The children were shy when I first moved into the village, but soon they came by often to visit. When they showed up in my courtyard I bent down and shook their little hands one by one. I said hello to each, and other little pleasantries in English. It would have been a lot of fun if my assignment had been simply to teach the children in my village, but my work was to be with the adults.
This motherless little girl was the last to learn to shake hands and say hello. She was always too shy and ran away at the last moment, but then one day she touched my offered hand and heart, light as a butterfly wing. Happy child, may blessings find and follow her forever. I wanted so much to adopt her, to bring her home to America, to give her a fine education and a safe life, but that was not to be. In fact, I almost lost my own life in Mali.
Caption: Malian Child In My Courtyard
photograph by Annmarie Throckmorton 1980