If looks could kill

24 10 2009

If looks could kill I would be dead a million times over.

Janela is eight. We’ve been hanging around the village enough that I recognized her as soon she walked in and sat down across from me. She greeted us with a shy smile. We asked her what grade she was in and to tell us about her favorite class at school. Her eyes slowly glanced around the room as she answered in Nyenja.

It was those eyes that killed me.

She looked down at her hands as the questions continued. Where did you live before you came here? What was life like? The words hung lifelessly in the air. Her body became stiff. But, even as she sat motionlessly on the couch, her eyes told a forceful, poignant story all their own. Her big, deep, sad brown eyes conveyed an indescribable depth of feeling as they cried out in horror and sorrow and pain. It was obvious that she was trying to smother it – she was fighting to keep the hurt buried deep inside – but her eyes betrayed her. Her eyes overflowed with all of the anguish that brimmed from inside her little heart and soul. The force of her gaze was overwhelming. The intensity in those two little eyes is something I will never forget. It pierced my heart and was almost too much for me to handle.

We quickly pieced together bits of her life from her adoptive “momma” before wrapping up the interview. Her mother was dead. She didn’t remember her or know how she died. Her father was a poor farmer who didn’t have enough to feed his children.

But Janela is just a child. She went without food for days at a time, yes, but her eyes cried out with so much more. The story they told didn’t end with a belly aching in hunger. The story they told was full of a deep, dark sadness. It was colored with shades of agony and pain a child should never have to endure.

I’ve seen the story they told being spun from the eyes of so many of the children here.



















One response

26 10 2009

Oh, honey…what beautiful children…I don’t know how you do it every day. My prayers are with you and with them. I love you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: