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Amanda Parks

The singular feeling that permeates my memory from my two weeks in Dar is this: unbridled joy. That and why washing someone’s feet in the Bible makes so much sense now. It is not the cleanest place in the world.

The joy was not rivulets, but floods of happiness.

And this is what I felt when I looked into their eyes. Held them in my arms. Played games with them. Let them use the phone and encouraged the liberal use of the hipstamatic photo app on my phone. Photojournalism of a new ilk. Of course this was followed by exhaustion by early evening. They are little sponges, soaking up every drop of affection. And it feels good to lavish it upon them.  It is a positive feedback loop. Once it starts, you want to keep giving them what they need. The joy is contagious.

I went to Dar with these basic goals: assess what they have, assess what they need, collect local pricing and supplies, evaluate local resources and synthesize all of this into a sustainable program for their physical and mental health.  I accomplished the goals and have enough of an ideological scaffolding to build upon until my next visit, which I look forward to with joy in my heart.


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