Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Ode to a Ringworm: Revisited


Four years ago at this time, my seven months in Kitale, Kenya were coming to an end. I was two weeks away from moving back to California and had no idea how to prepare to return "home" {a term that had become so subjective.} Though, I did know that the next two weeks were going to hold many goodbyes and what would feel like an ocean of tears.

Around this same time, my face began to itch. I wrote it off as a mosquito bite because, well, there were a million mosquitoes around all the time...but instead of itching less as the days went on, like a typical bite, it was getting bigger and itchier.

One afternoon, our friend Sister Freda, said, "Oh dear. You have ringworm!" It was about the size of a quarter in the middle of my right cheek. And it was a beaute!


I explained to Steve, our team leader, that Freda had told me that I would know it was healing when it stopped itching. His response was classic: "Well, then I've had ringworm in my butt for 40 years because it itches everyday!" 

Steve is incredibly memorable.

****

Four years ago, yesterday, I wrote this blog post.

****

Steve came in this morning, as we were leaving, and told me to sit down because he had written me a poem.


Here it is:

There are signs that mark our journey,
As we move from land to land
Some are told and some are written
Some in ink on back or hand

One such marking I will carry,
Of Kitale--home with me.
It's a circle--It's a virus
On my cheek, for all to see.

I won't cover or deny
This tiny 'O' upon my face
It will be a sweet reminder
Of these people...of this place.

I will never forget this journey,
Or the changes that I see.
Tho' this mark will some day fade, I pray,
I know, that these children stay with me.

I cried when he read it...HE cried when he read it.
And I cried again just now...

I love Steve. I love his heart for this place. And I love his constant encouragement and passion.
It will be a great last two weeks to have him here with us.

****

I have the poem, in Steve's handwriting, framed in my bedroom.
I see it everyday...

Reading it now is still as emotional as it was the morning he read it to me.

Four years later these children are still with me.
Buried so deep in my heart.

Fortunately, the ringworm healed long ago!


Read more of my Kitale adventures here.

3 comments :

Evan Finegan said...

This is so wonderful and made me smile so I thought it deserved a comment!

The Rollers said...

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