Written on the Madagascar mainland on October 13, 2018.
Today we finished the last four pillars and got through about half of the floor. We leveled and adjusted all of the molds for the pillars before pouring in the cement. I helped with mixing the cement, filling the water drum with water from the well, moving buckets of cement into the clinic, and laying and smoothing the floor. We made really nice progress, I think we may be able to finish the floors tomorrow. After construction and lunch it was time for a nap and then lesson planning. Alannah and I worked with the adults again and class went so well compared to yesterday.
A story about a beautiful soul- there is a boy around camp whose age I am not sure of. This boy is both deaf and mute. This boy is nothing but a beautiful smiling soul all throughout the day. He helps to take care of the younger children that are always running around camp, but he also loves to sit and watch while we play cards. He always gives us an excited thumbs up and big beaming smiles when he is excited, is enjoying something, or finds something we do amusing. It is his way of communicating, despite the fact that his language barrier with us goes far beyond just spoken words. He is so happy each day. I think we can all take some tips from him. Don't let things that you cannot control upset you. Be grateful and appreciate the all the little things. Life is really simple when you break it down. Maybe simplicity is the key. Way too often we over complicate things. Food, water, people you love and friendly smiles. That can really be all you need. It's pretty easy to find happiness with fewer moving parts to worry about.
I think that if you ask most people, the best part of travel is the new people you meet. At least, that is my favorite part. I think that we all have so much we can learn from each other. In the case of the sweet boy in Madagascar, I learned, or rather for the first time really realized, that happiness is a feeling that you create. Happiness doesn't come from the words you exchange with others or from tangible things. Happiness is created inside of you. It is determined by the way you decide to approach your days, regardless of your situation.
So here is a reminder-
Take a moment, think of the simple things in life that you are incredibly grateful for, then smile. A big, goofy genuine smile. Because smiles are infectious and who doesn't want more of them in their lives?