I'm taking an evening walk to the hospital. The warm sand is sliding through my flip flops as I walk. Halfway there I hear a little exclamation behind me and then the sound of little feet running. Turning around I see two little girls wearing big smiles running at top speed towards me. I smile too and open my hands to them with a look of happy surprise as if we are old friends. The little girl who reaches me first trustingly takes my hand. The other girl goes for my other hand but finds it full of things. For a moment we stand trying to find a solution to this problem. She solves it by taking the same hand already occupied with the other little hand. We walk the rest of the way together.
I come home after dark. My family is sitting on mats in the courtyard enjoying the coolness of the evening. I join them. The children regard me with shy smiles. My hands turn into sneaky critters that creep over the mat and tickle their toes. They giggle. Soon it’s an all-out game of "sneaky tickle hands". Worn out by this exercise, I flop down to look at the stars. The kids quickly snuggle down around me.
I'm done with work for the day. Esther is shelling peanuts on her front porch. I wander over to help. She shows me how to crack them on the cement. We watch and laugh at the kids as them play.
I am walking to church with Emma who is dressed in his best Big Dog Pajamas. At Sabbath School he is anxious I have a song book for song service. Convinced my English Bible must have the words, he insists I open it up. I end up "singing" from II Chronicles. During the sermon my little African sister, Sidoni, delights in flipping through my small French Bible while leaning on my knee. On the walk home Emma, Sidoni and I all hold hands and sing the closing song again. I try to teach them how to skip – unsuccessfully.
There is a young Arab man in Bed 16. He has been here for more than a week. His condition is grave and painful. I've made an effort to greet him and wish him courage. Today he asks my name. His name is Berthe. He smiles.
I visit a family with Tammy Parker. They let me hold the baby of the family. We are waltzing around as I hum. Suddenly there is a sensation of wetness. My scrubs have a nice dark spot on the leg. We all laugh. Life isn't complete, I think, without having a sweet baby pee on you.
When I understand enough French to catch their humor, and the glorious few times I can joke back.
These are what define my days. Not the heat, spiders or sandy food. Those things are hardly notable in comparison to these moments that make my days.