Thursday, January 2, 2014

he smiles in his sleep | Reminisce of Africa | The Davie Chronicles

It was the day we were to leave the beautiful land of Tanzania. The house was in much disarray of people packing up boxes to stay, giving away things we didn't need, saying our last goodbyes, cleaning, and last minute packing. Countless trips to give the neighbors another bag of flour or beans or crayons and lots of paper were made. Sweet 11 year old Diana smiled and gave much thanks each time. When I went to their house in the afternoon I found her sitting in the living floor with a crayon in her hand and paper strewn across the room. My heart soared.

The kids were in and out. Breakfast and lunch were served by our dear neighbors and was made of our favorites: chapati, lemon-grass tea, rice, plantain, chicken, and beef. By the time Davie came running in, we'd have yet another item for him to take home with him. Then the time came when we were packed. It was all ready to go. Mom and Kat were busy doing laundry, hoping it would dry by morning, my sisters were cleaning, my Dad was making sure everything was right, Jonathan, well, I don't know what he was doing. I was sitting in the living room holding my most favorite kid in the world.

I talked to Davie, and reminded him that I'd never forget him. I gave him a banana (his favorite). I got scolded by my sisters for not helping. Shanya and Danny came in at some point and we had a little party in the living room. I eventually decided to help my sisters, and got up to clean. When I was standing still Davie clung to me; when I was moving he was following up right behind. I couldn't get any work done! I looked into his big brown eyes and asked him if he wanted the kanga. "Yes!" was his reply. So, with the help of my sisters I tied the kanga around him on my back and carried him around like the African mama's carry their children.

Davie and Lazaro asked their mother for permission to join us for supper at another neighbor's home, and she said they could. Just before we left Davie disappeared into his house for a few minutes and came back out in his newest and best clothes: a simple black tee-shirt and white shorts. We all walked down the road and enjoyed a lovely dinner gathered around the living room of Neema and Baraka's home. Half way through, Davie fell asleep on my lap. I just sat there with him while the others visited.

When we got home his mother called me over and pulled some pictures out of an envelope. "This is Davie. This is Davie's father, here is me, and this is baby Lazaro, and then here is baby Davie." When she finished she put the pictures back into the envelope and handed it to me, "For you." Those pictures are among my most treasured possessions. I looked down at Davie and he was smiling in his sleep. "He's pretending to sleep," my father told me, "He just doesn't want to let go."

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