Isn’t she beautiful? Heather and I met Sara in a village called Jerusalem. Our group finished our work in the schools on Wednesday morning and went to visit homes in Jerusalem that afternoon. Faith, an employee at the Segera Mission, took us as a group and introduced us to many of the families – many of whom participate in Bible study and the feeding program at the Mission. As usual, children flocked to the bus as we drove up and parked. This late in the game we were pretty accustomed to and comfortable with the quick connection that would happen soon after we disembarked. Each of us would initiate conversation with the children outside of the bus; two or three would attach themselves to each of us, and they would accompany us during our time there. They were so open to us.
Because this was late in the week, we had at least encountered many of these children at a school or worship service earlier in the trip. I recognized some faces but didn’t know any of them well. Before we turned the bend into the village, Sara grabbed mine and Heather’s hands. She held on until we left. She was a quiet one which caused me to question whether she knew English. The younger kiddos definitely spoke varying levels of English. She stayed with us and held our hands – insisting on having us both.
At the nicest hut I visited during our trip, Heather and I began to wonder about a separate enclosure to the right of the hut. We were guessing quietly what it might be when Sara, in a soft voice explained, “Kitchen. That’s the kitchen.” Before that, she had only spoken to tell us her name, so it was so cutie for her to understand our whispers and very matter of factly answer our question. From then on we peppered her with questions; she was sharp and understand and spoke English well. She pointed out enclosures for the hens, one for the chicks, and even the fact that one of the mothers was building a new hut beside her old one.
Sara became most excited when our group moved to her very own home. Her mother was standing outside; Sara quietly yet proudly shared that this was her home and her mother and her siblings. If I am remembering correctly, her mother had ten children, one of whom had died. In their culture, a woman who has a lot of children is considered to be blessed.
Sara’s mother did not speak English but gestured to us that Sara was her daughter. She seemed equally proud to be Sara’s mother and communicated to us that Sara knew English (which we had already discovered :-). Sara translated for us, allowing us to talk with her mom a little. We had Sara ask her mom if she’d like a family photo with those close by (not all of the kids were present at the hut at the time). Sara’s sister on the far right closed her eyes in one of the first pictures we took, which troubled her greatly. That’s why she’s making such big eyes in the picture. She was determined not to close her eyes again 🙂
This was the first village where I noticed locks on the doors. Many of the huts had small padlocks on the stick doors, and they would wear the keys on a necklace or ring.
After a loop through the village, we met to pray with the people of the community. They sang and danced for us (which happened every single place we went, which was complete awesomeness) and this time they grabbed two of our peeps to dance with them. The pastor/leader of the village spoke to us via Faith, and two guys from our group spoke to them. Good times. Then it was time for goodbye. Here Sara says, “Goodbye, Cookie :-)”…