Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I have been wanting to write about the tias I love so much for quite some time. In light of Mother's Day, I think this is the perfect time! But first...***Happy Mother's Day to all those moms out there. Mom, know I love and cherish you. I think of you often as I am learning to mother 300+ here in Moz. It is hard work, that I know for sure. Thank you for doing it. Thank you for putting me to bed every night; thank you for singing me Sound of Music songs when I was scared or upset; thank you for calling me Sweet Pea; thank you for always cooking me dinner even though I never told you what I wanted; thank you for helping me with my homework even when it was midnight and the project was due the next day; thank you for all those nights in high school when you picked up books off my head and woke me up to study more; thank you for the many many trips you made to Clemson to cheer on the Tigers just to see me; thank you for being you and loving me; thank you for letting me come to Africa and follow this dream. And to everyone else who has taken care of me, loved me as a mom loves her children, raised me up to this place...you know who you are and love you all too and pray blessings over each one of you!

Now on to our tias. Tia means aunt in Portuguese. It is also a term of endearment and respect here. All of the women who spend 4 days and nights with our children only to switch with another team and come back 4 days later are called tias. I find it lovely. It reminds me that these women are family to us and to the children we know and love.
2 of our Bercario tias with Fernanda.
Why are these women so special you might ask? Well, because they have their own families. They have children, husbands, houses, and neighbors. They leave their lives every other 4 days and come to live in ours. They treat our children as if they are their own. They call them their sons and daughters. They kiss them, hug them, comfort them when they cry, worry about them when they are sick, pray over them, but most importantly they love them! They are moms.
One of our Baby House tias dancing with the girls at church!
Honestly, they are my heroes. They work harder than anyone I have ever met. They change diapers for 35 babies. They dress and redress, feed and re-feed. They somehow navigate the chaos of 24 hour care of 35 babies in one house. The tias in the Bercario (nursery) have learned how to live on little sleep while feeding several babies every 3 hours around the clock. They all deal with our elementary level Portuguese skills. They constantly decipher what I am saying to them. They are patient and kind. They know how to love with their whole hearts, just like moms do. They rejoice when we gain new children. They cry with us when we lose children. They say goodbye with kisses every 4 days just to come back with smiles and more kisses 4 days later. They sing songs with our children. They rejoice with us as they take their first steps, say their first words, learn to clap...all the things moms long to experience with their children! They do all of these things for our children only to return home to do it for their own as well.
The trials of feeding Fernanda...so many times she vomited...so many times they just tried again!
Seriously, they are my heroes! I say I have two lives right now...one in America and the other here in Mozambique. It's hard for people in one to understand the other. It's tough to have two lives, to love people on two sides of the globe. But how much harder must it be to have two lives in the same city? If I have ever wanted to grow up to be someone...it is the tias I have come to know and love here in Mozambique...they are strong Christians; they are amazing mothers; they work harder and longer than I have ever known anyone to sustain...they are my heroes! Just take a look at the incredible women I am able to serve along side....
More dancing at church...maybe the kids' favorite part of the week!The smiles of a loving "mom" and a beloved little girl!
They can always bring smiles from tears!Bath time...babies in sand equals many, many bathes!Her face says it all!
They are my heroes!


  1. well said my friend. well said. i love these women. i'm going to miss them! They have such strength especially with EVERYTHING they face....not just their job! I am continually amazed and blessed.

  2. I think that one day soon ... you may move up to tia status yourself! In our eyes all the love and care you provide these children sounds a lot like being a tia. I am very impressed by these women who leave their own family for 4 days at a time. It's a great lesson to learn that your heart has enough love to love as many who need it.
    Keep loving

  3. We want pictures of you and your mom!!!

  4. I realize you are very busy and have visitors....but I miss your posts. Please remedy this ASAP : )