Just a few weeks ago I was half a world away with a carry-on bag, lots of mosquito repellent, and no hair product. It was quite a juxtaposition to my everyday here, but it was great. As much as I repeated shirts, removed makeup application from my routine, and got dirt embedded in every hair cuticle, I felt a confidence and worth beyond my looks.
My self-view shift was due to the kids I was with. While in Tanzania, I got the chance to work in an orphanage. I mostly played with the kids, interspersed among feeding them, and randomly did a diaper change or two. I wasn’t the best game creator or most on-top-of-it volunteer, and I was definitely not winning any beauty pageants. That was okay though. To these kids, I was awesome. I really cared for them and gave them all of me, taking in all these kids were giving me right back.
One day, the kids magically discovered the nub on the back of my head was a wannabe ponytail. They went wild over the prospect of doing my hair. There were no brushes, clips, or fancy decorations, but both boys and girls had a ball just moving my hair into various ‘dos. As grubby as their hands were and how entwined they became in my strands, I had a ball, too.
When I look at pictures from my trip, I wonder if I should have taken the extra ten minutes to apply some eyeliner or perhaps packed differently to allow for more flattering outfits and changes. But then I look at the kids and me with them, and I realize through their eyes, there’s just love. They adored me just the way I was, minus all beauty tools, and I adored them with runny noses and caked on dirt. And that is beautiful.
Image Layout: a recent addition to the M.I.S.S. Crew: Kasheia!
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