More photo ops.
Ivory carvings. The intricacies are amazing.
The Meadors kids!
Our sweet guide spends much time explaining things to Samuel in his native tongue of Cantonese.
Prayers for a negative TB test would be appreciated!
Today we had Samuel's physical and blood draw for TB. He did great on the physical part, except that he wouldn't cooperate for the eye exam. However, we did not like the blood draw at all. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth during and after. Fortunately we had a sucker handy and that made all better. He is such a good kid - just like big sisters! Don't know how Martha and I got so lucky with our kids, but they're all great.
Samuel continues to get to know his family, just as we continue to get to know him. He did learn about the corner a couple of times today - it's not his fave place to visit! :-) The next couple of days are going to be very quiet for us. Nothing scheduled for tomorrow, and just a little bit of shopping (yip-eee) for Saturday. We're all at that point in the trip where we're ready to head home, but we've still got too long to go to really dwell on it.
I've got to address something that has been eating at me since we got to Guangzhou. It's actually one thing that has really slowed down our sightseeing and robbed us of some fun - especially during the evening time - and that has been the proliferation of beggars on the streets outside our hotel. It's something that's been on my heart for several days now. The street just to the west of the hotel is referred to as McDonald's street by most of the tourists, but Courtney calls it Starbuck's street. This street could be such a cool place. There are noodle shops, a Thai food joint, a Pizza Hut that serves much more than pizza, and of course a Starbucks and a McDonalds, just to name a few. There are some other cool shops and street vendors as well.
But there are also beggars on the sidewalks, strategically stationed about 75 feet apart. These aren't just any beggars either. Several of them are so deformed that it makes me wonder if they've been surgically or forcefully altered. Several of the them are prostrate on the sidewalk, wearing nothing more than a loin cloth, flopping around a pan or hat lying by them. It breaks my heart to see such human tragedy, but it disturbs the girls terribly - so much so that they don't want to get out at night. To be honest, it disturbs me too. I'm not sure a caring person could walk up and down the sidewalks and not be troubled by such a sight. We found similar images on the sidwalk outside the Forbidden City in Beijing.
What disturbs me more, is that I've got this sickening feeling that someone is profiting off these poor souls. See, they're not out there all day every day. Most of them couldn't get out there on their own if they wanted. Yet, by 5PM or so, there they are, and they seem to be precisely placed about 75 feet apart, as if they each have their own turf. Someone is leaving them there and someone is picking them up - as far as I can tell, without even so much as a cup of water to sustain them.
It also bothers me at how easy it appears for everyone to walk right past them, or in a couple of instances, step right over them while on their way. Have we, as a society, become so calloused to the human condition that we've lost compassion? The question applies to me first and foremost. I've left money in the past and I'm going to leave more, but I find myself wanting to do more for them. Yet I mostly just walk by them, not knowing what it is I could do, and trying my best to avoid looking at these people on my way to my fancy room in the opulent Garden Hotel. These beggars need the Lord as much as anyone. And he loves them - as much as he loves me. I don't know. I don't know where the line is and what I can do to truly make a difference. Maybe leaving money does allow someone to buy food for them. But what if some evil person is pocketing most of it and using only enough to keep their cash cow alive? I have no answers - I'm not smart enough. Just questions and disappointment in myself for not doing more. To quote Casting Crowns: "If we are the body, why aren't his arms reaching?"
I would ask that everyone who reads this stop long enough to pray for these poor individuals. And I pray that all of us can do what we can to make our corners of the world better.
For all my failures, I'll rest my head tonight knowing that I'm making a difference in the lives of two former orphans.