It has been a very interesting couple of days here in Ghana. Things are progressing well on the house, and we are almost ready to order the roofing, floor tiles, and kitchen cabinets! But I have to share with you what transpired yesterday near the house site. Evans is not only the architect of the house, but has also been the project manager. As such, he is at the site for the better part of every day, making sure things are progressing well and everyone is working! Through him, I have met some of my neighbors. There are two teachers from Hong Kong, one who is German and the other Canadian, who live right in front of me, and come on their school breaks. The family that lives across the road has a questionable reputation, but we are trying to make nice and keep the peace. Down the little road is a typical cement block building, in various stages of disrepair, where there always seem to be many, many children. We knew that they were getting their daily water supply from our tap, wth Evans’ permission (there’s that water again!) and he has gotten to know a couple of the children when they come to fetch water. Of course, one of them is a Kofi! (Kofi is the name given to boys born on Fridays.) So yesterday Evans (also Kofi) learned that there are 16 children in that family! We spoke with a few of them when we invited them to take some of our wood scraps for their cooking fire, and learned that all of them are living in that one room house, much of it without a roof, no running water, and pirated electricity. At one point, Evans gave little Kofi the half-empty bottle of green ice tea he was drinking, and we saw all of the children sharing it back at the house by pouring a sip into the bottle cap so they could each get some. Evans seemed very interested in this family, was curious and concerned about all of them, so we stopped by on our way out yesterday morning. Evans got out of the car and went to introduce himself to the mother, who was cleaning small smelt-like fish next to the fire. Indeed, she has given birth to 16 children, including 3 sets of fraternal twins, and 14 of the children are still alive, most living there. He asked her if we could bring them a few food items to help out (you never just assume you should do this, as it can be very offensive to them, so you always ask first) and she said yes. So, off we went, to buy a 50 pound bag of rice, many liters of cooking oil, and 2 dozen eggs. We returned with it about an hour later, and she was very grateful. In further conversation, we learned her name is Felicia, and her husband was currently at church. He had been working, but became disabled and they were living on his pension, as well as the few cedis they make selling some cooked food products at the road. It was very clear to me that all of these children were loved and cared for as best as possible under these circumstances. But I am also pretty sure the only clothing they each have is what is on their backs, as well as one pair of shoes or sandals. But here is where the perspective lesson comes in. It was Evans, not me, who first noticed and acknowledged this family, and reached out to them. Evans, the young man who was one of 12 children fathered by his father, all of whom he abandoned. Evans, who lived on the streets of Old Ningo for 2 years when he was a young boy and scavenged for food and shelter. Evans, who then was taken in by the Hearts of the Father Orphanage and cared for, and educated. Here is this young man who has spent the better of his life with almost nothing (as measured by our Western standards) making it his business to do what is right and appropriate for this family. I am in awe of what he has in his heart, and very grateful to him for teaching me. He has plans to continue his conversations with both the parents and children, to help them understand what it means to bring all of this children into the world when they are not in any position to provide for them. We’ll see how that goes! I really cannot put into words how this has affected me. But I do know I am going to be a good neighbor to Felicia and her family, and will continue to do what I can to help all of them. I know I can bring a few more items of clothing for them, and we will always allow them to use our water tap. But I want to be sure I find a way to let Felicia know I am not judging her. So I have to change my perspective, and see her as an equal in her role as mother and care taker, and come to meet her on that ground. We will see how it goes. I hope you can feel even a small part of the emotion this has evoked in me…there really are not words.