Months ago, our friend Kim took a vacation. Most folks might take time for themselves and head to a beach or quiet resort. But not Kim. Her zest for life and travel took her to Ethiopia. And there, this amazing woman, who cares for twins and a 5 year old, not to mention aging parents and a community, fell in love with the work of Rick Hodes and the face of a young boy, named Akewak.

For those of you who have never heard of Rick Hodes, you can watch his moving story on HBO Making The Crooked Straight or click through the link below.

http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/dr-rick-hodes-helps-the-children-of-ethiopia/article104652.html

As an Orthodox Jewish Doctor from Long Island, Rick has made it his mission to help the children of Ethiopia stand tall. His story is moving. And Kim’s ability to hold space for yet another person is stirring. Returning from her trip to Mother’s Theresa’s orphanage, where Rick works, Kim announced that she would be hosting 14 year old Akewak, scheduled in CO for  heart and lung surgery.  Akewak would then convalesce at Kim’s house til he was strong enough to fly home. Spine surgery was still up in the air.

My daughter and I decided that getting to know Akewak would allow us the chance to help make his stay here easier. Close in age, the two became fast friends. Teaching her how to speak Ethiopian, she quickly clucked her “k’s. They chatted away (his English quite good), colored and put together puzzles. We took Akewak to a market we knew of for his native bread, Injera and introduced him to a young boy’s best friend, Nintendo.

On Tuesday, Awewak had his surgery and all went well. On Saturday, we went to visit him. With a carnival in the lobby of the children’s hospital, my daughter and Akewak played games and colored as if they were simply two friends in the basement of any home. There they were in a hospital lobby, separated by experience, yet soulfully connected.

We’re not sure how long Akewak will be here. What we do know is that in a short amount of time, he has touched our lives and transported us out of our little world. How lucky are we to sit next to this child who is thousands of miles away from his family, enduring surgery that one can’t fathom and allowing us to call him friend. We are blessed in so many ways. And with Akewak and Kim, have come to find that anyone can become a new friend. All it takes is recognizing each others’ old souls.

How do you MindFULLy recognize new friends and old souls? Let us know!

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