Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Dolly for Ruth from Clover

Ruth, Pastor Patrick and Agnes’ daughter, was terrified of me (this is a different Ruth than the one who received a dress). She saw me enter her family’s little round hut and dodged for the kitchen hut and slammed the door…all the while screaming. My hope was that after the four days with her family she would warm up or at least stop screaming. Surely a dolly would ease her fears. Not so. She wanted nothing to do with coming close enough to receive the gift.

During one lunch break at the church, I sat on the dusty ground and distributed the dolls, dresses, and other gifts – including bubble gum which was a novelty given that the gum spent more time outside the mouth and being stretched between dirty hands – to the children who gathered around. Agnes had to coax her, but Ruth finally accepted the dolly set aside just for her.

That evening was sure to result in a welcome greeting from the girl. Again, not so. She took off running to the kitchen hut and slammed the door again. But wait…the door cracked open and out peeked her tiny eyes. When she saw that I was looking the door slammed closed again. She never really warmed up but we’ll have the chance to try again this summer. I wonder…if she knew that the gift was given on behalf of Clover the dog, might she have responded differently.