Often we are told to find what sets our heart on fire for Christ and to continually seek those who fan that flame. To me, I found this joy every day at the James Place to the point that my mind was consumed with the irresistible longing to relive my summer days here. After a huge answer to prayer, I knew there was no better time to be back than taking this semester off from school. So here I am for the next few months fueling that joy in me each day. Most of my work here is done in childcare. These kids refill my heart each morning as we play in the sandbox or make "food" in the new chipati stands. Their happiness is contagious as tears are quickly turned to laughter that is shared and spread amongst us all. One of my favorite times of day is around closing time when the moms are coming to pick up their children. While it is always sad to close on another day here and see the kids head home, the joy in a child's eyes when his or her mother reaches the gate is an instant joy in my day. It is obvious the kids love their time spent at the James Place during the day based on the shrieks of exhilaration and laughter that can be heard from across the street, but no staff member or intern will ever replace a mother which makes that reunion so sweet every afternoon.
Though all children get excited to see their mom arrive at the gates, one in particular stands out: Faimah. Faimah is one of the sweetest two year old girls we have here who constantly has a smile on her face. She spends most of the day acting as our quiet shadow following us around, occasionally laughing and singing songs just loud enough for us to hear. This past summer on my first day here when I knew no one's name, I vividly remember Faimah crawling up into my lap and contently smiling up at me with soft eyes of welcome. Nothing has changed since this summer including how she reacts when she sees her mom. As she is playing around with other kids in the afternoon, the moment she catches glimpse of her mom,our quiet little girl beams with a stretched out smile and even lets out a few cries of happiness as she drops her toys and runs over to her mom who is waiting to scoop her daughter up into her arms.
One of HEAL's missions is to be able to keep families together. As an intern in childcare, I am able to witness this being carried out every afternoon. These moms are able to drop their children off into a safe environment where they can learn, laugh, and grow as kids so that these women can go work or attend school. At the end of the day, to get to witness this sweet reunion shows me the tangible difference HEAL is making here in Jinja. Seeing the love that continues to form between a mother and child is unexplainably beautiful.