Queens and Princesses.


It’s Saturday at Rafiki Village Uganda.
I sit and play and talk with the girls of cottage 1,2,3, and 4.
Around me, they twist palm fronds and tell stories.
They laugh because I just can’t get this art that’s been mastered by ones who have not yet reached seven years.
They weave patterns as I weave memories. I want to be followed around with a camera.
I want to have each and every second on film.
Recorded so I won’t ever forget. Recorded so I can relive these moments.
Because I know they won’t last forever.
That I will have to go home in just a few weeks.
That I won’t get to hug and laugh and weave for much longer.

When I’ve done enough for today, probably only ten lines, I put my palm-frond-turned-messy-creation aside, thinking of how much it is like my life.
All messy when I try so hard to put it perfectly together, only perfect when I’m not in control.
I shake the thoughts from my head and pull her into my lap. Little Mercy.

She tells me she’s three, even though I know she’s four.
She wore a birthday crown and recieved a book just a month ago.
But she’s four, and these kind of things slip quietly out of the minds of those so young.
She cares more about play and laughter and love than the number that somebody told her corresponds with who she is.

She sits on my lap facing me and we talk.
She tells me that she is brown and I am pink.
Pink like a queen, because that’s the color of the ones in the books on the shelves.
And I want nothing more than to erase this image from her mind.

For her to know that queens come in all colors and that she is the Princess of the One that I love.
The One that loves her so dearly.
But she knows.
She knows in her own four-year-old way because she is surrounded by His love.
At this place down long dirt roads carved deep with the lines of memories of the rainy season.
At this place that He specifically ordained little Mercy to be, she’s not an orphan anymore.
She’s loved by a family. His family, and hers too. Because they’re the same.
By Mama Jane, the only mom she’s ever known. The one who laughs at her four-year-old statements and delights in her four-year-old love.
By her nine sisters who’ve helped raise her like she’s 4 going on 14.
By the staff and family of Rafiki.
And by that one pink skinned girl who desperately wants to love and be loved by the ones all gathered around her for a photograph and all the ones who haven’t found the love of a home like my Rafiki children have and more importantly who haven’t found the Love that only He can bring.
–Hallie
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