blog may remember my story about the little boy at the garbage dump that I found that told me he couldn’t remember what his name was that his mother called him. He was an orphan and had been without parents for more than 7 years. He was at the dump that day because he often came there looking for food and to collect bottles to get some form of income (less than 25 cents a day).

As our truck pulled once more into the village

that we have been working in this past month, I was immediately scanning all the beautiful little faces looking up at me and searching for my special face. I saw him within a moment because he was trying to catch my eye and a huge smile crossed his face as soon as I waved. I jumped out of truck and we came running toward each other. His laughter was infectious as I smothered him with kisses and love. He knew that I had ‘regalos’ (gifts in Spanish) for him today, so he was even more excited to see me (let’s be honest!)…

The doctor and the medical team and the students that had come with me that day all set up their clinic and braced themselves to see over 100 people in a 3 hour time period and I began to get some business done in the village. After everyone got settled into their routine, I grabbed the hand of my little friend and we stole away so I could quietly give him the gifts and tell him about the surprise I had for him.

We went to a quiet place where two other orphaned boys were and I brought out their gifts. Their eyes filled with excitement as I brought out shiny basketball jerseys and some rice and beans, and the brand new can of Pringles chips for each of them! They were so excited! They kept asking me, “for me?” and I was choking back the tears as I saw their eyes when I handed them their new clothes. I could tell that they had never owned anything so nice before and the whole moment seemed almost holy and surreal to me as we stood in this dirty alley and shared such an intimate experience. I pulled my little friend aside and I brought my translator to help me. I told him how much I loved him and how special he was. I told him that I thought for a long time about a name for him and I wanted to give him something special that would remind him all the time of how much he was loved. I had searched for a meaningful name and I had found the perfect name: David, because ‘David’ means to be loved and cherished. His eyes lit up and I asked him if he understood that. He nodded his head and as I kissed him through my tears, I saw a little tear in his eye. I held him and told him that from now on, whenever we saw him, we are going to call him David so he is reminded of how much he is loved. He nodded his head and hugged me.

As I sit here I am crying (surprise!) because this is about more than emotion. It is about more than sympathy or even empathy. It is about love. Love is the highest human aspiration. Is not the goal of all to love and be loved? Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. When I look at David, I see love. He is not living in the anger of the past and how much he feels ripped off with where life has left him. He is always kind to the other kids and makes sure that they have a share of whatever he has. Love is not proud or self-seeking. David is gentle and so willing to open up his heart to me.

I am honored and blessed to share these few short weeks with someone so beautiful. I am also honored to share this experience with these amazing Heroes that have joined me. They make me want to continue to forge ahead and be the voice for the David’s of the world. Together, we are going to make a difference for the poor and the exploited. Somehow, I have to believe that in my heart. Every moment we have to make a difference has the possibility of leaving a resounding impact through to the generations to come. Our lives are an amazing gift and the best possible thing that we have to offer is our own willingness.

In David’s village, there are 36 orphans. All of them are displaced people with no country or origin. They are enslaved by poverty, and some of them that I have met were physically enslaved and exploited before they got there. They have escaped violence and abuse, and are currently still very vulnerable and needy. They need and education and they need people like me and these students and people like you to see their cause as our own and to see them as our own children. We succeed when they succeed.

Please continue to remember us as we work with this community and begin to somehow make a small dent in the big picture.

ps…yesterday, we went back to David’s village, and my friend John walked up to him. When he looked at him, he pointed and asked “David?” and David broke into a huge grin and pointed at himself and said, “me!”…

ahhhhh…who would have ever thought I could find something so beautiful and valuable in a garbage dump? He is my treasure!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 31st, 2007