Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Busi was another child at the community center. I didn't really ever notice a kind of empty stare from her, like several of the others. But she always seemed to have something going wrong, and I never seemed to see her smile. I remember my first experience of actually observing Busi, when she was trying to open the door to get outside and looking very panicked. She looked at me as she struggled to open the door with desperation all over her face, and so I opened the door to let her out to run over to the restroom. She didn't make it. She only got a few steps away before she was tinkling on the old cracked pavement.

Busi was another one who took a long time to open up. She never shared in the other kids' excitement over hugs and play. She mostly kept to herself or played sadly with a few other kids, and she always just seemed to be having a bad day. She didn't always stick out in my mind while we were there, but she started to come to the forefront of my thoughts more toward the end of our stay in Swaziland.

I think I started noticing a small difference after an incident that I did not know was related until later. Andrew and I were out walking in the poor area of town, the neighborhood where all the kids at the community center lived, and we saw several of them during our walk. But we were up by some other houses up on the hill and we came across a woman who wanted us to pray for our child. One of the women who volunteered at the community center and knew us and was able to speak English quite well translated for us. But this woman was carrying her small son on her back, who was only a few weeks or months old. At the time we had heard of this child, because Carl, the guy whom we were basically working for, had mentioned that he had taken a sick baby to the clinic. The infant had not been eating and now his eyes were not opening, and the mother was afraid he was going to die. So Andrew and I prayed over the child and laid our hands on him. Without any sort of flourish and without great eloquence, we just prayed for God to heal him.

It was later that week that Carl told us that the child was doing better and the mother had said that she believed it was a miracle. He said that the baby's eyes had opened as soon as we had finished praying, and I remembered seeing that, though I hadn't known that it was significant. After that time, the mother helped out at the community center quite regularly. She was usually either in the kitchen or in some corner of the building caring for her son. I tried to say hi and check in on them every now and then, and it was great to be able to share in her joy at the baby's survival.

Busi was this woman's daughter, the baby's older sister. She did not begin smiling right away, but gradually over the next couple weeks she would glance at us and respond to our smiles and she seemed to begin enjoying her time there. Then I remember it was our last night, after a church service on Sunday evening, before we were to be leaving for Mozambique the next morning. We saw the woman with her baby and Busi next to her and we went to say goodbye. Their English was not good, but I believe something in our manner of saying goodbye may have communicated clearly to Busi that we would be leaving and not seeing her any longer. She threw herself at me and gave me a big hug. She proceeded to give Andrew the same goodbye hug and then we were saying goodbye some more. At that moment, I didn't want to leave there. I wanted to see Busi grow up and experience life and be happy. I hope and pray that she continues to find life and goodness growing up all around her and that her little brother would be a blessing to her and that whole family would be blessed and filled with good things. At this moment, I cannot help getting choked up as I call to mind these memories. I thank God for the work that only he can do and has done in that family, for I do believe that it was entirely a work of God, and the memory of it has become very special to me.

Busi is on the left by herself in the green jacket.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it sounds like you left your heart in Africa...with all the kids...does it make you want to go back?