What have I given?

Coming on this mission was risky.  I was out of my comfort zone on many different levels.  I have spent my professional lifetime as a speech-language pathologist in public schools -- the 5 year old children and older population, not  infants and toddlers. But I do know about speech-language development. Very early in this experience I wrote my family and expressed my feelings of inadequacy and questoned what I could possibly give the "babies"  at The Havens.  Of course I received encouragement, but it was my daughter who "laid it on the line": "Mom!!! How could you say that?! You are far from worthless and don't you dare trick yourself into thinking so. Of course you are out of your element!! You're in Africa!!!!! Most people would love to be in your shoes. Most people will NEVER have the chance to go to Mexico much less Africa!! Some people can't see a world outside of Searcy and Augusta Arkansas! And here you are experiencing a gift that is rare. Don't think about how lonely you are. Don't think about your Miller Lite haha ;-). Don't think of the things you THINK you're missing out on. Think of all the lives you are touching. Think about the lives of those kids there and the lives of your "teammates/coworkers you are influencing every day!  Every one of those kids will remember you until the day they die. These moments are rare. Embrace them.... From The frustrating ones, the sad ones, and the 'helpless' ones - to the happy ones, the funny ones, the exciting ones, and the ones that will NEVER leave your heart! ...   I'm not the best advice-giver in the world and I have not walked in your shoes....esp in Africa! But I do know YOU and what you're capable of. Never regret this experience because at one point.....this is exactly what you wanted...Don't wish it away. Don't get sad because that's the same book Mary-Katherine loves. Be happy that her favorite book is being shared by a less fortunate child YOU have the opportunity to help. You are such an amazing woman mom....and you forget that sometimes. NEVER FOR A SECOND FORGET HOW AMAZING AND POWERFUL YOU ARE. These kids and Harding students and teachers are touched by you every moment you speak. Every time you laugh, every time you blink an eye....mom....you're that powerful. You move people and change lives more than you know and more than you'll ever know....and you don't even have to do anything! Imagine what you're doing when you do something! Woah! ...I'm so happy you're over there....but I am sad you are gone don't get me wrong....but when I think about the big picture.....I'm so glad you get to touch all the lives of everyone around you. Be happy!!!! Smile! Breathe!! And remember everything I just said. We love you mom. I can't wait to hear from you again. Dad is gearing up for his trip over there!! Yall will have so much fun together! But don't wish it away....that day will come faster than you know....enjoy all these little experiences most people will never  have the chance to be exposed to. I miss you!!!!!  Have a greeaat day momma!!  I love you!" WOW!!...out of the mouths of babes....Thank you, Amanda!

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I am a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist with 36 years of experience and I am about to embark on the experience of a lifetime!

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