The Global Engagement Program at OU is an incredible way to not only be able to see the world, but also to hear and share in others’ travel experiences. On Thursday night, at Second Wind Cafe on Campus Corner, a group of GEFs met to share their stories from their times abroad in Morocco, China, Tanzania–countries from all around the world. It was incredible to hear the little details from others’ times in different countries, and I feel that I now have a slightly better understanding of some of the countries. I also really enjoy hearing about the countries that other students are passionate about, because people who are passionate are the most fun to listen to.
I shared a story about my sudden thrust into Mozambican life after the mission team left. My journal entry for that night after the team left for the States reads: “Well, since the team has been gone, Chana has gotten two driving tickets, I’ve eaten a whole fish (eyes included), I’ve ridden on a public bus, received a marriage proposal, and had several Portuguese lessons with Joanna, who doesn’t actually know Portugese. The kids are awesome as always! The girls got their hair done today and it looks beautiful!” I loved being able to have an authentic Mozambican experience and see how Jennifer and the children live day to day. I thought I’d share another story from my time there, one that is both funny and a little sad.
I’ll start by giving some background: Jen doesn’t just take in orphaned children, she also takes in a few orphaned animals. There are several dogs, Bagheera, Tiger, and Lucky, and several cats, all of who came from Bonnie, the mother cat. Bonnie had gotten into the habit of climbing over the fence to the neighbors house to steal food, and the neighbors weren’t very fond of that. So the story begins when Salito discovers that the source of a very bad smell is, in fact, the dead body of Bonnie the cat. All of the children gather round her dead body and bring her kittens up one by one to pay their last regards. Todio digs a hole in the dirt and gently placed Bonnie’s body in the hole, covers her with dirt, and then helps Pai decorate the grave with leaves and patterns in the dirt. We say two prayers over her soul, one in English and one in Portuguese, and then Pai films a commemorative video to Bonnie’s life on my iPhone. It was a moment that was equal parts hilarious and sad, and watching that video makes me miss those kids even more. They are the embodiment of innocence and joy and I can’t wait until I get to see them again!