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Tiny drops can make big splash

Tiny drops can make big splash
Tiny drops can make big splash
Dr. Wayne Willis

She is one of the saints in my life. I’ll call her Caroline. Having survived hard-scrabble beginnings in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, in her last 40 years, when I knew her, she combined toughness and kindness as beautifully as anyone I’ve known.

In her late 80s, she learned of some people who were going to Guatemala to assemble cooking stoves for those in remote villages who had never had a stove. She thought, “I can do that.” The team was anxious about taking her because she was almost 90 and might be unable to keep up and would slow them all down. Also, worst scenario was that she could have a health emergency that would jeopardize the whole project.

Caroline paid her own way, made every step the youngsters made, climbed every rocky hill and forded every stream, like those half her age. And the villages? They received her as an angel sent from above, partly because of her snow-white mane and her furrowed brow and posture permanently tilted forward.

What she accomplished was tiny in the grand scheme of things, a drop of water in the ocean. She only helped a handful of families in widely-separated villages but, according to those few impoverished families who got their first cooking stove, she was heaven-sent. And for those who worked alongside her, she will be their life-long example of what some gutsy old people are able to do.

Caroline will never make the history books. She’ll not have a highway, not even a cul de sac, named for her. To her, she was simply doing what she perceived to be the right thing according to her religion: “Those of us who are strong ought to help bear the burdens of those who are weak.”

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