This past weekend Thing 1 and I ventured into the countryside with an international “community outreach group”* which seeks to provide operations for poor Chinese children with congenital cardiomyopathy, a condition known as “hole in the heart”. The operation is relatively simple. It requires a Dacron patch and a skilled set of hands. The former is expensive and the latter less so (no such thing as tort law). We sell, as a family, teddy bears with handknit sweaters to raise money for the cause. Our house is also a collection point for used clothing, etc. which is passed out in prepackaged bags on outreach trips. Recently, this group has also started fundraising for libraries for schools in these rural areas. Mostly women, we were a motley crew on the bus to visit previous patients, schoolchildren receiving libraries, and to pass out the collected items.
Bea Long and her Thing 1 came along as well (not so motley).

Nothing was shocking to either of us, mainly because of our experiences in Brazil and Mexico. I did have my first outdoor communal potty experience at an elementary school. “Been there, done that,” my teenager said unphased, trumping me. For example, although I visited the Servicio Social Nova Jerusalem, it was on the edge of a favela, not actually in it. The bullets whizzed farther down the hill. The farmer children were quiet, well-mannered; there was an atmosphere of contentedness. One of the patients had gained twelve pounds (!) in the three months since her operation and could now run and jump. Materialism has not caught up to them. Drugs and violence do not infringe. Their families are cohesive and insular; they behave like families should. Many families have more than one child, as is permitted in their region. Autumn harvest was in the air. I cannot say much more but will let the photos speak for themselves. Thanksgiving came early for me this year.

* a euphemism for a certain “C” word – they do not officially exist.

P.S. This weekend Mr. Understanding gave me an e-card for my birthday – we have been like ships passing in the night. It was a Google Earth map of all the places we’ve lived. I burst into tears when I saw my former house in Brazil. It was a great gift and did not cost a penny. Thank you, Mr. U – you are a star.



Filed under Life

6 responses to “H2H

  1. Mood Ring Momma

    What a fantastic blog – the pictures were such a lovely addition. I just want to pick those kids up and smooch their little cheeks. They remind me of Leezer’s daughter – too precious.

    You are a good woman Ex-Pat.

    Kudos to Mr. U, too – I am always impressed by his creativity.

  2. gamamae

    Princesa- Q maravilha- tudo! As I have said- you have earned your wings, most certainly. So nice Thing 1 is venturing out on these expeditions with you.
    Have you heard the xmas bazar for SSNJ has taken on mammoth proportions this year? You plant a seed…
    Mr. U gets MAJOR Kudos. Can he send out helpful hints/tips to other husbands?

  3. Expat:
    Beautiful photos. I have one of those bears, by the way. Anna loves it. How did you learn about the outreach group? Friends, colleagues? It is amazing how little some need, how easy it can be to help.

    The children are beautiful. Little Anna is fine. She’s a rascal! 🙂

  4. Good Pictures, from Radish
    Keep it up.

  5. Flaky Friend

    Hi. I loved the post – the little girl in the orange coat looks so much like our niece did when she was that age. What a wonderful thing you are doing for others. Happy Halloween.

  6. Susan O'Leary

    Loved hearing about your trip. What a great opportunity for everyone involved. Love the post and photos.

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