Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Water is Life

Excerpt from  A Thirst for Home

We have walked all morning with the blazing orange sun on our backs.  Emaye (mother) tells me a story while we walk.  "Our watering hole gives us something precious", she says, "even more precious than gold.  We could live a lifetime without gold, but not a day without a drink of water.  All over the world, the clouds make the rain and the rain brings us our water.  This connects us to everyone and everywhere.  Water is life."

I couldn't care any less about diamonds or beautiful rare gemstones,  or about  fancy cars with all the bells and whistles one could hope for.  Expensive shoes don't impress me.  Money is nice, but only when you can do good things with it.

It is water that I am in complete awe of.   I am a child of water.  I am drawn to it.  I was raised by the sea.  I couldn't live anywhere else in the world but on the coast.

How ironic is it that soon after adopting my daughter from Ethiopia,  I found her drinking from a puddle in my driveway.  Was this coincidence or a sign from God?  Then to have written a children's book A Thirst For Home and soon publish through a fancy New York Publisher is a dream come true.  It is a chance to share my passion of water with children everywhere.

Water, clean water,  is something taken for granted and only appreciated when out of reach.  Eva's simple act of squatting down and drinking from that puddle four years ago changed my life and the course of it.  Sometimes I think,  'How did I get here?'.  My desire to never stop or ever give up knowing that this is a life long journey doesn't end with the release of this book.  Along the way,  I have been connected to the most amazing people,  joining forces to attain the same goals.  It all started with water.

I think of Eva's birth mother struggling everyday without the privilege of clean water among other things and it can be excruciating at times.  All of my happiness is always a little overshadowed by her struggles.  It keeps me grounded but more importantly keeps me going.  I can't wait to return to Ethiopia this fall.  I am nervous and excited.  I want so badly to bring clean water, education and accessible health care to the Hossana and surrounding area.  I may never see it, but have to keep trying.

My daughter has taught me so much and is wise beyond her years.  I love A Thirst for Home, the book she inspired me to write, and I know it will be loved by many because of its message of water, hope and love.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beautiful Feet

True story.....Very soon after bringing Eva home I went to a baby shower.  The expectant mom must have received about 20 pairs of little shoes.  At the end of the shower they lined them up and took a picture.  One time in my life I would have smiled and ahhhhed but that day I almost cried.  I thought of my daughter who got her first pair of shoes at age 2 1/2 and her little legs and feet with the many scars and missing toenails.  This is how my life is tainted.  I see everything differently.

I remember seeing her little feet for the first time and kissing them over and over again.  I still kiss them.  They represent a world so unlike ours. To me they represent strength, courage, wisdom....

I want my daughter to never be ashamed of her feet.  They are a part of her and they are beautiful.

My Mom, who grew up poor on the lower east side of Manhattan, used to always say,  I once complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet. (my Mom is very wise)  That never held as much truth as it does now!     Thanks Mom!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An apple a day....

True story.... One day around the time Eva first came to our home,  I gave her an apple which she gladly took.  A little while later she came to me and gave me what was left,  the stem.  She had eaten the entire apple, core and seeds and the only thing that remained was the pathetic little sad looking stem.  Heartbreak.  It reminded me that she was still eating in survival mode which meant nothing ever got left.  In the first couple months with us, she would eat like it was her last meal because in her mind,  it might have been .  She never turned away one single food item making me realize that she must have been hungry for the first two years of her life, a pain that is not easily forgotten.

Now of course,  Eva is a finicky picky six year old who amazingly doesn't eat meat and loves cookies.  I smile actually because I know this means  that she has moved on and adjusted nicely.  Again the bitter sweetness of it all pains me knowing as Eva goes to bed every night with a full belly and will never know that hunger again,  her sister still does.  To see a picture of her beautiful sister recently only reminded me of this.  Even though she is a few years older, Eva has already surpassed her in size.  More heartbreak.

How can I live everyday knowing this.  It can sometimes be excruciating.  What can I do, what can I do.  In the end,  I know the best I can do is promote education for girls in Ethiopia through the building of schools and libraries.  Sadly for me and other than that,  my hands are tied.  That is why raising awareness is so important to me.  That is why I can't wait for the release of my book.  I want to stand in front of a microphone and shout to the world......Look,  look what is going on on our tiny planet.....

But again, education is the key and makes me think of the overused saying that is so popular with teachers,  and now with my own little twist goes like this,   Give a girl a fish, feed her for a day.  But teach a girl to fish and feed her and her children for life!

Friday, January 20, 2012