Thursday, January 10, 2013

Small voices yelling “Harvin Harvin” or “Harv Harv”

Small voices yelling “Harvin Harvin” or “Harv Harv”           

Those are the words that echo through the grounds of New Hope Home day and night when you are there.

This, my friend, is your trip end summary.  I am writing in the 1st person, but I will  post on the blog for many to enjoy.

You - Harvin are a blessing to New Hope Homes.

I know your pov on faith is different from mine, but if you look of the word blessing, it means a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being.

If you don’t accept the word, I hope you at least accept the definition, because it’s true. You are a blessing.

I am grateful. Chantal is grateful. And above all, the kids are grateful.
The kids well-being is certainly more complete when you are with them teaching them, coaching them and loving them.

THERE…do you accept that you are blessing???

You’ve made 3 trips in 12 months. 

I can’t believe that statement is true, but it is.  You could have taken your time and financial resources to take a fab vacation, climb another mountain, bought some fab stuff for your Chicago apt or simply played. But you have made the journey THREE TIMES in 12 months.

I remember our 1st brief conversation at my annual fund raiser last year when you asked about what we need.  I distinctly remember saying that we need “good men who simply want to come love our kids, to play with them, so show our boys what it means to be a strong and kind leader.” 

Little did I know that when I rang you a week later that my trip had been rescheduled that you would be spontaneous and join me 4 days later. 

From the moment you reached out and hugged our boys at the airport I knew you would be so loved here.

Then when you had break-through moments with Isaac, I knew you were important to us.

Then when you had everyone running through the hills in the morning and doing yoga at night, I knew you could not only love them but inspire them to see how strong their bodies are and how they can use that control over their bodies to be still and find peace when they are scared or stressed.

THEN, on this trip, as we make due with our tiny rental house,  you gave them a new gift. The gift of simply being present.  With no classroom to teach, no field to play baseball, no makeshift basketball hoop you simply gave them you.  I don’t think you even saw the transition, but it was very present to me.

You effortlessly transition between the older girls sitting with you and asking all sorts of questions about your life to the young kids simply wanting to be attached to you in some way. From rubbing their fingers through your hair, to cuddling under your arms, or bouncing on your knee- they all wanted a part of you. The older boys went from doing sports with you to simply hanging and talking. I see them mirror your best qualities.

The gift of Harvin. A real treasure. 

In your ability to simply be present, you opened yourself up to more connections with more kids. You found some more hidden treasures.
I always say that each trip is different, but this trip was perhaps the most unusual.

Thank you too for being such a wonderful host for Kristen and Ian’s family.  You put them first the entire time they were here.  You served as tour guide, chauffer, water boy, football assistant.  You wanted to be certain, above your own interests, that they had a wonderful experience, as you know how much they love the kids of New Hope Homes and how much they do for our kids.

I know this trip was harder than other others as you battled the flu for the 1st leg. Even in that, you pushed yourself to recover quickly and you insisted that I should go see the kids even when I wanted to stay to ensure you were ok.

And of course, the least glamorous part of the trip is all the logistics: measuring shoe and clothing sizes, writing thank you notes to sponsors, skyping with sponsors…thank YOU for being very present to these jobs. They are so important to the ongoing work of New Hope Homes and I often find myself having to be the operations person to ensure this happens. I so appreciate the spirit by which you proactively embrace the to-do lists and share the load with me. I can’t find the words to express how much I appreciate it.  I know it takes time away from playing and being with the kids, so I want you to know how much I value it.

And yes, for me, I love when you join me in Rwanda. People ask me …”who is Harvin?” I say…we worked at the same company for years, but didn’t really know each other. And now, we basically see each other in Rwanda.  It’s a funny, but very true answer.

My work is halved and my joy MORE than doubled when you are in Rwanda. Yes, it’s nice to have my personal chauffer and scooter driver, but more than that I value your unique insights into our work here, the kids, and me.  You have a clear pov that is delivered with compassion. You have opened my eyes to a so many important things. You also do a great job of holding me accountable. Yes – friends – he’s a strong one!  Having you in Rwanda also ensures I have a little play time for me – which I value.
It’s simply better when you are here. Period.

Your heart is so beautiful.
You open up your heart so fully when you are with the kids of New Hope Homes. They know you really love them. Not that you are just here to play or make them laugh, but you love them. Really love them. They can count on you. As orphaned and/or abandoned kids, they really value people that get below the surface and love them for who they are.  You are now in that special small group that can COUNT ON to love them, coach them, reprimand them and be in their lives.

Never doubt how important you are in their lives. Never.

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