Yesterday’s Oprah show featured several women from North Carolina who had gone to Liberia to do mission work and had returned with the notion of adopting some of the orphans they had met there. These determined moms did just that and are now raising African children in the city of Charlotte. Max was watching the show with me and asked if I had considered doing the same thing when I was in Uganda. I had to admit that, while it had crossed my mind on several occasions, I was actually looking forward to this next chapter in my life – the empty nest one - which will allow me to pick up and go whenever and wherever I’d like. Ideally, I’ll travel with my camera in my backpack and make pictures while I’m away - pictures that will ultimately benefit other people, open peoples’ eyes to certain situations and open my own eyes, too.
I take my hat off to these women and their families, though.
Often I just sit and look through the images I made in Uganda, lingering on faces, studying expressions, considering certain moments - trying to take in the details in a more complete way. I still cannot fully explain what it was that moved me so. Listening to the moms on Oprah talk about their experiences in Liberia, though, struck a chord. And looking into the faces of the children they have adopted, even though just on a TV screen, reminded me of the way I felt when I was walking around the orphanage hand in hand with the children there.
Tomorrow I will travel to Kentucky to visit my father for a few days. As some of you know, I will sleep in the same bedroom that has been mine for nearly fifty years! When I consider the stability, the connectedness and the certainty that I have been granted – things that have really been the centerpiece of my life – I feel lucky. The children at Operation Breakthrough and the children at the orphanage in Uganda refer to their homes as the places where they “stay.” Not where they “live.”
I bet these hopeful, happy kids who have found themselves in Charlotte say that’s where they live now. How cool is that…