In an effort to pull ourselves together, we were cleaning out some things in our office today. The last team left behind many toys, games, and small gifts to donate, and they needed to be sorted through and divvied up. And amidst the pile, there was a baby doll with dark hair and dark eyes.
As I sorted the items with another staff member, we decided the doll should go to Sonya, our boss. Her daughter is just over two, and has just one doll that was purchased here locally–which, in truth, means it’s cheaply made and looks a little creepy. This new baby doll was so lovely, and we thought her daughter would love it and be truly thankful for it.
I put the doll in a plastic bag with a few other things and took it home in my bike basket, planning to deliver it at our bible study tonight. I didn’t think much of it as I pulled it out of the basket at home to bring it inside.
One of the little neighbor girls ran up to give me a hug, and peered toward the bag with interest. I wish I had captured the moment her eyes and brain connected the vague image of the baby doll through the plastic bag.
Her shoulders lifted, her mouth dropped a little, and her eyes sparkled. She knew instantly what it was and how beautiful it was.
I felt so bad taking it inside, particularly as she stood at the door and watched where I set it down. She kept saying the same word in Burmese as she looked at it, as if it had captured her.
I’ve seen one doll among the girls across the street, and I distinctly remember it. I ran into a little girl as I turned the corner while walking back from the store. She instantly held up her doll and shoved it into my face with pride; and it scared me. Literally scared me.
It was a head–a doll head that lacked all of her hair, leaving little holes in systematic patterns. And the head had affectionately been placed on a stick that formed the body of the doll.
It instantly reminded me of Sid’s created toys in Toy Story.
And so we began dreaming: what if we could have a community toy box, complete with dark-haired dolls, a few tough trucks, colorful balls and blocks? We’re still fleshing out the details, and honestly, praying.
This might be too honest–perhaps revealing how antisocial my core is; and how challenging it is for me to let anyone in or let myself out–but I think the neighbors across the street are my dearest friends here right now. Their smiles and hugs, the depth of their eyes, the lines on their hands: they are teaching me daily. The children are putting flesh on verses, theologies, theories, and ideologies that have been read, analyzed, memorized, and lectured, but remained distant; but now are running up to my bicycle and leaving snot marks and tanaka powder on my shirt.