TGIF: The Miracle of Building a Well (And Feeling ALL THE THINGS)

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There are very few things I’m proud of.

1. I can make a perfectly cooked egg sunny side up, without popping the yolk.
2. I know all the words to Shania Twain’s song, “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”
(Yup. I see the irony there.)
3. I use self-deprecation as a strategic tool to make strangers feel welcome.
(Okay. It’s not really a “strategy”: it’s just an unhealthy pattern.)

But all that noise aside, I’m most proud of being part of the miracle of SheLoves–a global community of women who love.

Yes. I’m most proud of you guyyyys. You, and you, and even YOU (with the Cheerios on your face)!

SheLoves -1

I’m so grateful to be part of a family that says YES.

You say…

Yes to half-marathons for women in Gulu…
Yes to Christmas cards for the famine in East Africa…
Yes to “blue roses” for ID cards for women in Burundi…
Yes to love letters to your body…
Yes to Runs for Mercy…
Yes to food hampers for those invisible in our community…
Yes to gift cards for the girls in Mercy Ministries…
Yes to “I am From” stories…
Yes to always being women who love.

In February we asked if you could form “circles of grace” to build a well for our friends in Bubanza, Burundi as a Valentine’s Day project.

The goal was to raise $10,000.

If we could get 100 women to ask –> another 10 women to give –> $10 apiece then, –> we would reach our goal.

And yet again you said a big, fat Y-E-S.

“Who needs roses and chocolate if our friends can have water?” you said.
“$10 is like two grande lattes,” you said.
“Tell your butcher, your barber and your dry cleaner,” you said.

And being the overachievers that you are, you “asked”–i.e. waxed poetic/beatboxed/did the Macarena–until your friends showed you the money.

So, we blew straight past our target and raised… [drum roll] ….over $15,000!

Easy peasy.

This turned out to be a good God thing because we found out later that the water table at the site of the well was lower than we’d originally hoped. The extra money meant that we were able to build a solar-powered @#$%^!&% SUPERWELL!!!

Sometimes the stars align and you get to be a part of a miracle.

Back in May, I was able to fly to Burundi with some SheLoves lady-friends to dedicate our @#$%^!&% SUPERWELL!

I saw ALL. THE. THINGS.
I felt ALL. THE. THINGS.
And a part of me couldn’t wait to rush back to tell you ALL. THE. THINGS.

But I just didn’t know how to talk about ALL. THE. THINGS.

all the things

I become mute and a little cross-eyed when I’m standing too close to a miracle. It’s quite Biblical actually. (I “hear” you, Zechariah.)

It’s like what Madeleine L’Engle said about Ernest Hemingway in her book Walking on Water. Hemingway could only write about his life in Paris when he was back in America, and vice versa. He needed the distance and perspective to sort out his memories and feelings.

Sure, some writers can experience something life-changing and….
– instantly name ALL. THE. FEELINGS,
– make connections to The Past.
– draw parallels to The Now.
– prophesy about The Future.

[points finger accusingly at Sarah Bessey]

Well, that ain’t me y’all!

I need time to percolate. Like Hemingway, I need to sweep my kitchen, load the dishes, tweeze my eyebrows, scavenge leftovers and watch Modern Family reruns before I can begin to make any sense of it all.

Sometimes all the right words come flooding onto the page if I wait to tell the story. Other times, even after months of marinating, all I’ve got is “Whoooa dude! That was awesome.

It’s been 4 months,  and I’m still wedged somewhere between Hemingway and Whoooa dude! So I’ll share the next best thing: pictures! It’s only fair that you too should get the opportunity to go mute, cross-eyed and feel ALL.THE.THINGS for the miracle you made happen!

Here is a small sampling of our SheLoves adventures!

Bubanza TGIF 01
I nearly fell into a ditch trying to get this photograph. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.Bubanza TGIF 02
Idelette makes friends easily!Bubanza TGIF 03
Shoes? What shoes?Bubanza TGIF -15
Beating her makeshift drum as we make our way to the well! Also, sleeping baby. [squeal]Bubanza TGIF 05
And here is our solar-powered @#$%^!&% SheLoves SUPERWELL!!!Bubanza TGIF 06
Look at Idelette and I feeling ALL. THE. THINGS.Bubanza TGIF 07
Ahhhh. The earth’s sweet nectar. [slurp] Bubanza TGIF 08
Kelley is homies with practically EVERYBODY in Bubanza. She is also carrying my purse here because turns out I’m not coordinated enough to take pictures, avoid falling into ditches and carry my bag.Bubanza TGIF -16
Awww. Meanwhile these two angels make walking, talking and hugging simultaneously look so easy.Bubanza TGIF 09
If I could summarize our whole trip in one picture, it would be this one. It’s all about standing with.Bubanza TGIF 10

Being part of a tribe that says “Yes” is nothing short of a miracle. I sometimes forget this.

It’s like the Sarah McLachlan’s song:

“Don’t need to teach a seed to grow
It’s just another Ordinary Miracle today.”

Truth is, there is nothing “ordinary” about a global community that always says YES to standing with friends.

Thank God for good seed. And the wells that water it.

To see the full gallery of our trip to Africa: CLICK HERE.

Love you more than Toffee-Dimpled Peach Cake!
xoxo,
Teen

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Tina Francis
My name is Tina. Loved ones call me: Teen. Words are my chocolate. Music, my caramel. Photography, my bread. Girlfriends, my butter. Confession: Some girls dream about Manolo Blahniks or their next Hermes bag. Not me. I dream of freshly baked bread, perfectly barbecued meat & steaming bowls of Pho. My dream lover *cue Mariah Carey song* is someone who would read out a menu to me in Barry White’s baritone voice. I celebrate food, ask for help, interrupt conversations, laugh and cry hard, acknowledge the elephant in most rooms, fight for the underdog and believe in the power of storytelling. I was born and raised in Dubai and currently live in the beautiful city of Vancouver, known for some of the best sushi in the world.
Tina Francis
Tina Francis