I sat under a shade tree at one of the Lifesong School’s in Ethiopia. She came towards me, her sparkling eyes shining almost as much as her huge smile.
We started our chat. When I asked about her living situation she lost her smile and with her eyes downcast, Betelem doodled in the dirt. “My mom doesn’t want me and I never knew my dad.” She explained that she lives with her aunt now, she loves her like a mom.
When the conversation moved on, her sparkle came back to her eyes as she laughed and told me about her life now, how much she loves school, her teachers and school lunches. Betelem’s favorite thing to do in her free time? “Help my aunt around the house”.
A few minutes later, I was told by a staff member that her aunt is HIV+.
This is the part where I am supposed to pull together a touching conclusion, possibly tie it in to the theme of thankfulness but to do that dances in the face of Betelem’s grief. Yes, I am thankful that she is able to attend a wonderful school and learn about Jesus. But, I can’t tell her everything is going to be fine. I can’t tie this into a neat, little bow.
We hugged and she bounced away.
Bye sweetie. May you be known by our Father and know that He always wants you.