Juliette Wears a White Bow in her Hair


Juliette wears a white bow in her hair.

Each morning, as the tent city awakens at daybreak, and the pangs

of relentless hunger return, she lifts her head from a pillow of rags to find

the white bow.  Her mother once tied it in her hair, before Port-au-Prince perished,

Mama was gone, and only hardship remained.  She crawls from the torn tent,

finds her sister, fixing the rocks that hold together their home.  Vacancy,

a void for what has been lost in her eight years.  Juliette studies her cracked feet,

hardened leather soles from years of walking with no shoes.  And the scabs

on her legs are shaped like flowers that don’t grow amid piles of trash and rubble

surrounding her.  Cholera called on their city, took so many, left Juliette uneasy,

a new vulnerability.  Nature is cruel and doesn’t care about her feelings, and Juliette

hates her back, with every cringe of her scant body.  She shudders.

Sister signals it is time to walk for water.  They must go early or they will have none.

Still in partial darkness, the sisters make their way uneasily through the weary paths

of the tent city.  Vulnerable and exposed, they move quickly in the muddy alleys.

The water walk they make daily is silent but has a song of scarcity and despair,

the sound of wind in a dried up riverbed. Juliette feels the song with each step.

They return, in the stifling Haiti sun, each with a bucket of water balanced on her head. 

Sometimes, in the heat, Juliette’s eyes start to swim and her head swirls, and her feet

feel as though they are sinking.  But she never forgets the sheer significance of water,

nor the burden she carries. One bucket of water will be saved for them, and one will buy

something to eat.  It is nearly all she thinks about:  food.  She is tired, depleted, and

leans back against a rock outside their torn tent, making a large circle in the dirt

with her fnger.  Smiling, she takes her dusty finger and makes her circle into a balloon.

Juliette wears a white bow in her hair.



(note: this photo is courtesy of Save the Children, Juliette is the child I sponsor in Haiti) 


3 thoughts on “Juliette Wears a White Bow in her Hair

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s