It’s a beautiful day on a golden beach. The sun is warm, but waning, and the crowds have thinned as sunburns and hunger slowly, but surely pick off the beach-goers one by one.
In the corner of a shared office here at Orphan’s Lifeline, sits an unattended file cabinet; unattended, but not forgotten, and never completely absent from the part of my brain that harbors feelings of regret. Perhaps it’s not as much regret, but rather that sad feeling you get when you read about someone passing that you didn’t really know.
They will remember.
They will remember it all. The loss. The loneliness. The hunger and the heartbreak. The soul-wrenching pain of abandonment.
Miria slows as she nears the rear of the shiny, black car and then she veers to the right to walk around it, wondering who might be inside the dark, tinted windows. As she walks by, she hears a whining sound and turns to see the passenger window open. She stops and peers inside from where she stands and sees a handsome young man smiling back at her. She smiles nervously in response, wondering what this is all about. That’s when he speaks in a friendly voice.
The shiny, black sedan idles slowly through the Bwaise slums. Isaac Mugulu sits behind the wheel, his eyes scanning up and down each street he comes to from behind dark glasses. Several ragged blocks in the slums have yielded no potential targets for the young human trafficker and he is beginning to think that he has gotten out of bed early for no reason. To this point he has seen nothing but adults. Some starting chores in and around their humble shacks. Others shuffling along to points unknown in search of ways to supply their families with food for the day. It’s a hard life that Isaac knows all too well and he is thankful that is no longer true for himself. He might not be rich by world standards, but by Bwaise standards, he is wealthy indeed as attested to by the stares his car receives by those he passes by.
Miria is already awake when the sun peeks over the eastern horizon and all that has been hidden in the cloak of darkness begins to take shape. Her eyes are open and staring at the now empty corner where she was sure others had slept the night before. They must have crept out quietly while darkness still ruled. Or perhaps there hadn’t been anyone there at all. Just her imagination.
Miria shivers in the dark and pulls the ragged blanket around her shoulders as she moves through the dark streets of Bwaise. She is exhausted, cold and hungry, her bare feet sore and bleeding from the stones and broken glass that litter the dirt streets of this sprawling slum outside of Kampala, Uganda.
Everyone is an author. Whether we want to be or not. Whether it’s through purposeful reaction or purposeful neglect. Through observation and resulting action, or observation and inaction, we are all authors in the stories of the lives we come in contact with.
It is such a privilege and an honor for us here at Orphan’s Lifeline to be among a collection of people who see the world through the eyes of a servant. 2016 has ended and has become the 17th year in which we have all worked together to make a difference in the lives of innocent orphan children around the world.
Benjamin awakens to the sounds of dishes rattling in the kitchen. He sits up and rubs his eyes and yawns. Suddenly he remembers what day it is. The first day of school.