There is something fragile about life here in Congo. There is the sense that everything could go down in flames at any point. Rebels could invade. The volcano could erupt. The barely functioning government could fall apart. Someone could steal all your money.
A couple weeks ago, a man who worked closely with my husband was shot to death in his home by armed robbers. People here were shocked and disturbed, because he was truly one of the most gentle men you could imagine. But no one was all that shocked. Not the way people would be in the US. Life is simply more fragile here. Our hold more tenuous. Or maybe it is our sense that we can hold anything in our hand that is more tenuous here.
I first started sewing here with a different group of ladies. They worked in my house, I helped care for their children. I liked them and I trusted them. As it turns out, I trusted them more than I should have. Even though that situation didn't work out, it got me started on what I am doing today. And I love what I am doing today. The ladies I work with are great. But here in Africa I've become cautious. I am always looking around the corner for the flames. If I was too quick to give my heart away before, I am probably too slow now. What, after all, is a heart for... if not for giving away?
My husband is fond of a Rwandan saying that says “the place that is healed is called a scar”. What is healed is not left unmarked. As I think about this fragile world and my fragile heart within it, I wonder sometimes how Africa has marked me.