I know this title is bland. But it’s the only way I can think of to characterize the story that I’m about to tell.
I travel to Africa for the first time. I meet Jon. Jon takes a photo of me in a Tanzanian orphanage, with a baby named Praygod.
Praygod and me at the Nkoaranga Orphanage in March 2007. (Photo: Jon Hrusa)
I never return to Tanzania. I don’t forget about Praygod but he becomes a distant memory.
My trip to Tanzania sparks a chain of events, which eventually lead me to move to South Africa and start a life with Jon in August 2010.
Jon dies in December 2011. (Obviously I’m skipping over a lot of the story. But for the sake of brevity I’m only hitting the major events.)
On the one-month anniversary of Jon’s death, I publish a blog post with several photos that Jon took of me in Tanzania. Below the photo of Praygod, I write: “…taken at the Nkoaranga Orphanage. I love this baby. His name is Praygod. I often wonder where he is today.”
I receive a comment on my blog from an American woman named Amy. The comment begins like this: “Hi, I just stumbled upon your website. I wanted to update you on baby PrayGod in your photo. Amazingly enough, that is the exact outfit I dressed him in the first day I met him in June 2007, although he had less hair…”
I can hardly believe my eyes as I read Amy’s comment. Amy is in the midst of adopting Praygod, who is now called Pray, and the two of them are living together in Tanzania.
Amy google-searched “Praygod Nkoaranga Orphanage Tanzania” one evening, and came upon my blog. That’s how she found this stunning photo of her son, shot three months before she met him. (Here’s a page from Amy’s blog with a photo of Amy and Pray on the day they met. Pray is indeed wearing the same onesie. This page also tells much of Amy and Pray’s story if you want to know more.)
I am blown away, not only by the fact that Amy was able to find this photo on my blog, but also by all of the similar turns that our lives have taken. Amy and I have never met and we are probably nothing alike. And yet somehow we’re the same.
Amy and I become Facebook friends and marvel together over this Amazing Story. I intend to write a post about it on my blog, but somehow I never do.
Amy and Pray (who is now nearly seven years old) move from Tanzania to the United States. Pray becomes an American citizen. I follow the story on Facebook, and see photos of Pray playing football and doing other fun things that kids do in America.
By now I have forgotten how I ever learned about Amy and Pray. The Amazing Story is hidden somewhere in my subconscious.
Amy’s mother, Diane, comments on a Facebook post that Amy made back in July 2012, when Amy first found Jon’s photo. Diane’s comment pops up in my Facebook notifications. The comment says: “This remains my all time favorite photo of baby Pray. The shine in his eyes is still there. We are so grateful for this pic.”
I finally decide to write a blog post about the Amazing Story.
Amy and Pray. I hope to meet them someday. (Photo courtesy of Amy Summers.)
The end. Or is it the beginning?