Written by: Jessica McClain
After my sophomore year of college, I spent two months working in Peru. For the first time in my life, I was exposed to radically different people, different places, different cultures, and a different view of poverty. It was completely life altering, and forever changed the way that I look at the world.
One night in Peru, one of the young girls in the orphanage I was working in took me on a tour around the dorms of the orphanage. Once she was done with the tour, we sat outside and talked about her life for a little while. She was a young girl, probably 10 or 11 years old, but spoke with wisdom far beyond her age concerning the hardships she had faced. Her parents had both died of AIDS, leaving her in the orphanage alone without any family. She had struggled adapting to life without them at such a young age.
While we sat outside, I caught myself looking at the crescent moon that lit the sky over our heads. In that moment, as I was filled with a strange mixture of sadness, joy, and anger for the hardships in this world, I realized that I never wanted to forget the responsibility that I felt to help that little girl in any way that I could. I wanted to remember her story, to feel her pain, and to continue fighting for people like her for the rest of my life. Thus, the moon became permanently inked on my skin.
I carry that sentiment with me everyday as I work for the Fuller Center. I remember the deep need around the world: whether it be for a physical home, a sharing of love, or just someone to sit outside and talk with under the moonlight.
Whenever I grow weary and afraid of the road ahead, uncertain whether I have the strength to continue the journey laid out before me, my right hand has learned to reach up and touch behind my ear, touching the reminder of Peru, the night I learned that we must do what we can, where we are, with all the strength that we have.