I met Hiko in June of 2009. It was my last visit of the trip we took to explore the possibilities of a Partnership between Grace, Food for the Hungry and the Zeway churches. Here is what I saw, heard and felt about that visit with Hiko in June 2009:
I saw a small, thin girl being coaxed down from a tree she was hiding in
I saw a small crowd of people gather around us as she came down from the tree.
I saw a small, thin girl being guided by the social worker to sit by me on a small bench.
I saw this girl cower and lean completely away from me.
I saw small fleas between layers of her clothing.
I heard questions from the social worker directed toward this girl.
I heard the social worker tell me her name was Hiko.
I heard that she was moved to this neighborhood after the social workers found her sleeping on her father's grave.
I heard that she did not have a place to live, but begged for meals and shelter daily.
I heard an old woman snarl something at this girl that I did not understand but knew it was not kind.
I heard nothing from Hiko. She said nothing.
I felt despair and hopelessness for this child.
I felt anger toward the people who treated her poorly.
I felt sadness that she did not speak or even seem to hear what anyone was saying.
I wept when I leaned in to hug her goodbye and she fell into me and knocked me on my knees and sat there on my lap.
The team left her thinking she would not survive.
She was added to the Orphan-Headed Household Partnership as soon as it was developed.
And then in March 2011, I met Hiko again.
I saw a beautiful girl walk up to me.
I saw that she had clean clothes, braided hair, a light in her eyes.
I saw that she was at school with a big smile on her face.
I heard that she had a home
I heard that she was doing well at school
I heard that she was attending a church
I heard that she remembered our first meeting.
I felt overjoyed.
I felt like praising God for his mighty works in lives
I cried tears of joy as I went to my knees to look into Hiko's eyes.
Hiko did survive. She is going to school. She has food and shelter. She is learning about God's future and hope for her life.