|Suzanne and Alfonso|
Magic Number 4…
"The number four has always been my favorite for as long as I can remember and so it seems fitting that on my fourth trip to SMK as part of Team 8 that there would be four significant moments that stood out over the 10 days that I was there.
First moment: Day one as I am walking through the village toward SMK this 4 foot 5 or so little person, in a sweet dress, is standing guard at the gate to Melissa’s. The moment she spots me, she takes off and greets me with a smile as big as Lake Victoria and a hug that would make a giant melt. It was like a Hallmark commercial complete with tears of joy for both of us. This was my little Oliva, whom I had not seen in two years.
Second moment: Another Oliva moment was when we were walking around school holding hands, she quietly said to me, 'Suzanna, I will never forget you.' This stopped me in my tracks. I know that this beautiful young girl stole my heart three years ago when I saw her amongst all the children of SMK quietly sitting on a chair with her small hands gently folded in her lap. She was just a sliver of girl who spoke little or no English, but somehow through holding hands and just being with one another, we formed this incredible bond, that despite the distance, has grown and flourished. I know in my heart that I will never forget my little Oliva.
Third moment: It’s often the simple things in life that are the most meaningful. My third moment was just that, simple. I was reading some books outside the girls dormitory when the skies opened up and it started to rain buckets. We all made a mad dash for the dormitory to take cover, Rita, Oliva, Kaifa, Fiona, Evalyn and me. We sat on a bench, finished reading our books and listened to the rain pound the sheet metal roof like thunder. Held captive by the storm, we started an impromptu dance party, which turned into a 'rain, rain go away' dance. It was the best time, just the six of us hanging out, So often as volunteers you think you have to come prepared with activities, games and projects, but the reality is all you have to do is be present.
Fourth moment: Is a combination of little moments; out of the blue, little Oliva planted a kiss on my cheek, Alfonso (Boy-Boy) came out of nowhere and bear hugged me (Boy-Boy hugs are the best), Peter Damba surprised us all with a visit to SMK on Spirit Day, the kiddos and I decorated the tent on Christmas morning, and the Cobb family and I, with Rose and Joan as tour guides, visited their Secondary School, St. Noa.
They say that life is a series of moments; well my cup is overflowing with all that I have come to treasure these past four trips to SMK with the kiddos. To simply say thank you does not seem to be enough. I can only say that I will never forget a single moment or any of them, ever."
- Suzanne Garr