Lest you wonder, I paid about 1,000 shillings for the priviledge of taking their picture. Well worth it to all 3 of us. And then these two darlings. Just playing in the dirt with two sticks. The younger one was social and smiled ear to ear, speaking for his shy older brother. I was grateful they indulged me and after a little while they let me take their picture. Note to self: Never ever go out again without a pocket full of candy.
There was much to see on the road into the commercial area. Lots of people walking, women carrying their babies on their backs,
lush green everything, roadside "store fronts"
and a few funny looks at a van full of fair skinned people with their cameras sticking out the windows. We're trying to blend in and all.
We watched as this little one drag the heavy bag of trash from who knows how far, across a street to this dumpster. Looking back I realized given any other situation, I would have made my way to her as soon as I had scene her struggling with the weight. But I am under the direction and protection of the leaders of our group and it dawns on me the reason I dislike protection so. I needed to run to her, not sit in the van safely protected from the germs or anything else. Instead, I sat, we sat, silently, stunned as the scene was unfolding before us.
Unable to hoist it onto the overflowing heap, she dumped it right there in the dirt, shaking the container to empty the last piece and left with the bag in the direction she had come. And then this...
a woman, thin as the stick she's holding picking, scavenging, searching, carefully going over each piece in the small heap. Don't be confused, this wasn't a bag of any substance...nothing large enough to identify, just garbage. As she picked, several young boys jumped up in the refuse and began sorting through. One found a banana, peeled it and shared it with the other two. And we sat. Paralized. Holding close our new shillings, the near equivalent of 1/2 a year's wages for either famiy represented in the rubble. Who am I and how am I going to negotiate for the freedom to get involved?This is too careful, too protected, too much to bare. Too much.
I will never forget the sitting, the silence, the regret.
So tonight we are safe after an afternoon meeting and prayer over each other, a meal and now a bed room. The woman...the boys...the little girl in the blue dress...I wonder.