|Himdalaye Classroom---Handprints on the wall|
They say that a person's handprints can be used to identify them...that no two are exactly the same. The rainbow of colors that lined the classroom of the Himdalaye School in Ouaga bore the obvious differences between us. They all wanted to touch me, the white woman, as if I weren't real. And I wanted to rescue them from conditions that were seemingly unreal to me, also. Dirt floors, thatched roof, desks seasoned by years of use, only a handful of threadbare books, if any, were the contents of this school's classrooms.
But the tiny handprints in all colors, shapes, and sizes that lined the walls gave astounding beauty to a room that one would've thought to be a dreary place. As the children came in, so did the light. And it shone with a gloriousness that only God's love could have ignited. This school had little of what we wouldn't even begin to do without in a United States classroom...but it was rich in the teachings of a Jesus who filled it so full of abounding joy that there was no room for despair. And the reality of OUR impoverished nation filled my soul with tears. In our abundance, there is so much we lack. In our education, we have stripped our students of the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ...we have stripped them from the joy that abounded with contentment even in this poverty-stricken classroom where I stood...we have stripped them of the only wisdom that truly matters.
I placed my hand to fit almost perfectly on the handprint upon that wall...and the walls came down. The differences between us crumbled and only a picture perfect unity remained...we were one...in Christ. And in all of the curiosity that I know must have been swarming in their little minds, they only asked one thing of me..."Vous etre mon amie?" "Will you be my friend?" The barriers of culture, language, even physical appearance seemed to just diminish in the meeting of our eyes and we understood one another with a compassion that I have never felt before. Our eyes met. Our hands met. Our hearts met. And we became Friends. Forever. Friends.
"Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."