We're on the way to our final day at the orphanage. It's a beautiful day - paradise. The ocean before me makes me think of the vast hearts, the capacity for love, and the depth of need in the lives of these children. Indeed, in this country.
Women crouch over large bowls scrubbing clothes. Young men amble down gravel lanes or lean against trees. The workday has begun, but for them there is only the long stretch of day until night comes and darkness closes in on them once again.
The riverbed is dry. Last night the island was washed in a downpour, but today it is parched.
What are you thinking as you stand there?
From time to time we pass women carrying large baskets of bread or fruit on their heads. How do you bear the weight and walk with such grace? We pass a yard filled with intricately carved furniture, and the artist is at work. He looks like all of the aimless others, yet he is not sitting idle. Who will buy your creations?
School children in their uniforms walk down the street - the girls' heads boasting ribbons and cheerful bows. So neat and pretty and proud. If we speak the words "God has a plan for you," do you believe us?
Barbed wire curls atop block walls where broken glass stands and glitters. The sight is surprisingly beautiful in this brown world of dirt and rock and grime, yet it reminds us that this is a place of desolation and desperation. They need more than help ... they need HOPE.