A few months ago Children's HopeChest arranged for me to begin emailing with two of the of the girls I would be visiting at the safe house here in Moldova. One of the girls, we'll call her S., is a 17 year old who was brought into the program at age 14 after having been sold into slavery by gypsies. I was heartbroken reading about her story and the types of things she has had to endure so early in life.
As we exchanged emails I felt like S. and I were getting to know each other and I was excited to meet her. I imagined that we would hug and that we would say how nice it was to meet. I imagined that our langauge barriers would make it totally awkward. I imagined that I would see her and my heart would break with sadness.
I was wrong.
Here's what really happened: Alise taught a crochet class (which I totally failed miserably) and taught the girls to make hair ties. S. made this one…
Then S. told our translator that she wanted to give it to me and I swear my heart skipped a beat. Then I sat on the edge of the couch in the meeting room at the safe house while S. took out my pony tail and ran her fingers through my hair. And as she slowly pulled my long curls into a smooth braid I closed my eyes and drank in that moment.
It was nothing like I had imagined. It wasn't awkward or weird, it was tender and beautiful. There weren't any messy language barriers because no words were necessary and nothing about her touch was lost in translation. And surprisingly my heart didn't ache or break with sadness, it was full and spilling over with love and pride and hope.
Life isn't always wonderful here in Moldova but in that moment life was good. So, so good.