Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our kids should grow up together

A story... made up... but absolutely true... based on account shared by a colleague.

I don't remember what started it. It was about five years ago. Five years ago... there was some kind of disagreement between someone from our tribe and someone from their tribe. So they started their own village, I guess.

See the other side of those farms there? Those houses and buildings are the new village where the other tribe is - their school is there, their market is there, their services are there. But it's so small, and they have nothing.

I live nearby, in that house down the road a bit. See it? It's my family's home, we've lived there for generations. Our neighbours on both sides are from the other tribe. I've known them since we were little kids. We grew up playing together on the streets, then we went to school together, and a few of us went off to the city for high school together. In high school I shared a room with people from the other tribe - we were from the same village, so who cared that at home we spoke different languages?

Then the problem happened. For a while we didn't even talk to our neighbours, and I can't even remember why! It was like we started hating each other overnight, but we didn't hate each other, you know? We'd pass each other in the street and I'd want to say something, but it just seemed like I'd be betraying my family. Well, now we talk again. We're not best friends like we used to be, and we don't visit. But at least we're neighbours again.

But still, my children go to this school here. They have teachers and classrooms and some notebooks. But their children... the neighbour kids walk all the way around our village, in between those farms, to the other little village over there. I visited once. There's nothing there. The school only has one little thatched room, but the children study under a tree. They don't have books, pens, or chairs. Over here, we don't have a lot, but at least my kids study in a classroom.

I know there are plans to improve the school over there. I'm glad that the other kids will have classrooms, but the whole thing is silly. I don't know if anyone here remembers what the problem was. Their children should come here to study, not fix the classrooms over there. A few days ago, I started chatting with my neighbour in front of our houses, and I'm sure he agrees with me.

So, once the classrooms are built over there, I plan to find a way to get all the children back into our school over here. We need a medical clinic and could really use a community centre. So let's use the new school there for community services. But our kids... they should grow up together.

written for Emily's imperfect prose: a little less introspective than may be norm, but this is the everyday imperfection that my life is made of.

13 comments:

Kati patrianoceu said...

Emily... I wrote this earlier as it's bedtime for me and tomorrow's a busy day. I just saw your post. I hope you don't mind me sharing something a bit out of the ordinary, but I actually feel this is so appropriate for what you wrote - because these are the people I came to serve, and you've reminded me today to pray for them and not just 'manage programs' for them, to see their dignity: it's an unlikely place to look, but there's so much Grace all around me if I just stop to see with my soul.

Here's a link to a video that I saw years ago and that I love for showing the real spirit of the people here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQwCCm-H-sU

Brian Miller said...

nice. i like your comment as much as your post...a great story as it is through coming together that truly great things are accomplished...and barriers are broken...

emily wierenga said...

oh kati, your heart is SO big, and i love this story. it's perfect. the connecting of the unlikely; the serving of the lowly. this, the living sacrifice i was talking of. you embody it. xo

April said...

I love the voice you wrote this in...makes it all the more powerful.

deb said...

the way in which this story read absolutely makes it all the more profound.

Mama Zen said...

It makes so much sense.

Misty said...

like brian i appreciate your comment as much as your prose! esp this line: but there's so much Grace all around me if I just stop to see with my soul.
this is exactly what i need to be doing... use my soul to see grace instead of always trying to make it happen or see my own interests along the way. and yes, our children should grow up together.

laura said...

Your story carries us through time and space...could be a village anywhere. Forgiveness is such a struggle for humans...especially forgiveness for wrongs that are invented/imagined. Beautiful written. Thank you.

Jodi said...

Forgiveness is a difficult road. God bless your trailblazing efforts, and I hope many will follow.

Ryan and Melanie said...

You have a beautiful heart. Thanks for sharing this story.

Linda said...

So beautifully told....it is heartbreaking the way we allow ourselves to be divided and amazing what forgiveness and grace can do.

imoomie said...

Doesn't it take so much energy to "go around" each other when working together would be a blessing to all.

God go with you as you work to bridge the gap.

Nancy said...

Those divisions--especially the ones no on can remember how they started--so painful. Lovely picture of grace. Thanks so much for stopping by my place. Blessings.

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