In August of 2008, I embarked on a journey that irrevocably changed the heartbeat of my family. It was then that I boarded an airplane in Nashville bound for a rural village in Africa. I would be living and working at a village for children orphaned by AIDS. I was leaving a few months after graduating from Vanderbilt to live at Lily of the Valley for a year. Fully realizing the idealism with which I traveled, I hoped that somehow my naivete would be transformed into what James talked about in Chapter 1, Verse 27 of his epistle – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
While at Lily, I met a small malnourished boy named Aphiwe. Aphiwe was a sweet five year old little boy who was very sick. He had come to Lily only several months earlier and was a virtual loner. Every morning he would sit outside the window of my room, tending the dirt in my flower bed.