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Finding Docas

Looking back at some favourite moments in Cameroon.

One of the most popular blogs I’ve ever shared was the story of Docas. I first met her at the Hotpec Orphanage in Cameroon, Africa when she was only a few years old and she captured my heart from the moment I first saw her…

I always hate this part of the trip. This is where we say goodbye and make promises to return. We stop at the Hotpec orphanage and the kids run up to the van.

We all scramble out trying to gain an extra minute or two with them.

In what feels like minutes, it’s already time to go, but I haven’t even seen her yet. I beg for ten extra minutes and start walking the grounds of the complex. A few kids run up to me and grab my hand, holding it as they talk about their day. I would love to spend hours here with each one of them. They’re starving for attention and I wish I could give it to them.

I hear the horn honking…really?…time to go already? I ask an older child if she has seen Docas, the girl I found eating rice on the floor of an old barn on my earlier visit. The child knows where she is and we run to find her. I start to worry that I won’t find her and if I do, will she remember me?

Docas comes running out of her dormitory dressed in a beautiful gray dress, her eyes beaming. She is as happy to see me as I am to see her. I want this time to last so much longer than it possibly can. I pick her up and give her a big hug, making promises to visit again. We all walk back to the van together where everyone is waiting for me. I hate this part. I’m not good at leaving, at saying goodbye.

I kneel down and hug a few of the kids.

I don’t want to leave – there wasn’t enough time. I’m told it’s time to go. I give a final hug and kiss to as many kids as I can and walk quickly to the van. I jump in and head to the back and start fumbling around in my bag to look for something, anything to stop my from crying. I need a distraction. This is the part of this job that I hate, I really, really do.

Docas and T