Surviving. The explicit significance of this word can be interpreted in various ways. To some, it could mean ‘surviving’ a long week at work. To others, it could be ‘surviving’ an intense run or workout. And still others, ‘surviving’ could mean living amidst vivid memories of pain and trauma.

To four year old, Rachel, ‘surviving’ means being locked inside of a mud hut for the past three and a half years devoid of attention, love and  interaction with her family. 

Rachel concocted Malaria at six months of age. Her condition was never properly treated with medication and therefore the infectious disease spread to her brain. Consequently, she lives with muscle tightness, blindness, low muscle tone and being drastically misunderstood. 

Upon reaching Rachel’s mud hut, her mother went inside and brought out this pale and beautiful little girl.

Upon seeing Rachel, the neighbors remarked in shock,

‘I thought that girl was dead.

As the crowds gathered to look upon Rachel, we proceeded to gather relevant past medical history and perform simple therapeutic exercises with her. My eyes were brought to tears as the mother explained Rachel’s story. To think that an immediate response to her condition over four years ago could have prevented Rachel’s severe brain damage left me speechless. 

When I imagine for a moment, what it would feel like to be Rachel, I shutter in pain. 

How would you feel if you were thirsty and could not reach for a glass of water to quench your thirst? Or want to stretch your arm, but you simply could not move it. This has been Rachel’s life and I cringe just thinking about it.

Throughout our time together, Rachel Mom’s expressed how she was trapped in a world with no answers. She is ashamed of her daughter and did not know what to do. Rachel’s Father fails to provide for the family and the mother is left to plant crops, cook food and keep her family alive. Taking care of Rachel is at the bottom of her list because she simply does not know “HOW” to take care of her. 

Through Rachel’s Family, I’m vividly reminded of how beauty and hope can be found in the broken. 

The core of Imprint Hope’s Mission is about entering the pain, rejection, joys, and challenges of the numerous families under our care. 

For compassion and understanding entails going to places where suffering resides and staying. It means entering someone else’s pain and saying to them,

‘I know a glimmer of how your heart feels now.’

Every single day, an inner voice within my heart resonates a phrase. ‘Meet the bruised and broken where they are.’

Meet them in their most broken state and we will rise together. For amidst every messy, dead end resides hope. 

Rachel’s Mom reminded me of how you can’t hide the scars that aren’t healed. 

So many times in life, my inner instincts would tell me. Hold your head high. Make the bad look better. There is abundant courage within this response, but at the end of the day its not being “real.” Its not allowing someone to enter into the brokenness harbored inside of your heart. 

For life is not just about surviving. Its about thriving together and having the courage to meet each other with a listening, compassionate and silent heart that is ready to just be present amidst someone’s struggle. 

So together we will rise and meet each other amongst the broken and beautiful. We will meet each other at our lowest and highest of days and find the courage to continue fighting for the beautiful mission set before us. 

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