Monday, September 24, 2012

A Poem for Andrea...

For Andrea...

From the roof of the house
The clouds float free
Clothes flutter on the line
In sweet liberty
But down below
The baby screams
And Mama's heart
Rips at the seams
Her care so tender
Care so sweet
Won't give my brother
Something to eat
Hunger's a chain
Her love can't break.

From the roof I see planes
Full of men whose eyes
Can't see down here
Where dreams wait to fly

Because down below
It's hard to hope
When dad walks in
And his spirit's broke
No clothes, no shoes
No school, no bread
Just a life like his
Waiting up ahead
Despair is a chain
Dad's love can't break

From my roof in wonder
I see birds flit free
To nests tucked snugly
In the hollow of a tree

But down below
My house is made
Of rusty tin
And cardboard saved
From the dump nearby
And stacked just so
Like a house of cards
(hope the wind doesn't blow)
Fear is a chain
That makes my heart quake.

On the roof in a crack
Grows a single flower
Dress so pink, so pretty 
Displays God's power

But with flower in mind
In my rags I stand
Dirty feet, broken teeth
Filthy face, grimy hands
When I look in the mirror
How can I feel free
To believe God created
Me wonderfully?
Neglect is a chain
My heart can't escape.

On the roof I can sit
And feel the rain fall
Without a care from the sky
To wash us all...

But cares are heavier
Than the bucket I dip
From the muddy hole
For a long, hot trip
To thirsty tongues
Waiting hands
The water of life
Into rusty cans.
Disease is a chain
Just waiting to break.

But from my roof one day
I saw winding through
The streets of my village
You, You, YOU.

Down below you stopped
And we all ran near
Me, and the other kids
Curiosity beat fear
You filled hands with candy
We played a game
But most of all
You snapped my asked my name.
Anonymity was the chain
you broke that day.

Now on the roof, after school
While reading your letters
The sun on my face shakes off
clouds like fetters

Now down below
I'm starting to see
That you're right when you say
That God loves me
There's food on the table,
My brother laughs long
At my dress like a flower,
At moms sweet song.
At dad coming home
(the new skills he's learned
at the center brought hope
with an income earned)
At my face in the mirror
Your words like a salve
Remind of the beauty, the worth
The potential I have.
Hope is breaking chains
In Jesus' name, In Jesus' name.
Now we have hope
In Jesus' name, in His sweet name.


This poem is about a real little girl. My little girl.

I met her by accident (or by Divine appointment) on my first sponsor tour to the Dominican Republic. We were visiting Altagracia Herrara, the community served by DR245. It is a slum built on a hillside...117 steps take you to the bottom where a trash-filled river breeds disease. The houses are stacked one on top of the other with drops of ten, twenty, thirty feet down between them. Children are everywhere.

After our home visit about half-way deep into the slum, our group began climbing to the top in the hot sun. After a while we stopped to rest on a rooftop...and the children began to shyly approach. One little girl, for some reason, caught my eye.

Her hair and teeth were discolored from malnutrition. She wore no pants. I gave her a handful of candy and she looked at me like she couldn't believe that I really meant to give her that much. When it was time to go, I asked her name...Andrea. I snapped her picture. When I got back to the bus I had to know about her from the project director. Although clearly in need, she was not a part of the Compassion program.

I told them I wanted to change that.

What ensued was a series of miracles.

I didn't know that sponsors don't just ask for kids.

I didn't know that DR 245 hadn't registered a new child in 4 years.

I didn't know Andrea had been born with a cleft palette and needed desperate dental attention.

I didn't know that her mother, Marie, had a sister who escaped the desperation of Alatagracia Herrera through Compassion's Program. Marie was never a sponsored child  and had lived there for 18 years.

I didn't know that Marie had prayed for her two older children to receive sponsors without an answer.

I didn't know that she had given up hope for Andrea to ever have one.

I didn't know that Marie had watched us from the window of her home on that rooftop that day.

But I found it all out when I went back to the DR six months later.

This is a picture of me with one of the sweetest little girls in the whole world, right in line behind my own little princesses.

 Her smile, mangled by the cleft palette, is one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen. Even though she hadn't received a letter from me yet, she remembered me and flung herself into my arms. Everything we did that day was new to her and it was a delight to see her joy and enthusiasm. All day, she was either holding my hand, sitting on my lap, or riding on my husband's shoulders. On the ride home, she fell asleep against my shoulder.

This girl is a precious treasure. I met her in despair; but that little girl isn't around any more. Andrea's face is a face of bright, sparkling, precious hope.

Don't you agree?
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  1. Hi,Kim. I just found your blog. I have been reading your comments for a long time on the advocate fb page.... wow what a wonderful poem. Beautiful. I love your little girl too! Love her story....

    I met a girl at the Ten Ave North concert (where I worked the Compassion table this past Sunday night) named Windy. She talked about you. :)

    Love your blog. ... will be back :)

    1. Hi Teena!
      You must be from Georgia! Thanks for the compliment...I really love to write, but I haven't done it consistently in a long time!

  2. I love your poem, Kim! I don't know how I missed it before. This is awesome how God orchestrated this relationship with Andrea! Praise Jesus!!!

  3. Your poem is wonderful! Andrea's smile is absolutely beautiful! I am so glad that she was able to join the Compassion project!