Austin is the 14 year-old boy that went with us on this trip and I was curious to see how a child did on a trip of this magnitude. The beautiful thing about this journey is that we all get different things out of it. He has done an amazing job at being patient and going with the flow. He has been a helper in the field making the water station and a champion of making the most of the time that we have here. Has there been moments when I wanted to ground him? Sure. He’s a teenager, I’m a mom, he is predominately surrounded by adults, and has an opinion about most things. Did I mention that we have a commute to the village and back every day that is an hour each way? We are hot, squished in the back of a vehicle and the traffic is typical of every international driving experience you’ve ever had…..crazy.
Let me tell you what is amazing about having Austin here with us, though. He communicates with the children in village in a way that is the most sincere and sweet that I could ever imagine. I am in awe of how he connects with them. The children look at me with trepidation, curiosity, and if they are very little, fear. In some cases, they test what I can give them during my visit. With Austin, all they want is to play, and play is what he gives them. He is a big kid and surely he can be intimidating to them. Yet, has the most gentle spirit with them, they are drawn like a magnet. His kindness and patience is communicated to them without needing to speak a word. He is a friend for life without needing to tell them so out loud. Sometimes, I’ve decided, what is communicated through actions is just as important as the words that come from our mouths.
I am blessed to witness this type of international communication through children here in Ghana. Hope is found when we can find common ground at any level. But, if that kid finishes my sentence one more time, he is grounded for sure. 🙂