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The Little Things

On every trip to Cameroon, I make sure to visit St. Valentine’s early and often. Walking the dirt path that leads to the orphanage never fails to bring butterflies to my stomach. The boys – as usual – somehow sense my arrival and run out to greet me. As we approach the building in a massive group hug, I notice the conditions have deteriorated since my last visit. Windows are broken, I’m told the roof is leaking, and there is an overall impression of neglect.

I step through the front door looking for answers, but instead I’m greeted with a sight that roots me in place with a lump in my throat and stinging eyes. Hanging from the ceiling are brightly coloured pieces of tissue paper, crumpled and worn, but still in stark contrast to the drab cement structure. These are the butterflies that Katie and Cheryl crafted with the boys during their Live With a Purpose trip last year.

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These boys need so many things – blankets, books and food to name a few – but their emotional needs are just as important. Katie and Cheryl made an impact on these children’s lives that will never ever be forgotten. The butterflies hanging from the ceiling have helped these boys hang on until our next visit.

At the time, it was a simple activity brought from home by the ladies to keep the kids occupied. For the boys of St. Valentine’s, whether they’re six or sixteen years old, these butterflies are everything: proof that they’re worthy of someone’s time, attention and affection; a lifeline offering hope that we’ll return another day; a reminder that they are loved.

Sometimes the little things have more meaning than any of us realize.

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