12 Dec 2011
Like any other child.
This little beauty is named Michnaika. We aren’t sure how old she is, we haven’t gotten a birth certificate for her yet. She is most likely a year or older. Her belly is swollen from malnutrition. Her hair is tell tale red (a sign malnutrition in African children). She is not walking, is not crawling. She doesn’t smile, she doesn’t make much eye contact. She doesn’t play. She sits and watches, takes in everything with deep, curious eyes.
But I am not worried. Because by now I’ve seen this enough times to know what’s going to happen to Michnaika. She’s going to become Michnaika. By that I mean, she is going to thrive and grow and become the small person circumstance hasn’t allowed her to be. Her future is bright, sparking with possibilities.
She will eat everyday. Sleep in a soft, fleecy sleeper on a mattress every night. Soon she will be paired with a volunteer, and slowly she will come to trust that person, she will learn to laugh and smile, and learn to play. And begin to trust and love others.
Someday soon she will be like any other child that you probably know, carefree.
And along the way I get to catch glimpses of Michnaika’s journey. Until the time comes she will begin the next. I hope to be there that day, to tickle her belly, tell her we’ll miss her, and wave her off as she and her family pull out of GLA’s gates, to wherever home may be.