Last night I dreamt that the compost toilet bucket in my en-suite was overflowing! Not the happiest dream to wake up to, and a relief when I went in to find my fears were unfounded.
The morning was spent firstly meeting two kids heading off to school for the first time (thanks to a family at Christ Church) and their very grateful mother, then some R&R catching up on my blog and writing.
The afternoon was totally different and I’ve resorted to poetry and pictures to try and tell a bit of it:
Balloons Burst, Bubbles Pop
(for Emily, after a harrowing afternoon in the field)
Balloons burst, bubbles pop
Beneath plantation fields.
Boys gasp as rubber inflates
Unleashed, dances to their heels
Two boys abandoned by their Mum
Their father unable to cope
The responsibility makes him choke
And totally lost all hope
Alone abandoned day by day
Until their Mum returns at last
But leaves behind a near weaned girl
And speeds away as fast
The oldest boy a natural first,
Concerned, protective, trying.
Too young to wash his face as well
But stops his sister crying.
A man called ‘Deus’ brings us there
Concerned at the boys’ plight
Their father, and uncle here this time
They’ve given up the fight
The boys, pot-bellied, catch my gaze
And gradually come to my side,
The younger boy, a natural friend
Grows smiles twice as wide
Faces recorded on a cellular screen
Confuse, amaze, delight
One boy taps his own reflection
Can’t believe it’s right
Balloons filled up and bubbles blown
The children start to play
Other children from the village emerge
They’re going to want to stay
Distraction secure the adults talk
And Emily does the rest
Taking the infant in her arms
She hugs her to her chest
We march up to the clinic next,
Pied pippering at the back
The children follow released balloons
And what’s inside my sack.
At the clinic Simon makes a friend
The medic who is on call
Is someone he has helped before
He grateful, does his all.
Balloons burst and bubbles pop,
Children in disarray
As the prancing priest distracts the crowd
And the others get away
Shop done, and English clothes secured
We bid our friends adieu
It wasn’t the saddest thing we’ve seen today
But I’ll keep that bit from you
A sombre mood on journey home
But Deus seems upbeat
Your visit, my friends, gives them fresh hope
That Dad’s no more dead beat.
Can it really be that bubbles burst
And some floating balloon filled cheer
Could really make a difference to
Young lives whose end is near?
The smallest money that sits at home
Beneath my sofa covers
Or unthinking passes by my feet
Feeds children and their mothers.
A little love from milk-faced strangers
May brighten up a day
And perhaps with a prayer or two
Help a parent on their way
I cannot think what it must be
To sit on God’s great throne
And look at tragedies all day long
When our hearts may be of stone
But all around the world he has
Little heroes hardly known
The sponsors for an orphanage
The ones who make love shown
And all around the world he looks
For people like this daughter
Who when she hears of little ones
Tries to bring them to the water
And prays for them, and takes them food,
And pays for books for school
She doesn’t want a lot for her
But gives her work her all
If you could come here and could see
Her work, her joy, her love
You would get on your knees I think
And praise her Father up above.
It has been an emotional day, finishing with a team meal, and gradual unwind telling old stories, and writing and reading out this poem.
Thank you all for your prayers for Emily and others doing similar works around the world… if you know the old Starfish poem it really is true… what you do for one person makes a difference for them, and sometimes a knock on difference to those around them.