I was told that she had just had surgery on her mouth and tongue due to severe damage done by drinking lye. Lye is the acid used to make soap here in Burkina. It literally melts all that it comes in contact with at full strength. She was rushed to the hospital in Ouagadougou for surgery, and for the most part, the surgery was a success. Unable to speak, she can only communicate with emotions, and the emotion she used when she arrived at our orphanage was a smile.
The history of the difficult childhood this little girl has had nearly made me collapse. There was a evidence all over of the hardships she had faced, but this child was different. She was "for God", and He had a different life in mind for His little princess. We handed her a small doll, and she instantly started caring for and hugging the doll. All the staggering details of her life just stopped, a u-turn in life with the hope for the future.
As impossible of a place Burkina can be, at times you think to yourself, are we truly finding "the least of these"? When we get tired, and worn out from running long hours 7 days a week, many times we ask ourselves "are we making a difference"? When I find myself once again walking into the cemetery with a heavy heart there are times I could even ask myself "why am I doing this?", and the answer is all wrapped up in this little girls name, For God. It was God who brought me here, it was God who brings me each of those who the world considers the least of these, but God sees the diamond in each of them.
Life is hard, but my life is not. People I know have suffered, but I have not. It is much easier to appreciate the life I have now that I live in Africa. When you see a smile on the face of a 7 year old girl who has endured more than I will in my lifetime, I am humbled. This smile was not for me, this smile was "for God."