On every Compassion Corps trip, our workers are equipped with a sundry of items shared in common with each other’s team member. It is almost guaranteed that in every back pack you will find an emergency roll of toilet paper, a half consumed bottle of warm water and, without fail, a digital camera and a notepad. The water and toiletries are for the satiation of our accustomed and immediate western comforts, but the camera – that is of lasting effect. It is the pictures, the journal entries and the good old memory that allows us to retell the stories of these short term trips in hopes of engaging your hearts. Those images captured on film and those stories jotted on paper reshaped our lives and redirected our purpose. We need to share and hope to inspire. We caught a bug and I believe it to be infectious.
I’m sure it is safe to say that most, if not all of you reading this have sat through one of our extensive slide show presentations, with picture after picture exhibiting the many faces of North Africans whom we have flown many miles to serve. You’ve intently gazed upon the innocence of an orphan, the determined countenance of a Berber woman and the strain apparent on a Senegalese shepherd’s face. You’ve heard their story and undoubtedly been affected. That’s all it takes sometimes. A quick anecdote and a digital image and your heart is put into action. We are moved with compassion, but how much more moved if the image had a name. If those pictures flying by the bed sheet movie screen were not just Orphan X, but an image equipped with a life story and a personal plea, how would you respond? We’ve seen the result.
Back in August, 2008, we asked you to come to the aid of Rachid. For the past three years, Rachid has been one of our Moroccan translators at our Compassion Corps summer camps. Each day at camp, Rachid herds 30-50 children from station to station. He loyally leads the way from crafts all the way down the hill to sports and back up the hill, leading capricious children to the games field. In fact, every translator does this; it is part of the job. It is only Rachid that does this on two prosthetic legs. It came to our attention last year that Rachid was walking on legs that had become compacted and in dire need of replacement. Having been a part of our team the previous two years, Rachid approached one of our team members and ask for help. Would we be willing to help him raise the money he needed to get new legs? I hope that his confidence in asking such a delicate question was asserted with his assurance of our friendship. What did he see in us? I hope he saw extraordinary love and concern motivated by genuine compassion. This turned out to be a success story for both Rachid and you. It was because of your response to a face in a picture, a story in type and a name to recite that we could help give Rachid two new prosthetic legs. We thank you.
We work in a unique environment. Our voices are soft, but our message is loud and designed to be clear. Even without proclamation, compassion finds its way to the heart of another.