Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday Scribblings- Three Wishes

She used to wish that her plastic horses would come to life during the night while she slept. Praying that upon waking she would find them moving of their own accord, ready to befriend her. It was her heart'’s secret wish when she was a little girl. Every night, after being tucked into her warm bed, she would survey the rows of model horses prancing along the shelves that lined the room. They were so life like, she almost believed her wish would come true. In fact, when she was younger, she did believe. Though by the tender age of seven, she had learned that wishes like that don't really come true.

In her teens her wishes has been focused on things like popularity, beauty, the right clothes and the right boys. Teenage wishes for teenage challenges. They revolved around fitting in and gaining the acceptance of her superior peers. These wishes too had been fervently sent up. She thought back to how serious it all seemed at the time. She was wishing to be comfortable in her own skin; a feat, she thought wryly, she never quite achieved. In spite of this fact, she has moved on. She has left even that wish behind in lieu of more pressing matters.

Staring up at the ceiling she smiled at the memories. Simpler times, simpler wishes. Didn'’t the fairy tales all promise us three wishes? She wouldn't’ need three she thought, only one. Sure she could certainly come up with three. She would wish, as she thought most would, for an end to the seemingly senseless and endless wars plaguing the world, an end to the suffering of so many in the forgotten poor regions of the globe. She would spend the second wish on the more selfish hope that her family all remain happy and healthy. She feels that she can afford to keep one wish to herself. Her third wish, the same one that rolls through her mind day after day as she moves through her tasks, help. Please help. It has become a drone in her mind, a constant ever-playing chant.

They were called the children of the night or night commuters and they are the reason she is here. To avoid abduction, tens of thousands of children walk many miles from their rural villages into city centers to sleep in relative safety provided by groups like the one she is working for. Over the last twenty years, it is estimated that some 30, 000 children have been abducted from their families. They are beaten, mutilated, raped, forced to commit atrocities (often against their own families), and serve as soldiers in the LRA (Lords Resistance Army). It is heart breaking and a problem that the world largely ignores. She has heard it described as the worst case of child trafficking in history and watching them come every night she can well believe it. She has been here a year and she still cries every night despite the children's courage and warm smiles. She thinks to herself, if they can be brave enough to face this, I can be brave enough to offer help.

Her alarm sounds unnecessarily. She has been up for hours in spite of her late night. She rolls over and hits the button to stop the noise and swings her legs to the floor. As she walks through the city streets towards the market she heads out hoping to meet a fairy or a genie on her way. I just need one she thought desperately as the familiar knot rose in her throat. Just one wish would be enough.
If you are interested in reading more about the children of Uganda check out these sites. Sorry they aren't links, blogger doesn't support MACs yet :(


Blogger la vie en rose said...

oh wow letha! i am speechless and in tears...

11:12 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

i am speechless and in tears as well.

thank you for this.

thank you for being a warrior for these children.

bless your big heart.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Thanks for using the SS prompt to bring to light an important cause. My energies have been focused on the situation in Darfur, so I'm not really up to speed about the children of the night...but I did hear Oprah did a show about both recently...will check out your links...

12:10 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely story of bravery and compassion. And thank you for the important work you're doing helping those children. Truly inspiring!

1:49 PM  
Blogger boliyou said...

I wish for your wish to come true. And I wish for your strength.

4:32 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

oh letha this is full of such power. your voice here, in this post, inspires me to remember what is important. thank you my friend. thank you. blessings to your soul today.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for this.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

You have such a big heart! I knew when I saw the first picture where you were going with this post. I feel strongly about this too. Thanks for shedding light on it for all to see, hear and hopeful ACT.


8:46 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...


and moving,
loud and strong and clear.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical of you to use your wish to do good. ;) But seriously...wonderful post, and a problem I've never heard of before. Thanks for educating me-like Oprah says, now I can't pretend I don't know.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Poignant, lovely, and heartbreaking. Thank you for this lesson.

5:30 PM  
Blogger papyrus said...

A beautiful piece and a wish that I can really feel for having spent 10 years in a different but similar country in Africa. Thanks.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a number - one single, silent, yet exact number - that is the very number of people who need to believe in order to make the little plastic horses come to life for these children. One night in the future, this threshold number of believers will lay in their seperate beds all at the same time and simply BELIEVE. In this moment, and in a celebratory burst of faith that is contrary to the absence of passionate willfulness that the sad experiences and broken dreams of our own lives would love for us to embrace, the horses will live, the horses will run, and the children will once again look forward to the joy of tomorrow. Don't stop believing. Don't ever stop. The number approaches, and you've contributed a verse my old friend. :)

12:07 AM  

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