The Girl in the Yellow Dress

It is difficult, near impossible, to write about poverty
witnessed in another country.  I haven’t
lived it, only witnessed the surface of it. And try as I might, I cannot fully
understand it.

From my eleven years of traveling to Africa and other
developing countries, I’ve come to see my own helplessness in these situations.
I’ve had to look hard at my own assertions of, “I want to help”….which translated
into, “I have the answers and this is how it’s going to be done”.  And finally, coming to that place of my own
poverty, and being able to simply utter, “Teach me”.

A photo from 2011 is the inspiration for this piece.  It was taken during a trek through the rural
hillsides of Kisii, Kenya. I write in response to the lingering questions and
doubts, and the desire to continue serving and learning from these people I’ve
grown to call my family.

The Girl in the Yellow Dress

She stands on the
threshold, silent and solemn, in her tattered yellow dress.  

The inky void at her
back whispers his darkness in her ear and grips her hand in his fierceness.

She straddles the
barrenness, longing to enter the bright vastness before her.

Orange blossoms give
off the scent of possibilities. She clutches this fragility as proof of dreams
not yet realized.

The voices of her
mother, her grandmother, begin to speak in rhythm with the passing footsteps.  These voices speak quietly, soothingly,
confidently; creating a longing that is at once foreign and completely at home
in her small body.

Her steady gaze
reveals nothing, except to the chosen few who look past the tattered dress, the
missing shoe, the dust covered limbs, and their own poverty-evoked pity and see
themselves in her beauty.

Always Mercy,


via Always Mercy

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