I have been accepted. I have gained trust. Sometimes I forget that this carries the burden of responsibility. It is like a rare gift that I have to handle with the utmost care in order to not break it. I was met with this today.
First, I was walking through the school to check on several children and "N" came up to me and hugged me hard. He is a 7 year old little boy - (if you are following the blog - he is the little one who had no socks and boots that are a size to small - I gave him new tennis shoes and he put them in his bag so he could act like he got them from home...). He said "Miss Kim- where have you been?" "I said, "N", I have been right here - but I tried to find you yesterday and you were not here" He seemed pleased that I looked for him. Then he said, "but I have been looking for you today and I could not find you." "I stopped and said, "N" Why are you trying to find me? He said, "because , Miss Kim, my stepdad, he just beat me and beat me (showing me how) and he is beating my mom - and it is no good when he beat my mom." I just held him and he just clung to me. I said, "I know - it is not good to be beat." We just sat there awhile. I said "I think it is time for me to talk to them." Before he was afraid for me to talk to them - he did not want me to. There is no use trying to make a report on this - he just has a few marks - like small cuts on his legs, no one would do anything. So...he said "I want you to come home with me tomorrow and talk to them.' I said o.k. Now that he has let me in....the responsibility is great.
Then I made it a few more steps and "A" came up and pulled on my shirt - I looked down and saw it was him. He had a new hair cut and as I was commenting on it - I saw he had a black eye.
The little girl with Impetigo - along with 6 other 5-6 year olds - no one came to get them when school was out today. Finally by 4 p.m. all parents were located. They did not get their children back until they talked with me. We will see what happens tomorrow.
We will also see if the police come tomorrow to talk to the child who was sexually abused. We are also planning on the Poly Clinic coming tomorrow to give a worm treatment to every child. No testing - everyone gets the treatment.
Back to being accepted. Remember the mom who helped me yesterday? She came to the school to get her older child. When I saw her I knew she was distressed. I went to her and her 3 year old was clinging to her. Yesterday he was running and playing and holding my hand as we walked through San Mateo. Today he looked frightened and clung to his mom. I asked her what happened - what is wrong? she said "I need your help. I felt something bad in the house last night - something weird. Then, he woke up at 2 in the morning screaming and saying the crabs were biting him. He has always been a child that sees things - he senses things. He was in pain and trying to get them off of him - he was awake - not dreaming and I took him out of the house. But every time I try to take him back in he starts screaming and shaking. I gave him the Bible to hold and he threw it - then I knew. It was a bad spirit. He does not act like this. There is somethng bad in my house." I asked, What can I do?" She said, "I need some Holy Water - does the school have any Holy Water?" I said, "I don't know". So I asked. Well, the answer was "we can get some, but it will have to be by tomorrow, the priest has to bless it - but we have a priest here" Ok - the priest is from the US - a volunteer. The other moms were around by this time and looking to me to help her. So, this mom lives across the lagoon in the place I can't get to by the planks - I can take a boat - now the boat is a canoe - and of course there are crocs in the lagoon. I think the planks....The group of moms were trying to get another priest who could come this afternoon with Holy Water to bless the house and drive out the evil spirits. I know that another belief is to hang garlic over the door and to cover the mirrors at night. I asked her what she has done. She said she looked everywhere to see if it was something for real biting him and she washed the sheets and cleaned but he is still not able to go into the house. The mirrors are covered - no to the garlic. But another mom said the garlic will keep them away but it is already there. When she said she was headed home - the child heard her say it and he about went into convulsions screaming "the crab are biting me" No - a scream like you have never heard and holding his mom so tight. Ok - the priest said she would go to the home with the Holy Water and bless the house. Planks or boat?
It is a very different world. I walked by the pool on the way home and everyone is lounging in the sun and I am just thinking. I hear the tourists talking about where they are going ot eat tonight and how crazy they got on rum last night. I see the couples leisurely strolling down the beach. I am becoming one of those people here that criticize the tourist driving of the golf carts and how they don't know how to walk down the street to stay out of the way of traffic. I go to local food places and bars. I eat a lot of beans and rice and tortillas and stew chicken and fish. I go to central park at night to make sure the kids go home at curfew. Ernesto says - everyone knows who I am. I can go to any neighborhood on the island and find my way to homes with no addresses. Life is different as I am no longer a tourist. I love this place even more than when I was a tourist. I am thinking...the tourists are missing the best part of this island. I am reminded of a line from my favorite hymn. "the love we share as we tarry there - none other has ever known." I think I will tarry here awhile - I feel God's love wherever I go - anywhere in the world - but I feel like I can share love here in way like no other place I know - as of yet.
Much love to everyone. Miss you all.