Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Serengeti House

"Tell one from your heart" says Isaka from the top bunk.

After a perfect day of peach-picking, frisbee-throwing and monkey bar-swinging, it's story time and all the Serengeti boys are awaiting an epic tale. I tell them stories of a group of eight boys named Mole, Paulo, Simon, Christopher, Vicente, Boaz, Joshua and Isaka. Their adventures take them around Africa, swimming at Mosi-oa-Tunya, rafting down the Zambezi, sailing to Zanzibar and having close encounters with lions. Though they enjoy each story, their favorite one is when they are all signed to play for Manchester United and win the Premier League. Basking in the glow of victory, they fall asleep and dream of the Champion's League.

I then cross the house and knock on the girls' door. "Hodi?" "May I come in?" Inside, Christina, Eva and Happy are quietly doing schoolwork, reading books or folding laundry. A huge change from the rowdy boys' room. I tell them similar adventures only changing the characters to three girls. But they want true stories, about me. I tell them about my friends and family back home, mainly, tis' the season, about our family Christmas traditions. When my stories are over Christina reads The Giving Tree, her favorite book. She reads it so well, though she doesn't need the book at all. "I know it in my heart," she says. Each reading is incredibly moving and a highlight of my day. "Lala salama," I say, closing the door behind me.

Lying in bed that night, I dread leaving in a few days, but am happy knowing that this place, these children and our stories will always be in my heart.

1 comment:

Addie said...

I WANT TO GO THERE!! What a special place with special kids and special volunteers. You two and the kids are lucky to know each other. I know that time will hold a special place in your hearts forever!!