I never expected to feel close to one child in particular, and this is exactly what happened to me in the Mayan village of Red Bank, Belize.
Yenni, an eleven-year-old girl, found me. I noticed her in the classroom, when I called upon all the children to follow me for their health screening. She seemed different, perhaps her assertiveness, her “tom-boy” look and the fact that she was one of the few girls who wore pants instead of a skirt, made Yenni stand out.
Yenni didn’t just follow me, she studied the nurses and their treatments. She watched as they wrapped the blood pressure cuff around the arms of the kids, applied creams to infected skin and took temperatures. I could tell her brain cells had kicked into full-time absorption mode. During a restroom break–something we all tried to avoid due to pungent odors and lack of water to flush–Yenni pretended to wash her hands so she could talk to me.
“What’s my name?” she asked.
I met her the day before and felt like I had to pass her quiz or she would get very upset. I often forget names but not faces, and for some reason, Yenni popped into my brain instantly.
“Yenni,” I said and she looked at me like I’d just given her the best birthday gift ever.
“So what do you want to be?” I asked her.
“A doctor,” she replied.
I knew it; this girl has something special.
I alerted nurse Judy Krieg to this special girl and she promised to keep an eye on her, as once in a while you come across someone outstanding, and I believe Yenni is a star. Perhaps a future nurse Judy.
As nurse Judy said over and over again, “All is good,” a phrase I’ve adopted in my own life as it has such a soothing effect on your day to day routine. Another phrase I love to hear from Judy, “It is what it is.”
So I have the first child I really would like to help as I believe she can make a difference in her community. Unfortunatley she doesn’t have access to a computer and when I asked about mailing her letters, she looked at me not understanding what mail means. Any suggestions on how to keep in touch? Have you ever had an experience like this where you’ve felt like sponsoring a child?
I’m in a hotel room in Naples, Florida right now, looking at a future place to move to. Once you move around the world, you keep wanting to move; at least I do. More later.