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The Innocence of Children in the One Global Family

This story was shared with my by my friend, Dave Chapman, who has been serving as a missionary in the Dominican Republic with his wife, Sandy, for over ten years. I visited them on a writing retreat in 2018. Read more stories of their adventures on their blog.

I have a little story that says more about the reliability of my own intuition and perceptions than it says about the Dominican Republic.

We were assisting a team doing development work in a little village “in country” on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. It was nearing the end of a very hot uncomfortable day. I was very tired. We still had to clean our equipment and we were down by the river, the only place we could find water. The local village kids were helping but mostly playing in the river. The same river we had been warned not to go in because the water was so full of “who knows what”. I was half way up a high bank trying to stay out of the sticky mud that lined the sides of the river. As I looked up I could make out in the distance, a path on the other side of the river, and two small figures coming along towards us. As they got closer I could see they were young Haitian school children by their uniforms, white blouse, blue skirts, little white ankle socks, black shoes and little back packs. I remember how striking their uniforms looked against their black skin. My heart was lifted just to see them, and then I had a premonition. The children in the river were Dominican, there was going to be a confrontation. My heart sank. My fears confirmed. As I watched, two of the older kids in the river turned and exchanged words with the Haitians that were carried away by the sound of the water. The larger kids approached the little ones standing on the bank. The image of what happened next will stay with me forever. The two older kids lifted the little ones bodily and carried them to the other side of the river where they put them down safely out side of the mud. I was shocked. I looked up the bank to where one of the team members was standing and said, “Did you see that?” “Yup,” they replied.

The whole scene happened so simply and is probably repeated many times a day in as many different places. It is so common. Two kids did a good deed for two other kids. Yet for me that moment was as if the blackness of night had lifted and the angels began to sing. Did I have a reason based on experience that I thought something bad might happen? Perhaps. But I made an assumption and that led to emotions that had nothing to do with the reality I was witnessing. And yet, it also shows the impact that just one small good deed may have.

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