When we go on a walk, there are always more outstretched hands than there are one birr notes and coins in our pockets. We buy bananas and hand those out instead. Jarod has his shoes washed by a little boy who quotes one birr, then charges five.
“Wait, I thought it was one birr.”
“It was, but he used soap.”
“I gave him six.”
There are so many here with so much need. The official agency travel guide tells us to give to organizations that will benefit the whole community instead of to people on the street. But when a blind woman is holding a baby, or a young girl is running alongside you with hope in her eyes, is it ever the right thing to offer nothing in that moment and feel satisfied that you have given to an organization that benefits the community instead? So we give birr and we give bananas and we look into the faces of children whose future is uncertain and mirror back their smiles. We go home and set aside all our one birr bills and get ready to go back out and do it all over again.
And then there is our own daughter, who has a certain cry when she is grieving. She wraps her head in my scarf just so and begins to cry, and I am fairly certain she is remembering her mother. She cries the same cry sometimes when she is trying to sleep and when she gets restless right before she wakes up. It is enough to break your heart into a thousand tiny pieces. Which is, I suppose, why we are here. Maybe to let love in properly, you have to allow your heart to be broken into a thousand tiny pieces.
And then that same daughter will laugh, and it will all be bound back up again. Sorrow and joy, all at once. This is, indeed, why we are here.