Picture a country overwhelmed with a desperate sort of poverty and an even more desperate beauty filled with longing and humming with the undercurrent of a people trying to survive. It’s a country that challenges one’s emotional stability, meaning that every intense emotion known to man will be felt there, sometimes all within the space of one short hour, and well-grounded ideals. Liberia has been torn at the seams by a bloody civil war and the scars of that are still evident and sorrowful, yet hopeful. It’s almost as if the entire country is singing a song of hope for tomorrow; for strength and having stared in the face of death and made a recovery. Here, relationships are far more important than than the busy, consumerism nature so evident in the West, possibly because they’ve seen how easily those relationships can be taken away. Now, picture within that country a tiny orphanage with a giant mango tree sprouting right in the center of the property and brown dirt surrounding it.
Within that orphanage are a couple dozen children with the most heartbreaking stories and the brightest smiles all rolled into one. My job is to love them. I run around kicking a soccer ball with them or throw them in the air to the sound of their squealing laughter or read them stories or help color a picture. I teach them how to be kind and encourage them to dream big dreams of a future lived in a nation will not make life any easier for them.
On one particular day when nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be happening, I was playing with two little boys; helping them reach leaves on the giant mango tree or playing an impromptu game of tag, when I suddenly noticed there seemed to be less kids running around than usual. It was not but a couple of minutes later that I heard the sound of a dozen or so children singing with their beautiful child voices at the top of their lungs. I looked around, expecting to see a small group of them sitting on benches nearby. They weren’t there. They didn’t seem to be anywhere. Then, at the farthest corner of the orphanage I saw the giant rainbow parachute we had brought that day. It was in a perfect oval and radiating with the sound of singing, for underneath it sat children, wrapped up in their own little world of perfectly blended voices and nothing of more importance than remembering the right words, and even that was not a very big deal. It was beautiful and all I could do was stare and listen. It was like no matter what was going on in their country or their world, they were safe under that parachute for the time being. Nothing could touch them. Nothing else mattered except enjoying and living that one moment. I was completely and utterly mesmerized.
About the Author: My name is Sarah Blosser. I live in East Texas but have had the opportunity to travel all over the world including China, Thailand, and Liberia. I would love to continue traveling in the future and hope to work with areas of social justice.
Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter our next Travel Writing competition and tell your story.