Sunday, February 3, 2008


On the way home from church, we pass a house with three children playing. An old woman sits nearby. I say, “Marhaba” and keep on. But I see one little girl crying; she seems stuck between two metal bars. It appears she has been playing and hanging on the bars, only to find herself stuck in the narrow space between. She is holding herself up between the bars - arms trembling - and crying. I ask Raneen if she is okay. She shrugs and keeps walking, so I turn around and jump down to lift the crying girl, not more than 3 years old, out of her predicament. At first, her arms hold firm, but then I lift her up and out of the trap. I rub her back and immediately she stops crying and waddles down the slope. Her little naked butt peeks out between her shirt and oversized pants.

Raneen tells me two women live in this house . They are thought to be crazy because there is no father. “See!“ Raneen exclaims, “the woman does not even care about the child because she is crazy. Nobody talks to them.”

It breaks my heart a little. We live just around the corner from this family. And how would that little girl have gotten down? Fallen? Got further stuck and injured? I’m not even sure how to process this – choosing to ignore the “crazies.” Would anyone from the neighborhood stop to help? Raneen didn’t even seem phased.

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