Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Dress for Julianna from Maddie

About a foot of space separates two outside walls between houses. The iron sheets are lined with barbed wire…perhaps used to keep the walls together or to rip the dresses of passers through. Dirty water trickles down the sloped and muddy pathway. We try to keep our feet on the edges but find them sliding into the center muck.

The “back yard” is filled with clothes on the line baking in the sun. We’re invited inside and darkness envelops us. A sheet separates the sleeping area from the living area – a love seat and chair in the corner take up the entire room. Her Kiswahili-speaking mother welcomes my offer of a pretty pink dress and, without her sweater, the dress slides easily over her head.

Outside, Julianna poses for a picture in her new dress and then follows us to rejoin with the rest of the children meandering through the town. She, like the others, receives a Now & Later sour taffy and she, like the others, soon has goo dripping off her elbows. A pretty little girl in her pretty little dress.