My favorite Ethiopian proverb is “little by little an egg learns to walk.” I apply this often to language learning, but also have used it for what has seemed like incredibly slow rehab for my broken wrist, which is overall going well.
But it also has applicability to the work I do here. Dealing with the AIDS epidemic in Africa seems daunting, even this many years into it. After I had been here in 2005 and 2006, I could see the difference our project was making in the lives of individuals. It made me see that even though it might seem like spitting in the ocean, it wasn’t like that at all for our beneficiaries, whose lives were improved by being shown the love of Christ through word and deed.
So in the past week our project has made a big difference in the life of a 9 year old girl. I wrote about her getting a hearing aid in my March update. Her mom has died, her dad does his best to take care of her, despite his own health problems, which are many. He told us a few weeks ago that she was having difficult seeing at night. That reminded me that I had noticed her getting very close to anything she wanted to see. So last week we went to an eye clinic, run by another NGO here. She got an eye exam and refracted for glasses, and the glasses were ordered–for the equivalent of $19.41! We went back last week and picked them up. When I looked at her prescription, I was amazed at how nearsighted she really is– -14 and -15 diopters–even worse than my worst eye.
It reminded me of 2 things–my own experience with getting my first glasses at age 7, when I told my mom “Mommy, now I can see the buttons on your blouse”. The second is Jesus reading from the scripture in the temple in Luke 4–“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (emphasis mine). So as we work here with “the least of these” there are times of rejoicing when we are able to do things that really make a difference.