Within the first few moments of sitting and speaking with George Snyman, he assured me that during my few months in Africa, I would be sure to find ‘diamonds in the dust’. The following few weeks saw journal entry after journal entry filled with questions of ‘What are these diamonds?’ ‘Who are these diamonds?’ ‘Why dust?’….
These questions continued, until I met Alicia.
I found my diamond in the dust.
At three years old, Alicia, her 4-year-old brother and 7-year-old sister were discovered by Hands at Work. Every night these three children would huddle together with their grandfather's goats and sleep in the open, cold, roofless goat pen. They were all extremely malnourished, sick, covered in dirt and unloved. Immediately, this family of extremely vulnerable children stole the hearts of the local careworkers and their journey of restoration began.
It took an entire year before any care worker heard Alicia speak: A four year old, so traumatised by life itself, that she couldn't even formulate words. However, when the time came that Alicia and my paths were to cross, Alicia had been experiencing the love, care and investment of the local care workers for almost three years and her life had been drastically transformed.
The Alicia that I met was a cheeky little chatterbox. She is now six, but, as a result of her early years of malnourishment, she stands the height of a three-year-old. Receiving one nutritious meal per day means that she continues to grow and blossom. Hands supported the family and were able to assist the community in building a small brick room that the three children can now sleep in. Early this year they received a grass mat to sleep on, and as winter temperatures can drop to zero, they have each now received a blanket. Alicia and her siblings are loved by their care workers, their grandfather is learning to take more responsibility for them, they are all in school and most of all, they all have experienced the power of the love that Jesus has for them individually.
Once an abandoned, vulnerable baby girl, Alicia is now a true diamond in the dust.
George was right… Once you have had the privilege of discovering a true diamond, there is no way your life can ever be the same again.