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I really can’t put into words how my soul was moved today. As we piled into the van at 6:30am to drive two hours to our destination, I had a few things heavy on my mind and heart. I felt down and distracted and the Bangali landscape of polution and poverty deepened it all.
By the end of the day though, things had drastically changed.
“You realize you’re going to be a legend in that village?”
My friend Lindsey said that to me as we pulled away from my sponsored child’s community. Now, before you go thinking I’m patting myself on the back as some type of Hercules or Helena, let me just say I didn’t do anything special.
I simply did what any upstanding American would do. I taught my sponsored child and all of her friends Duck, Duck, Goose and Red Light, Green Light. To say, “it went over well” would be a gross understatement. Children were still saying, “Duck!” as the van was pulling away.
Back in Oregon, when I was looking through the different children I could choose to sponsor, I decided to make my selection based upon two factors.
1. I chose the oldest girl I could find because I feel like everyone always picks the young ones and I didn’t want her to feel forgotten.
2. I am terrible at remembering names. I needed to choose one I wouldn’t forget so I chose a little twelve year old girl by the name of Fulmoti. I’ll let you do the math.
Anyways, here is what transpired today. If nothing else watch the 18 second video where we race and my favorite “pre-race” photo.
Fulmoti humbled me by greeting me in her best clothes and adornment. She touched her hands to my feet and then her forehead as a symbol of honor and blessing. As I knelt down feeling beyond unworthy- she put a string of flowers around my neck and placed more in my hands. I was overwhelmed.
Fulmoti proudly showed me her family’s one room home with her parents and two brothers. They showered me with flowers and gentle hospitality.
Fulmoti and her mother tell me about family life, school and her favorite subjects. She loves Bangali, English and Math. And I’m confident she’s better than me in 2 of the 3.
Basket weaving like a champ.
This became the game-changer. I taught her to high five, and then double-high five. She came alive and the first date jitters were gone. The rest of our day was filled with games, laughter and about forty seven million double-high fives of love.
This was Fulmoti’s Bangladeshi game. It involved hopping, kicking a rock, throwing a rock backwards, as well as full on sprinting.
You’ll notice in this video Fulmoti and I give each other zero grace. America vs. Bangladesh. Let’s do this.
I think I’m letting Fulmoti know that she’s cheating at her own game.
A glimpse into Fulmoti’s personality and a glimpse into my wardrobe malfunctions. These sweet ladies helped me put my “orna” on correctly for sport. Just prior to this I think I had done some inadvertent Bangladeshi-style flashing. #oops.
My absolute favorite photo from the day. Making Fulmoti laugh right before our race. Can’t top that kind of audience.
Part of the game involved us throwing rocks over our heads while covering our mouths. Chance that Fulmoti was making this up? Probably strong. Regardless, it made us both laugh.
Duck Duck Goose Tutorial, caught on tape. America, You’re welcome.
Fulmoti chasing this little duck like a doberman.
Red Light Green Light caught on quickly. I’ve realized that games are a language quickly learned.
Fulmoti and I drew pictures, played dolls and read my letter aloud. I will now be able to hear her tiny but confident little voice when I receive her letters back home.
Jump-roping! Another game we rocked today. This is Fulmoti’s cousin and best friend who was a jump-roping champ. I truly would love for you all to consider sponsoring a child like Fulmoti’s cousin or anyone in her community. The need is great and as I learn more and more about the work that FH is doing- I stand firmly behind this model of education, development and empowerment.
Fulmoti is twelve and as you can tell through these pictures, she has a strong, take-charge personality that loves to laugh and play games. I think I’ve met my Bangladeshi twin. Sadly, the reason she is so tiny is because of her growth being stunted from malnutrition as a baby. If you start to think about how tiny she is combined with the early age that many girls are married off in this culture, it starts to make my heart break on a number of levels.
Think about it.
Please pray for Fulmoti that nothing would steal her childhood joy. My prayer is that she can grow up and be able to finish school, use the brains and wit that she’s obviously been given, and one day, when she’s ready- have the choice like many of us, to marry a good man that she loves. And maybe one day down the road, both Fulmoti and myself will have little daughters of our own. Daughters that have a love of games, life, laughter and unhindered opportunities to thrive.
As we regrouped and got ready to travel the two hour trek home, I was talking to my friends Daniel and Logan and accidentally referenced Fulmoti as “my daughter”. I laughed at the freudian slip, but the title symbolized how my heart was feeling. Getting the opportunity to meet Fulmoti in person made her more than a name. It made her more than $32 a month. It made her more than my sponsored child. It made her part of my family. And while we will be separated by countries and continents, I do know one thing…
I will be quick to share with my village, The Legend of Fulmoti.
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.