We spent the first two weeks after school got out as staff at HUT. Harding University at Tahkodah. For those of you unaware, HUT is a very special place to us. It is a place where you can simulate living situations from all over the world, and experience life from a different perspective. I took this 2 week course in 2008 before I spent a semester in Zambia, and Tim took this course last year before we lived in Guatemala for 6 weeks. It prepares you. It stretches you. It grows you.
Taking Abigail out there this year was really something great. While the 3 of us were able to stay in an air conditioned building, we still got to expose her to all the different villages, their lifestyles, and beliefs. Some things she caught on to quite well, and others, like the beliefs, blew right over her head. But to see her taking in everything so well and being so open to new experiences touched me. I saw the same thing last summer as we traveled to Guatemala with our 3 year old, not really knowing what to expect. We learned she is flexible, she /really/ has a heart for people everywhere, and she loves trying new things!
When we would tell people about our plans for Guatemala and HUT, one of the most popular questions was “Now, will you all go, or will /she/ be somewhere else?”. We say “No, she’ll be there. We like to keep her with us and have her experience it. Besides, she loves it.” — It’s like people don’t understand that there are kids living that way every day, and the fact that we want our young daughter to do the same for a very small amount of time is a huge risk. The truth is, it plants seeds in her heart and life. It widens her perspective, even at 4. She understands the world better, and she doesn’t live in America’s box. I love seeing her become more well-rounded by the month. She’s really a special little girl and we will always do what we can to give her new experiences so she can grow, change, and understand better what the world she lives in is really like.