every now and again, when i manage to close all of my open web browsers and word documents, i see my background picture again. it’s one of my favorite pictures from my trip to Kenya. I’m holding Sharon’s hand and taking her for a morning walk. just seeing the picture is enough for my ears to ring with her excited screech. every now and again…i miss it.
Sharon and i developed a strong relationship within the three weeks i was there, and for that, this post is dedicated to her. she would sit up straight, clap her hands, and crack the biggest smile whenever i walked into the room. i would like to think she looked forward to seeing me, but then again, i’m not in her brain. however, what i do know is, something in her brain triggered happiness when she saw me. and with her hands in mine, that happiness resinated in myself as well. she was contagious. she had a smile that brings tears to my eyes when i see it.
every once and a while i wonder if she’s still walking every morning. i wonder if her smile still shows up so frequently and i get a rush of feelings telling me i need to go back. i need to know if they’re as happy as i can make them. if they aren’t, then i went back for a reason, and if they are, then i’d love to see them.
Sharon fake cried a lot. this would usually bother me but it wasn’t loud, it wasn’t overdone, and there were rarely any actual tears. she sat, legs crossed, in a chair with her arms folded in her lap. she starred at the ground, looking up from time to time only to catch someone’s attention, look down again and wince her face in hopes of shedding a tear. she knew exactly how to get attention in that school.
one day, a couple of some volunteers from the U.S. decided to take some kinds swimming at the resort they were staying in. they had been there the year before as well and established trust between the faculty of the school so they were immediately given the green light. i was one of the lucky volunteers that got to go on the day Sharon was going.
Hannah and i crammed into a car with some other volunteers. we shoved kids on our lap (totally safe in Kenya, don’t worry) and drove to the pool. all of the kids were beyond thrilled to even be going for a car ride. i’m not sure if they knew where they were going or not, but they didn’t care. i was sitting between Hannah and another volunteer. i had Sharon on my lap and Hannah had Diana on hers.
Diana was the first girl at the school to cling on to me for a giant hug. she’s deaf, but i didn’t know that until almost a week of being there. that sure made me feel a little silly when looking back on all of the times i had verbally instructed her to do something, or even just called her name across the room…along with Sharon, Diana has an all to amazing smile. i couldn’t help but give her a big squeeze when she looked up at me, titled her head, smiled, and then reached out her arms. she’s a lover.
the ride to the pool didn’t take long. every minute of the drive i was consumed by the genuine excited faces starring out of the window. it was one of those moments that i was smart enough to catch on camera. however, even if i hadn’t captured that moment on film, i would have always been able to feel it.
Sharon’s laugh was one of the truest “sound” memories i took with me from that trip. everyday i can hear it in my head just as clearly as the first day i took her for a walk at the school. even though she may not speak, she is the most beautiful spirited person. i would like to say that i’m not one to pick favorites, but all i’m saying is i don’t dedicate whole entries to one person very often…Sharon is definitely on my list of five kids i want to stash away in my suitcase and bring back with me next time i visit.
click here to see a video of Sharon.