After giving the Salsa classes to the group of ladies today, I visited my forgotten friends in Kay Pob. The odor, a bit different than usual, with the mix of moist earth and forgotten urinals welcomed me. Doors were closed and voices mute. As I turned the corner looking for familiar eyes, I found Tiffany rocking back and forth in her chair. Her eyes looked intently at me and her expression remained unchanged. As I closed the distance between us I noticed the dirt on her skin and the stench of her body. Reaching her crossed legs, I kneeled in front of her and was met by her forehead leaning in for a kiss. Oh, I missed her.
Alex, as always, sat next to her and broke the silence, assuming that I must have been sick because I had disappeared. Fabio, at the other end, shyly ducked his head saying, “Mwen pa we ou. - I haven’t seen you.” I described my sickness, followed by my recovery. His smile sans teeth and bashful chuckle caressed my soul. Walter’s shouts from inside the room began, scolding me for not coming, for allowing him to think I had gone back to my country. I cannot recall the last time I received such strong reprimands, all from a man lying down in his mattress. I sat down next to him and leaned in to hold his face, “Walter, Walter, I was sick.” At a comical speed his face transformed, “Oh, I so mean to you. How you feel Luisely? I miss you so much. How’s your body?” He reached out to me and embraced me singing, as loudly as his previous screams, praises to God for my return. “I missed you too Walter.” “You missed me?” I was asked with a childish grin. “Yes, I missed you.” And it was true.
We went to visit the others, all of whom were in the same clothes we left them in almost two weeks prior. The sheets were the same and the stench horrendous. My family had been abandoned. Samara has stopped drinking any liquids, and developed a sort of crust on her lips. David disappeared two days ago and no one knows where he can be. Replacing him and his belongings laid a broken bottle on the soiled concrete floor. Lisanne, without her companion rested with lost eyes. Smelling the need, I took her bucket used as her toilet to empty it. When I returned and outlined her face with my fingers, stroking her cheeks, listening to her woes, I also glanced at her hands and found her feces smothered on her fingers which she evidently wiped her nose with. Less than two weeks of abandonment. This cannot happen. My goal next week is to find two women to accompany me in bathing them on Mondays. Assuring that when I leave, every Monday the two women will continue bathing my family. We’ll start with Mondays.
They were fed though, not missing one day of food, Thank God! We’re still working for the water. Let’s pray for that. “With our powers combined,” as Captain Planet would say, we can find a way to make water accesible for the people of Kay Pob. A Human Right, and access to basic hygiene.
As I left, heavy clouds hovered over the mountains and lizards scurried for cover. I looked up and thought, “I asked for water.” God provides. God always provides. – It still hasn’t rained.