One day my sister posed the possibility that we sponsor a refugee family, and some of our group committed to doing just that. Shortly after, Jackie picked up Eva and her family in Chicago and brought them home. We got them settled in a house apartment in a nearby smallish town and there began a new branch of our multi-cultural family as Jackie became their #1 caretaker and I became her back-up.
Marthaline, the youngest, was only 6 at the time, but she was a wild woman. She'd run and leap into my arms and climb me like a tree, gripping tightly with her legs around my waist, nearly strangling me with her arms, and burying her head into my neck. Marthaline's greetings were the best part of my visits.
After two years here, though, they decided to move to Minnesota to be near other Liberians they knew. Eva is an amazing woman - a single parent of 3 (her husband was 'lost' when they came to America - it was unknown if he was dead or alive - but now the government won't let her husband come because there's no official proof of their marriage), working nights, taking classes at a local college, all in a foreign land. I'd do well to think of Eva and all she's been through when I'm tempted to whine about messy counter tops or a weedy garden.
Last week Eva and her youngest, Marthaline, came to visit.
Photo: My sister Jackie, Eva, me, and Neecee, another friend to Eva
On Sunday night we all gathered for dinner at my mother's house, and the kids ran and played and ran some more. I love nothing more than watching a gaggle of children run wild on a balmy summer night. This particular night, the kids decided to have running races.
They did this again and again, in different combinations.
And we adults were having a lovely time watching. From the deck. But then Eva had to go and blow it for the lazy adults. When the kids began challenging us, she took them up on it.
But really, the best part of the visit, again, was how often Marthaline would offer a snuggle and a hug.