“I see a girl. Her face is fully covered with a black scarf. There is something about her that draws my attention. My eyes follow her for few seconds. Finally she turns my way and says:’ Hi.’ I recognise the voice and I know that under the mask there is a big beautiful smile. It is always there. I know her. She is full of life and positive attitude even when facing poverty and hunger which I bet not many of us or maybe none of us have ever experienced in our lives. I haven’t seen her for the last two months since the world suddenly stopped. I would never recognise her…how could I. No more faces, no more smiles.
–I would love to hug you – she says. But we better not – she adds.
–People are starving … – I hear. Many food parcels never reach those in need. Someone is making money out of that – she explains. Mozambicans don’t even qualify to get any food help – she continuous.
My heart is broken, hers is too.
– You better park behind the gate – I hear from my coworker. – Car full of food here is not the best idea – she laughs. I laugh too but we both know that it is true. We call a man looking after the church in this area and ask him to let me park inside.
–I will go and find one more girl, she lives around. You will be safe here – she explains.
–No worries. I do have special heavenly protection – I say, blinking my eye.
One time I park next to the police station. Should be safer but to be honest I am not so sure who is trustworthy anymore.
–Don’t stay there too long – I hear this time. –If the girls don’t show up just go. – It is not good to stay in one place too long with the car full of food. – I hear again.
I go to the village where some years ago we had a little church in a mud hut. We don’t go there any more but we do keep in touch with those living there. I see little crowd waiting outside. I only have few names on my list, only few parcels to give. They know it but anyway… I see old friends. They know my husband, they ask about my baby. Normally we would hug, this time we exchange eye contact and smiles hidden behind piece of material. I explain that I don’t have for everyone.
–I know that another organisation helped many of you yesterday. -I say.
I read a list, they come forward. I feel so bad. How much I would love to give to everyone but how? Needs are so big. They take their parcels and rush home. I try to say something but what can I say. There are times that words are not enough…
This time, the meeting point is around a shopping mall. Girls who are waiting recognise me, one is coming to my car and says: –We need to find another place, there is too many people. Follow me.
Food… worth more than gold.
The girls are coming, one by one. Some of them I don’t even recognise. Some of them I do. Some are the ones who went through our program and left the street. Many remember me walking on the street every week.We always greeted them, waved, sometimes talked, prayed, laughed or just sit. They were not always nice to us. We wanted to bring them love and hope for new life. Life free from selling their bodies every day, every night. But sometimes they didn’t want to listen. They thought we were taking their time and scaring the customers away.
On the street they look different. Sometimes half naked, full make up, different hair. Out there they must be tough. They must survive. There is no place for being weak. Here is different. They are mothers, daughters, sisters.
–Thank you for your help – I hear from one who is looking down. She can’t look into my eyes.
–You are more than welcome honey, we bless you and love you – I say it, making sure that she gets that I really mean it.
–You are doing amazing work – I hear from another one.
–You are life rescuers…
It is not about the words. We would keep doing what we can even though we would never hear any single word of appreciation from them.
Because love looks like something. The only difference is that now many of them are truly convinced that we do love them and we do care no matter the circumstances.
Sometimes we need to give a hug, an advise or just to listen. Sometimes we need to feed the hungry.
I am just tiny element of a bigger help chain. I am privileged to see the relief on many faces who struggle to feed their children. But without hard work of others I would sit at home.
There are many who help to make it happen. There are those who give food and money. There are those who, like me, give their time to deliver the parcels. Finally there is amazing Dignity team who works hard to put all the details together. They spend days to organise food, to inform all the girls, to put a plan where, what, to whom, and believe me it is not easy.
I am the last element of this help chain. Which one are you?”
Please consider donating to this worthy cause https://irisdignity.org/donate/covid-19-food-distribution/