La belle époque

Each time we drive past, children run up to wave at the car, something they take pride in doing. Many of them don't expect a wave in return, so I see how their faces light up when I wave back. Some of them squeal and jump with excitement while others stand paralysed with shock from the returned wave. Children are so adorable and have the purest of hearts.

Straw roofs held up by sticks as make shift classrooms and schools, children walk the distance to get there with their chalk boards as proof of learning. Dirt roads, narrow paths, vast land. Motorbikes ply the routes mostly, as well as bicycles. The few private cars give a new perspective of how much weight a car can possibly carry.

She heaved a sigh, but not of relief, it was one filled with anguish. Then tears followed. All I wanted to do was hug her but I had no way of knowing what would be acceptable to her in that state. She watched her husband as he was tied up then killed; a scenario that would remain with her always. People went through different cycles of emotions, feelings I could only imagine.

Conflict and the need for power, the need for control has fractured the country beyond immediate repair but the people remain resilient. Tired of being tired, they wait with hope. It is scary how sometimes we go to places and the entire body language screams at us to help, or how their eyes tell us that we are the only source of hope in sight.

It gets easier by the day to work here. Increasingly, I see how the work we do makes a difference and I am grateful to be doing what I do. Hopefully this country can go back to 'la belle époque' as those who lived through the good days always say.


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