Outreach in Africa First hand look into alumna's mission work

OC alumna Meagan Hawley has served as a missionary in Zambia, Africa, since 2006. She cares for orphans at the Namwianga Mission there. Here is a first-person update from Meagan:

John Burrough once wrote, "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." I feel like that is the story of my life here. 

The days are not long enough to accomplish what needs to get done, let alone what you would like to do. I could substitute the thoughts and the walks and the books and the friends with babies, babies, babies! 

There are so many things I want to do with them and teach them. I wish I had all the hours in the day just to hold them each day and tell them how loved they are. I would love to have the time to work with them each one on one, helping them learn to sit or crawl or walk, or just reading them books, teaching them colors and songs and animals. I wish there was just more time in the day to love them each a little more. 

There are days that get to be like that, but most days just have too much activity packed in them. With our high number of HIV-exposed babies, we have many trips to the ART Clinic in town, which is usually a three- or four-hour endeavor. Also, many of our HIV babies need to spend extended time in the hospitals or clinics at times, so hours are spent with babies on oxygen or IV drips.

But there are also many regular days, when life is just routine. It includes tons of playing, feeding, changing nappies, singing, reading, etc. I am grateful to God for choosing me for this job. 

The hardest part of the work here continues to be the death and when they leave to go back to their villages. Both situations are just such huge losses. You put so much of your heart and effort into these children, and it hurts when they leave for whatever reason. 

Even on the worst of days, the saddest of days, on days when I really wonder if I can do it another day, I lay down at night thanking God that He brought me here and has continued to supply me with the energy, strength, patience and love I need to keep going.