Today I got a letter from my foster child in Zambia. His name is Chinga. He’s been in my life for six years now (I think). I don’t talk about him much because I don’t know exactly how i feel about the whole ‘foster child’ in a foreign country thing, (ever since reading the book “the poisonwood bible” by barbara kingsolver I have been turned off of missionaries. I think helping people is good, but helping people in order to convert them I have a hard time with. Plus I find it a bit weird to call this person ‘my child’, though I suppose it helps to give people the feeling of family.) I started with the whole thing years ago and didn’t think about any of these things. Whatever the case, I love him dearly, and I’m not stopping now. my girlfriend did some work with the company in question while living in India many years ago, and saw first hand that they do good work, so my conscience is relieved for the time being.
Today’s letter included a photo, which they do once a year. How amazing to see this human on the other side of the world change and grow before my eyes. How little I know of his world, and how little he would comprehend about mine. One of the best things I have gotten from this experience is the consciousness that there is another human on the other side of the world who’s life in some weird way is connected to mine. I think about him from time to time and wonder what he is doing. I know he enjoys playing soccer because the drawings he sends to me are often of little figures kicking a ball around. The most recent drawing included a car, which was a first. I wonder if the car is a new thing in the village, or if he has just reached an age where he is interested in cars (as all eight year old boys seem to be.) There are no words ever. These drawing act as a cryptic form of communication. I am the detective, left to decifer the code. There is a longish building with what seems to be a door with a long handle, (possibly the school), next to that a tall spindly plant with large leaves grows up to the sky out of a big pot, it grows as tall as the building. The only spot of color is a scribble of green on the pot. Below that a standing human figure. arms on his waist, and knees bent slightly, (or maybe those are just knobby knees.) There is a strange circle on his arm, (a watch perhaps?)
The thing I love most about the drawings is that the often have dirt marks on them, fingerprints even. Leaving me to picture Chinga sitting outside on the ground somewhere with his pencil and paper. The closest I have been to seeing his little hands are the prints he has made with them unknowingly.
this is the best kind of art for me, the kind made by accident.