Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tei smiled

There is a boy that I met. His name is Tei. He has shy brown eyes, a sweet smile, and a heavy heart.

Last Sunday, I saw Tei smile. Not just play at a smile, or put on a cheesy grin for the camera. I saw his face explode in sunshine and unaffected happiness, and it made me want to cry.

Tei's mother died in childbirth when Tei was five. His father was a pastor, with a heart for men and women with deceived minds and enslaved hearts, and worked with prostitutes and Rastafarians. The family lived and worked in the Muslim quarter, and though their neighbors disliked Tei's father for his Christianity, he was too outspoken and too well-liked elsewhere for them to do anything against him.

That is, until December 2007. As the country erupted in political unrest and tribal conflict, his enemies took advantage of him. They severely beat him with sticks and a blunt machete and left him for dead. As he lay there, his life blood pouring out of him, he cried out for Jesus and for his children, but because of the unrest and confusion of the times, no one stopped to hep him, and he died by the side of the road.

And Tei was left an orphan.

Tei attended Mikindani Royal Kids School during preschool and kindergarten, but after his mother's death, the commute to the school was too much of a burden on his family, so he was moved to a school closer to home. When his father died, however, Ngao & Grace took him in, since they were very close friends with his father.

His mother's death was difficult enough, but after his father's brutal murder, he completely withdrew into himself. He froze up— emotionally, mentally, physically, developmentally. He is slow in learning, and his body is seems more like that of a 7-year-old, not a ten-year-old. His emotional pain has impacted most areas of his life. Ngao, Grace, and the teaching staff have worked hard with him, showering love and kindness on him, and he is coming out of himself, little by little.

Last Sunday we took all of the boarding students to the beach to swim in the Indian Ocean. Tei's face was all sunshine and pure joy. He laughed as if the entire world was at his fingertips. He was completely lost in the wonderfulness of that moment, and nothing else in life mattered.

There are few things as beautiful or as precious as watching pain literally wash away as the waves washed over his little body. I think that whenever I hear the phrase, "sheer bliss," this day will come to mind.

There is a boy that I met. His name means "God's mercy." He has shy brown eyes, a sweet smile, and a heavy heart. But I watched Tei become a picture of "God's Mercy." And it was beautiful.

1 comment:

Christy Joy said...